This blog is a collection of my thoughts and experiences from ten years as a skate dad. For those of you sitting with your jackets in the bleachers, first I salute you, but second I want to give you an honest sense of what you are in for and what to expect. Ice skating is both a trying and a glorious sport, but it doesn't happen without the special group of folks who cheer, support, and console the participants. This is dedicated to you.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

- parental psychic warfare


We arrived a bit early at the Valencia rink for a lesson, and the "pond" (the small practice ice) was still running a freestyle. Basically, here's a bunch of girls, almost all exactly twelve to fourteen, on that sensitive cusp between dedicating their life to athletics and abandoning it all for teen angst. I'm not sure how girls make it through that age.

But there was something else going on there. Parental psychic warfare. Now I would never go in for that sort of thing, and I'm against it on principal, but I'm saying that is happening. It's actually the competitiveness of the parents. The skatemoms especially.

Personally I have a certain set of principles that both prohibits hostility and also assures some suit of quiet equity between my family and others.

I have all of these thoughts about whether the ends justifies the means, or if isn't just another example of false surrogate endpoint: the tendency for people to get tunnel vision and ascribe life-critical importance to the small things at hand, losing sight of the big picture.

The warfare is through subtle comments and not so subtle glares and recriminations. Plus psychics to fill a spellbook. Much of is of the simple "bad wish" kind, the whisper of "fall now" or "catch your toe pick." Some of it is more serious: spells for injury, bad luck, or mishap. Some is deliberate rumor mongering.

I suppose that my daughter is protected by way of my general equity requirements, but this psychic warfare is still a scary thing to sense.

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