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.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

- outside

Skating can be about projecting an imagination. This can happen two distinct ways however. Call the first way "from the inside" and the second way "from the outside."

From the Inside everything happens in your head, you have an idea of what you are creating and sharing that runs through your mind as you practice, and you share this same thing when you skate in front of an audience. It is a Performance.

Imagination from the Outside is different entirely. When you are practicing with your imagination outside, you have an idea, a template for what you wish to communicate, but it isn't cast in stone and it changes depending on the mood and who is watching. You become both connected and interacting with your environment and the spirits around you.

Skating with your imagination on the Outside is more then a performance: it is a Show.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

- sides

Trick question: how many sides does an ice rink have? Yeah I know it's an oval shape. The trick is that I am not asking for a geometric count, but rather a tally of its personalities.

At nine in the morning on a Wednesday at the rink I meet Janet, a skate coach here. Otherwise the rink is completely empty even though it is open for public ice. I suppose this runs typical for a mid-week morning.

Rinks have such jagged up and down spiky sessions: if you were to walk into a rink totally at random half the time it would be vacant, empty except for the staff performing random chores, cleaning the rental boots, fixing the boards. This is the personality of the rink that the employees know; it is their grounding.

The other half of the time the place is a zoo, eighty kids going every which direction, or a rough and tumble roaring hockey match.

The difference between figure skating and hockey is matched by the stark contrast between when the rink is empty and when it is full. Figure skating and hockey are two distinct personalities.

So empty, hockey, figure skating... an ice rink has three sides.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

- classical

I am going to go way out on a limb and propose that generally, almost without exception, you should figure skate to classical music. You can once in a while, very occasionally, skate a popular song for a novelty program or in a show. But skating is such serious work that only classical music does it justice.

Classical music has Sweep, skating has Sweep. Classical music has Drama, skating has Drama. Classical music has sublime intricacy. Skating has sublime intricacy. Skating and classical music were just meant to go together.