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, August 21, 2011

- the perfect spin

Once the skater is accomplished, the thing about spins is this: they allow a subtle expression of artistic creation, a certain mixture of the psychic atmosphere, a twisting dynamic artisanship of grab and release, inward pull and outward explosive color, as the arms and hands trace colored space sculptures and both extend and trellis, making vortexes that twirl and grow at the same time that they are being created, taking the two dimensions of torque and angular position and adding the third dimension of movement across time, and the fourth dimension of the trail itself of what has been.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

- fingers

So what's the deal with the fingers? I realize when you are learning to skate that balance, legs, and feet are all that is on your mind, and shortly after that is what to do (and when) with your arms, but once you start competing it's time to think more about your presentation.

I have no problem if you watch old videos of the top skaters to see what they did with their fingers, but my general guide is to have graceful feathery fingers if you are a lady, and classy fingers if you are a guy.

Feathery fingers? Keep your middle two fingers together, and relax the other fingers. You don't have to remain frozen with those hands, but that is the general idea. Classy fingers? Fingers together with your thumb held back, like you're helping milady up into her carriage, or doing a bowing and sweeping introduction.

It's probably not in the top 5 important things about skating, but appropriate fingers do show your polish.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

- smiling

I suppose nothing is as contentious across the realm of stylistic figure skating interpretation as the management of one's facial expressions. Some skaters get coached to be expressively free wheeling, whereas others seem constipated with concern for their craft so much that they remain stone faced.

I think there is an appropriate middle ground between being zoned out and being totally fey. And it has to come from your soul.

After all of the effort and athletics, the skating competition itself should actually be focused on relaxed entertainment. Show us your stuff, show us what you've got. But remember you are there to distract us from our mundane and daily trials and tribulations.

Don't be proud, no need to nod or smile when you nail a jump, just focus on expressing the meaning in the music behind your program.

Odd as it may seem, we didn't actually come here to see you skate -- we came here to be entertained! Be humble and gracious that we gave you, that we entrusted you, with our hearts to hold.