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.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
One quickly recognizes what makes figure skating unique among human activities. A hint: it's rather like pole vaulting, but it's distinctively not. Another clue: it's analogous to the ballet, but it's notably not. Pole vault ballet? Yeah sure that's it.
But no, rather seriously, figure skating is the only human activity that lands precisely at the middle of physics-dominated sport and soul-dominated art. Well, it did at some point anyways. Back sixty years ago or so it was primarily about cutting figures in the ice (hence the name figure skating); at that point it was much more like ballet.
In the 1980's and 90's though -- when I did most of my watching -- it was exactly at the median, smack dab at the center, exactly between art and a sport. It's the only enterprise that was. Nowadays one could argue it is leaning a bit more toward being like pole vaulting.
So as art addresses the soul, so too skating. Yet as a sport dominated by physics, a skater concentrates on arcane physical postural timings.
Inside a competitor the view spirals into this essential conundrum: how to blend the demands of slippery ice physics with the touching grace of art to the soul? It's the clash between choreography and skills coaching. And only the skater glides across this schism.