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.

Monday, March 28, 2016

- ten

In an earlier post I chatted a bit about the wonderful thrill you experience skating as a 9 year old. Well, that only last's a year. Once you cross over to ten you're in a new country.

Ten has to be the most mentally challenging part of any skater's life. Suddenly (and it seems for without any special reason) everything you learned about skating turns inside out. Most of this is a direct result of a young teen's spurt in the growth of her long bones, those components of the arms and legs.

Just when you were getting exactly comfortable with the vertical location of your center of gravity and the correlations between arm location and spin velocity, suddenly it all starts changing. Now on a scratch spin when you pull in your arms not only do you spin twice as fast but you wobble like crazy. A higher center of gravity will do that to you, and it demands a real focused attention to posture.

Stroking starts to get more interesting though; suddenly you can actually get places with considerably less effort. Flying around the rink can be quite fun, if a little scary. Hence ten is when you make intimate acquaintance with the dasher boards. Maybe twice even. After that I assure you they stand out loud and clear.

Due to these changes, ten is also where perhaps two remarkable mental realizations occur. The first is a deep conceptual understanding of how angular momentum actually relates to velocity and ice leverage. The second is social awareness; looking around the rink a ten year old recognizes that she is suddenly approaching the middle of her skating career. It becomes time to consider how serious you really are about this figure skating thing.

Oh to live on sugar mountain, with the 9 year olds and colored balloons.

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