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.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

- I'm just humbly filming

The most peculiar part of my involvement (once my daughter is fairly accomplished) is that she actually does moves on the ice that are too fast for my vision to discern. She is beyond my ability to perceive what is happening and my understanding of the physics involved. She spins and jumps in her own world of expertise, that small and specialized group of people who understand their moves by feel, and who have their own language that they share amongst themselves to describe their craft.

Now I can only lend a hunch, be a sounding board, and operate the camera. This is actually rather humbling. Okay, it is extremely humbling. I tape her, keep her centered in the frame and zoomed in appropriately, but when I'm done she comes by, watches, presses the pause button, and takes her own comments seriously. She knows what she is expecting to see -- her archetypes are beyond my gut feel, sense of style, or sense of managing a torquing center of gravity.

And yet she knows what she sees, and I can tell as she watches herself that she is critical and making small mental adjustments and annotations. The most flabbergasting part of watching a good skater practice is that their feelings now innately understand their physics.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

- soakers

I wrote an earlier post about an item that only insiders see (shooting the duck). Here's another little morsel of inside fun. Naturally skaters lug around their skates and costumes. But surprise, there's more inside that wheelie bag.

Hidden next to the skates is the young lady's alter ego, that little spark of her personality that shines through her program. If you want to view her alter ago in it's full unadulterated concentration -- a hundred per cent full strength -- just watch her unpack her skates.

As she removes them from her bag, hey what's that colorful cloth thingy at the bottom where the blade should be? Soakers. She'll remove the soakers immediately and replace them with hard plastic skateguards, tossing the soakers back into her bag (where they will patiently await until the very end of her practice).

Did you see them? Did you happen to catch a glimpse? Perhaps because they are at heart simply utilitarian (a soft terrycloth loopy interior to absorb stray moisture) this allows the outer facing the freedom to be whatever the skater can imagine.

I've seen florescent orange and black tiger-striped soakers. Shiny sparkly snakeskin soakers. Psychedelic tie die soaker. Fluffy fuzzy caterpillar soakers. You name it; there's no end to soaker craziness.

The next best thing to watching a skating competition is peeking at the soakers.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

- first performance

A shout-out to Sarah for her first performance skate at an exhibition!