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.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

- boots

This may seem peculiar for a participant to realize, but after watching skating for six or seven years the habits of my gaze settle directly onto your feet. I still admire your competition dress for the first 30 seconds or so, and during your program my eyes float around to graceful arm movements, a smile, a flash of rhinestones, or a spray of imagination.

But for 70% of your program (when watching in person) I am mostly interested in the interface between your blades and the ice. That is really where you express all of your suave athleticism. Hence, directly at the periphery of my focus: your boots.

For a competition I suppose you really have only two options with respect to your boots: either wear the tights down over them or keep them polished white.

Those other little boot tricks: gold blades? Boot glitter? No thanks -- frankly it's too distracting.

Yeah I know you spend a lot of effort on you hair, your dress, and your makeup. But while you're on ice the old time audience members mostly focus on your skates. It's really bad form to show off the scuffs. Polish or tights over, please.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

- pride

More than most other sports, a competitive skating program laces together a series of individual thought-through elements. A skating program comes pre-parsed, if you will: you assemble routines from a varying set of challenging molecular pieces depending upon the skills and moves that you've learned.

One might assume this make the sport easier; in reality however it presents a nefarious and pernicious booby-trap. Since skating is such a curious blend of the quantum and the continuous, a skater may falsely judge her performance (and herself) on how well she executes the individual elements. Did she cleanly land her double? Did she nail her flying camel without wobble or precession?

Danger lurks in both directions. Certainly if you vigorously practiced an element for several months only to fluff it in a competition, it may make you angry, bummed, or disappointed. This may then adversely affect the spirit you inject throughout the remainder of your program.

The true pothole however lies in the opposite direction: if you are a little shaky and uncertain but become fortunate enough to slam dunk a tough move, then you will feel proud. I can't even begin to count how many times I've watched a skater approach the climax of her routine, smashing bullseye a jump, check out with a big smile, only to then simply switch her back inside edge and trip on the ice. Pride after landing a tough jump can distract you enough from your balance that you subsequently miss a simple step.

Pride is the last thing a good skater gets rid of.