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, September 21, 2017

- parental psychic warfare

I hate to say it, but at some rinks there's some funky sh*t going down. Much like some other sports, some skating parents take their kids' advancement faaaar too seriously. I have a vivid memory of visiting Valencia Ice Station once, where the "pond" (the small practice third surface) was still running a freestyle. Basically a bunch of competitive twelve to fourteen year old girls all fifty feet away from one another squeezing in jumps between their parents' angst.

Meanwhile, parental psychic warfare. The warfare is through subtle comments and not so subtle glares and recriminations. Plus psychics to fill a spellbook. Much of it is of the simple "bad wish" kind, the whisper of "fall now" or "catch your toe pick." Some of it is more serious: spells for injury, bad luck, or mishap. Some is deliberate rumor mongering.

I can't fathom how parents would be that way; I'm against it on principal, but I still sense it happening. Then on top  of what a teen skater otherwise has to go through with her own angst, they get to deal with parents who think they are helping. I'm not sure how skater-girls make it through that age. Too much drama.

Friday, September 8, 2017

- 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. Remember however you are there to distract us from our mundane 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 and entrusted you with our hearts to hold.