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.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

- styled

You realize of course that what makes a skating program stylish has a lot more to do with the mode of execution than simply what elements your program contains. In fact I'd argue that any particular element in and of itself is not more stylish than any other element: a stag jump and a Bielman are moves that can both look either amazing or crappy, depending.

Okay so perhaps a Bielman has greater *potential* for stylish embellishment. This is because if you break the move down into quantum atoms, it has more moving parts.

First you lead into it with your pre-entry spin. Then calf up, hand drop, skate grasp. Then a pull upward, other hand grasp, more upward pull while spinning. Then spinning in final posture, added embellishment, and graceful exit. So watch this video.

There you go, what did you see? Of course, a Bielman. Now watch this one.

Okay, same element really, yes? But styled very very differently. Denise has something to say with her move, her approach is deliberate and gentle, she wants to use the move as a vehicle for expression on entry, spinup, and graceful exit.

She's not just doing a Bielman.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

- atypical

A few weeks ago I invited a friend to our rink's "Showcase" event. Afterwards I recognized she might take me as quite eccentric. Of course it's not like asking somebody to Nationals, where they can expect top-flight skaters in highly manicured, exorbitantly costumed, athletic exuberance. On the other hand it's neither the faux pax of asking a friend to your kid's little league baseball game.

Yes these are local skaters, some with talent, some just getting up to speed. What's makes competitive figure skating quirky is the expense and life-consuming time commitment creates a "clique" sport, and these confines produce (especially at a local competition) a broad mix of skill levels. Even a local event might include one or two national-level skaters.

Hopefully my friend won't feel slighted by the invitation and will join me for the subsequent viewing, provided she has the time. After all it takes patience to watch a figure skating competition (even a quarter of the competition can run to half a day), but championing the boring skaters will likely be awarded by the sparkle of one or two stars.