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, July 23, 2018

- triumph

It seems natural as we are growing to attach our selves to things. It starts with a connection to our mother, then to toys and friends, then interests, workmates, and lovers. As souls follow their paths however, unfortunate worldly circumstances may cause disconnections, and hence sorrow.

We may defray this sorrow by attention to physical activity, "centering," or by shifting our attention to art or entertainment, thus joining a larger global culture.

Skating meets all of these needs: it is artistically entertaining, physically demanding, and culturally enthralling.

Is sorrow necessary to be a good skater? Otherwise you are just skating for attention, fun, peer or parental approval. When you are skating to relieve sorrow though, something else is in play.

Skating is also one of the few sports that relies on near total physical detachment. The skater uses just her mind, body, and some steel blades to excel in her sport while only attached to the world by a thin layer of water melted over ice.

Skating demands that the skater connect to a larger, longer-timelined culture. It requires intense attention to physical centering. And it constantly reattaches the skater through love to her coaches and to her audience. She does all this only because it is what physics allows.

Skating is the triumph of physics over sorrow.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

- discomfort

I suppose it shouldn't come as any surprise, but like any elite athlete a skater has to put up with a considerable amount of discomfort. It's not just the demands of physical exertion under the duress of awkward postures and strange forces. It's not just cold feet hours inside of those darn boots. It's not even the bumps and bruises from an unforgiving ice. Or the early practice hours, dramatic stress, or clique snubs.

The real discomfort is that skating is strangely isolational. Much like say a boxer, when you're away from your coach you are in a room with people you see all the time, but you are mostly practicing alone.

It's not a lonesome activity however. In fact quite the opposite. When you're in a classroom with fifty students you get most of your thoughts to yourself, as the constantly changing linkages scatters your love. When you're in a room with just a friend however, your love beams concentrate on each other and you become locked into mutual attention, without escape.

Skating practice is like that, and hence the discomfort. Yep, at the rink everyone knows what everyone thinks about everybody else.