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.

Friday, August 17, 2018

- priorities

Sometime in your child's skating career you will be faced with some tough decision making. I was recently reminded of this after reading a tweet from a concerned parent, suggesting that her kid's coach may have been contributing to an eating disorder by encouraging her skater to throw up after eating. This was so she could lose weight and hence better achieve her Axels.

To begin let me state unequivocally that as a parent you are fully and spiritually charged with insuring the long-term health and safety of your child. Now however comes the complications.

Perhaps the soul of your skater needs to achieve art. Now I'm not saying that being a skinny Axel jumper is necessarily artistic, but let's use that as an example for a valid artistic goal (you could substitute any skating element here really).

Given any artistic goal, there will be sacrifices your child is willing to make to acheive those goals. This holds true for any artist: Art requires sacrifice.  Once they've decided to make that sacrifice then they may find the methodology, the madness to those ends, from their coach, from their friends, or maybe even online or in a book somewhere.

This is where parenting gets difficult. You don't want to squash the dreams, art, and expressionism of your child. At the same time, as an adult with an extended viewpoint on life, you recognize long-term tradeoffs and risks with certain lifestyles. This is where love, and positive and open communication with your skater is so important. A parent's role is to provide that long-term wisdom.

If you suspect abuse by a coach you may report their behavior at https://www.safesport.org/. But also please speak openly and honestly with your skater about balancing their artistic skating ideals with a lifestlye that will be beneficial for the rest of their life.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

- the cusp of boredom


I caught just a glimpse of my daughter becoming bored or perturbed with her practice. Once I understood it I drew a parallel to my math excursions from when I was her age. A person gives their heart and soul to what they find they are initially good at, only to eventually run out of steam when opposing ever tougher competitors.

Of course I love her whether she decides to pursue skating her whole life or becomes jaded.

Maybe this is what defines the long-term skaters after all: they are driven by their desire to express themselves through the performance artform. It becomes a matter of survival; it becomes their sole outlet for their creativity. I'm unsure yet whether or not my daughter possesses this trait.