Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Preparing for Competition, Part 4

The costume is done with the exception of embellishment, buttons and snaps. It's hanging in my dining room like a trophy buck, a symbol of my ability and accomplishment. I can't skate worth a damn, but man can I sew. I'll do a sewing post at some point, after I recover from my collar-induced PTSD. I've been doing some light bead embroidery on the edges. It's an embellishment I had been planning to do in glitter, but this method will increase it's resale value. More than that, it's giving me something to do so I don't freak out.

Xan, a skating coach with a handy blog, has some very wise words. "The only competitions you should spend serious money and emotional commitment on are the Qualifying competitions: Regionals, Sectionals, Nationals." Sage advice, and my Inner Guru knows that she is absolutely right. This little thing we're doing in November is precisely that; a Little Thing in November. Our goal is not to win, not even to place. Our goal is to just do it and see if it's something he wants to continue with.

However, my Outer Parent is verging on full freakout mode. My BAYYBEE is going to skate in a COMPUHTISHUN!! HOLY CRAP! We need MUZIKS! We need SPARKLEZ! OMG we need to PRACTUS!!

I've been trying to pin down the source of my anxiety surrounding this event, one bead at a time. Just what is it about this event that is causing me to act this way?

When K was in Kindergarten, there was a parent/teacher conference where I was hanging on the door, eavesdropping on a conversation where some other parents were being told that their kid was struggling in reading. K was reading like a champ, fully a grade level above the other kids. Was I proud? You bet! But the conversation where I got told that was private. And when I got outside, I couldn't say a word. You can't march out of a P/T Conference boasting, "Wow, my kid sure is reading better than yours is!" without looking like a total bitch.

Figure Skating is different. It's very, very public. Everyone sees it, and in a close community like the one at our Elementary School, everyone hears about it. I learned today from the PTA President that K and her daughter are in the same skating class. I've never seen this woman on Saturdays, but it somehow got reported back to her. She sent me an email this morning, "See you at the rink!" What, really? When? I need to know so I can have a full tank of bourbon ready. And no, I can't volunteer.

As if the Skating Class wasn't enough exposure, I had the gall to get a PRIVATE COACH. Now when I meet up with the other moms, I get asked, "Is he still taking Privates?" Well, yes. "Oh," they raise a brow. At that point I had made a statement about K's ability; the group lessons aren't enough. They might be enough for your kid, but not mine. There's a reason I don't talk much about the Privates to the other moms, because at this level they aren't acceptable yet.

Well, now I've taken the ultimate step. He's Competing. Now I'm blatantly stating, "You think your kid can skate better than mine? Meet me on November 5th and let's find out. Let's dress them up in cute costumes, play some jazzy music and have a one minute showdown. Your kid versus mine, bitch." This is one instance, perhaps the only instance, where I can point to a trophy-laden kid and my enthronement on the dias of bitchdom must be tolerated. They may not enjoy it, they might talk about me behind my back, they might even hate me, but the proof is in the skating, isn't it? My kid is better than yours. Eat it!

Don't be mistaken, this isn't how I really think. Honestly, I couldn't give less of a rat's ass what the other moms think. I'm simply theorizing about the precipice down which I could fall. When any mom puts her kid up for display in a public forum, be it a play, spelling bee, baseball game, whatever, it's not just the kids at stake. It's also the parents. They are determined to prove that their kid is better, their kid is different, their kid is unlike your stupid commoner kid who can barely make it over her own toepicks. When kids publicly succeed, some parents validate themselves in some weird way. And when those parents take loud and obvious pride like that, their kids aren't far behind, are they? (I can't ever forget Precious running up to K on the first day of Group Lessons, "Hey! I'm in Alpha ooooonnneee! Which level are yewww in?" K replied that he too, was in Alpha 1. Precious then ran off without a word. K looked at me. "Why did she do that?" I shrugged and told him not to worry about it.)

K is afraid of being laughed at (which won't happen), but I'm afraid of putting him up for that kind of scrutiny from other witchy parents (and kids) who would take away from any measure of success he might enjoy. "Oh, second place? We got first!" My response to this anxiety is to make everything on my end as perfect as possible. His Costume fits like a dream, his music is one minute on the dot, and we run through the routine twice per Public Ice Session. (I just run him through the motions, it's Coach Y's job to perfect his technique.)

Does a Pre-Alpha competitor really need gold beaded embroidering on his vest? No, of course not. But hey, even if his stroking is a bit off, damn that embroidery looks good. Those other moms can see whatever they want to see, I only see a little boy who strikes poses on the ice and wanted to wear his costume to the restaurant.

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