Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lernin' to be a Skate Mom; Practice Ice

I have the Winter Forms for Practice Ice in my home. I'm not sure if I actually need a form or what, but I have them.

To get on Practice Ice at our rink, you need a coupon. Unlike other coupons, this coupon does not save you money. My past experience with Practice Ice was to buy a coupon the day or so before I needed it. I was only getting a coupon for the few private lessons that Stitch had that weren't on Public Ice, so I was only needing one or two a month.

Well, then we needed a bit more practice ice. So I bought a sheet of ten coupons. And I cut them out. Clipping coupons that don't save money. Natch. I have a stack of coupons in my purse now. My problem was that I bought a sheet of coupons for 45 minutes of practice ice rather than an hour of practice ice. I thought I had made an intractable mistake, but then I learned that you can slip fifty cents to the Ice Monitor to make up the difference and no one will care. Hooray! Lesson here? Make sure you buy coupons for the Practice Ice you actually use.

Anyway, for the upcoming season I will probably just stick to my current method of "buy a sheet and show up when you can." But other skaters do it differently.

Other skaters, presumably more serious skaters, can fill out this form that I have, requesting that they always get a certain hour on a certain day. That way, their practice ice won't ever be so full that they can't get on. It's contracted to them, they pay the full amount up front. If they fail to show up, then that's their loss. And yes, there are 5:30am slots on there most days.

You have to fill out the form and bring it back to the rink. "Put them in the Safe or in Mysteria's Mailbox!" (Mysteria is the name I've given to the Skating Director. I've never seen her.) Yes, there is a Safe in the office. I've bought skating coupons that come out of the Safe. The first time it was strange. Why are skating coupons in a stupid Safe? I suppose they are worth money; any enterprising skater can swipe a stack of coupons and sell them for half the face value, making off with a decent profit. Yet I just don't see a girl in Mondor tights and sparkles, smoking a lazy cig and mumbling, "Coupon? Coupon?" at the passers by.

Practice Ice is designated by Skater Level. Stitch is Pre-Freestyle. This means I won't have to worry too much about Stitch getting nailed by a surprise double lutz while he's working on backwards stroking. No Double Lutz's on Pre-Freestyle Ice.

It seems fair. Practice Ice is about six bucks an hour. So, for the few hours we need it, it's not that bad. Recreational Skater, folks!

But no one told me any of this. Even when I asked. My questions were given vague answers and people pointing at an intimidating bulletin board that referred to "Lutz Corner" and that Legendary 5:30am Ice. And yes, I got the "Eight years old" thing, which turned out to be not true. I guess my point is, Don't Ask People. Get the stuff in writing, the official papers, because that's the only way you're going to get the rules up front.

When you show up for your Practice Ice, you have to turn in your music to the Ice Monitor, who will either be in the Lobby checking people in if you're there early, or in the booth playing the skater's music if you're there late. You write your name and the date on the coupon, give her that and your music, and you're all set. Go skate. Simple, were it not for the mysterious process of getting here in the first place.

So anyway. We'll be at Practice Ice on a weekday evening from here on out. Stitch has indicated some desire to come up with his own routine, which will be just for fun. Hey, if it gets him to practice, whatever. I can cut music until the cows come home.

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