Saturday, December 4, 2010

"Why are there no boys in Figure Skating??"

I can tell you why. You won't like the answer, but I'll tell you.

There are no Boys in Figure Skating, because Figure Skating doesn't understand how Boys work.

Boys need to move, to run, to jump, be active. They need to show off, do daring things, test themselves and get deadly sometimes. Boys don't wait for and largely don't need the same kind of Approval from Authority that Girls thrive on. Figure Skating, which has become the single domain of Girls, forces Boys to act like Girls. Sit still. Wait your turn. Stand like this. Don't do that. Not like that, like THIS. Oh, my gosh, Boys are so difficult! Why are you so difficult? Do it again. Ugh, the Boys are such a challenging group, aren't they? I hope that coach survives.

Because Boys are Boys and Figure Skating curricula don't get this, Boys quickly drop out and move to Hockey where they can be more of themselves and get encouraged rather than disparaged by well-meaning but plainly ignorant folks.

Today was the first prelim run-through of Ice Show. I watched a dozen Boys sit in the bleachers, writhing and wriggling and being told to sit still by parents and others. They were waiting, wanting, begging to skate, but instead were getting the message that you boys are out of hand! They aren't out of hand. Let them Skate! I watched as a Coach plainly said to them that the Boys together are a bad combination, indicating and frankly pushing them to the trouble they were going to make unless someone gave them a constructive outlet for that Boy energy. No one did, and so Coach was gratified when they responded with a chorus of farting noises.

I watched hundreds of girls spin and twirl and jump. I watched a dozen boys, only three of whom are in Pre-Alpha, swizzle, dip and skate plain. When their routine was over, Mysteria chided them from the loudspeaker. "Okay, BOYS. Let's do that AGAIN." Stitch was confused and bored and played with his jacket.

It is truly frustrating as a parent to know that Stitch works hard and plays hard at Figure Skating. He can do a lot and he's proud of it, as well he should be. But now that it's Showtime at Home Rink, Home Rink plainly doesn't care. This morning I watched him start work on a true Sit Spin and do some solid outside edgework which he's never done before. This afternoon, I watched him get fussed at for "not getting it."

Ice Show Coaches got exactly what they expected, which was a ragtag group of uncoordinated Boys. They got it because that was how they treated the Boys from day one. Children will always, always live down to your lowest expectations.  Figure Skating has very low expectations for Boys, and then it cries because there are so few boys.

Fortunately for Figure Skating, Stitch has a Coach that gets Boys. Coach is letting him spin and jump and go nuts, and encouraging him. She shows him new and constructive methods of insanity. I'm glad for her.

On the way home, I told Stitch that if he doesn't want to do Spring Show, that's fine with me. He said he didn't want to do it. So, Home Rink, that's one more Boy you've lost to your Spring Spectacular because you shafted him at Winter Show.

You only have yourselves to blame.

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