Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"He'll be in the Olympics!"

On the flip side of the coin from people who assume I'm the meanest Stage Mom Evar, there are those who bring up the inevitable. Over the holidays, I hear from a lot of people I don't ordinarily talk to very often. They ask me about Stitch, and I just casually drop that Stitch is figure skating and loving it. As such, a common response theme is the Olympics. In fact, I can't think of a single person with whom I have talked about the skating thing who hasn't failed to drop in the "O" word.

Let's make one thing perfectly clear: Olympics is not on my list of goals. Not. At. All.

Why not? Because it's not fair to Stitch to (1) make him believe that if he isn't wanting to be in the Olympics then he doesn't have any goals at all, (2) put that kind of pressure on a kid who is still working through Three Turns and other Basic Moves, and (3) Really? And yes, all your little niggly comments and sly implications are pressure. Stitch hears you, loud and clear. Kids are a lot smarter than most people take them for.

Put yourself in Stitch's shoes for a moment: You're seven. Life is confusing. Everyone just bosses you around. Why does your room have to be clean and why does the bed have to be made? Why put the toys away when you're just going to play with them again? School is boring, but you have to go there every day and then you have to bring some of that stupid work home with you. Skating is really fun, but all these adults are around telling you to "do this" and "do that" and "do this really hard thing, and then that hard thing, and then jump. But I can't jump because that's scary. You do it." What the hell. Except for Coach, and she looks like she could do that jump and make a sandwich at the same time. It's not that you don't like to jump, but there's some really great ice cream at the concession stand that's a lot more appealing than the possibility of being sprawled on your butt in front of that cute girl you have a crush on. (I won't give away Stitch's secrets.) Then someone comes along and says something about this really big competition where the Big League skaters do quads. Quads? Who is doing quads? You can't hold a landing on a waltz jump for longer than three seconds. Where is the ice cream? Three dollars, please?

People, I know you mean well. I know you're just looking for some way to relate, and unfortunately the only thing you can come up with is the Olympics. However, please know that talking about the Olympics when the kid in question is in Beta is insane. It's like saying he's going to have a contract with Marvel because he's drawing stick figures in art class. SRSLY.

Here's a good reply to me when I tell you that Stitch is loving skating and enjoying competing; "That's very nice! He sounds like he is enjoying himself and learning a lot." That is a perfect, no-pressure, sane response. And yes, I have hours of video and gobs of pictures. Please have a seat.

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