I've managed to keep a cheery face and a positive mantra through the past ten months. I've made it through Pre-Alpha 1 and 2, Alpha 2 (he skipped 1), now we're in Beta. With Back Crossovers nearly mastered, the homestretch of Gamma and Delta is on the horizon. Stitch just might make it through these Pre-Freestyle Levels with his love of the ice intact.
Rink People, let me tell you something: We're in the minority, and this isn't happening without a concerted and driven effort on the part of me, Evil Skate Mom.
I may have initiated a bone of contention on another blog, but honestly I couldn't keep my mouth shut. After ten months of feeling dismissed, frowned upon and merely tolerated, it just finally got spelled out for me; No one really cares about your Pre-Freestyle Skater.
I'm at the PTA meetings. I'm at the school fundraisers. I'm at the Fun Fairs. I'm out talking to other moms, and I can tell you that a ton of mothers quit the skating program in the Pre and Alpha Levels. I can see why. There is no support out here. I have had Coach L twice, and I have never spoken to her. The only reason I met other Coaches at all was because I marched up and inserted myself. I know names largely from a picture in the lobby. No one will freely inform Pre-Freestyle skaters of the Practice Ice available to them. No one encouraged Stitch to be at Public Skate to practice. There is no mention of ISI anywhere at Home Rink; no posters, no curriculum, no competition schedules or pictures, nothing.When I asked for a Level Patch, I got a two page email about "Standards" and special testing and three dollars. Competitions were a complete mystery until I brought it up, and other mothers are feeling the same way. Remember what Rockstar's Mother said to me? "Sometimes I get the feeling we aren't wanted here." That's a running theme amongst the quitters. I didn't see Rockstar and her mom at the last group lesson session.
A heartbreaking conversation with another mother was the story of how her little girl didn't pass Pre-Alpha 1, twice, and the coaches never spoke to the mother at all about why it was happening or how to pass. This little girl looks at skates and she looks like a puppy at the pound, but the mother simply didn't want to "waste money" or deal with the general attitude.
Want to generate interest in the Skating Program? Support the skaters that are already there. They will be the ones running around to all their friends about how fun it is, that is your single best advertisement and it doesn't cost a penny. Got a skater competing? Mention and post it on that massively empty board in the lobby! You know mom has pictures she would love to share! Skaters passing levels? Post it on that empty board! Kids adore seeing their name where everyone can see! How about we make those level patches Standard Issue? Little kids love, love, love patches!! Talk to the pre-freestyle skating mothers, convince them that not everyone in the skating universe stuck up and rude. They are paying the bills, and they are the ones you need to keep coming back. Are some of them awful? Yes! But so is getting up at 5am on a Saturday! If rinks are going to view skaters and their Evil Moms as customers, then they need to remember that most departing customers leave quietly and will never tell you why.
I have lots to say on this subject. LOTS. Especially now that I go to Rink Across Town and I have a comparison point. But as Stitch isn't "Freestyle," my voice seems muted. How much will be listened to, and how much will be dismissed as Crazy Skate Mom?