Sunday, February 13, 2011

How Much does Mom Need to Know?

When I was watching Nationals, I found that I was in the dark a lot. I mean, I like to watch skating because I think it's fun and pretty. I like the costumes and the music, but when it comes down to the actual skating, I really don't know what's happening.

It's like that with lessons, too, more and more. I think the Three Turn will be one of the last elements I'll be able to effectively correct Stitch on, and I can only do those because he mixes up his edges. I can't help him on his spins, Shoot the Duck, Spiral or Waltz Jump. I just get him to do attempts and cross my fingers. As much as I'm done with Swizzles, I was so there on the Swizzles.

I almost picked up a book on Figure Skating at the bookstore. I flipped through it, saw pictures of people in weird 70's bodysuits with diagrams of footwork and tracings, and realized that this wasn't something I really needed to know. I can't tell a Flip from a Toe Loop, and I think that's okay.

How much do I need to know? I think the answer is; Just Enough to be Dangerous.

I need to know enough about Skating to know what looks right and what feels wrong.
I need to know enough about Skates and Boots and Blades to be able to make wise purchasing decisions.
I need to know enough about Coaches to see who works well with Stitch and who doesn't, who can get results out of him and who can't. (Believe me, I know who can't and I know why.)
I need to know enough about Lessons to see which ones are working and which ones aren't. (And I've seen some really bad Group Lessons, most of which involved the kids hanging off the boards for ten minutes.)
I can best monitor Stitch's Progress by watching other kids his level and how Stitch feels about his skating. If every other kid is stumbling on that three turn, then I can know Stitch is on track despite his stumbles. I always ask, "How was class?" If he's consistently saying, "Good," then I can feel assured that things are going fine.

I'm Mom. My role is different, not well defined, and just barely tolerated at Rink Level. At times, I can distinctly feel the vibe towards me as "necessary evil." I'm trying to feel out my way. If I am under-involved, I'd be leaving him to the mercy of the Coaches and the Rink Culture. As much as I like (most of) the Coaches, they aren't parents. That's above their pay grade. (And in some cases thank god.) If I'm over-involved, that's a bigger ball of wax. I remember all too well the over-involved parents of my past, and I don't want to be like that. So, I have to maintain a happy medium; keep up with where Stitch is, make sure he's hitting his goals, check in to see if he's happy and comfortable, prepared for lessons and competition, and keep him healthy and balanced. That's why we sat out today, to give him an added day of rest for what became a stupid cough and cold.

Coming from a Backstage point of view, it's easy for me to abdicate the spotlight to the performer, keeping my support role because I know how vital it is. So, I think all I really need to know about Skating is enough to realize when Stitch isn't hitting his goals or is falling fast behind his peer group. I don't have to worry too much about knowing the toe loops from the flips, that's not my job. Hot chocolate and drawing "bruise people" on kneecaps to lighten up a bad day on the ice? Totally my job.

That being said, that isn't to say I don't get nervous or anxious. He is my son, after all. I spent today being nervous, because I felt we'd lost several hours of valuable practice time to a stupid cold. Now, I know he'll be fine, really. But all the same, my sewing machine got the brunt of my anxiety. Maybe Coach will figure out the code; the more elaborate the costume, the more nervous I am. Right now, my red, black, and silver creation is surely the most insane thing a Basic 6 boy has ever worn. But I figure the Costuming is a better place for my anxiety than hovering near the ice door shouting over lessons. Right? Right??


  1. You should distract yourself by focusing on your own skating.

  2. Also, now I'm dying of curiosity to see this costume.

  3. You'll see the sparkly undershirt at some point as it warms up. He wants to wear that to practice.