If you're at the Rink and you see me, and I'm muttering to myself, I haven't lost my marbles. I'm simply stepping outside of the situation by pretending I'm in my own reality show. If TLC thinks Toddlers and Tiaras is a hotbed of parental insanity, then they really need to get to the rink. We have everything those tots have, only we do it on ice. If they think that little girl screaming for her NiNi is gold, they should have been around for the High Freestyle Chick flipping out at her mom who was flipping out at her for being unable to practice doubles on very crowded public ice. I enjoy seeing skate bags tossed across the concession area, really. These things validate me.
The only reason I can think of for Evil Skate Mom to bring her Big Girls to practice Doubles on a Sunday Session (which is notoriously packed with beginners) was to show off. There's just no other logic. Evil Skate Mom should know that Public Ice is not Practice Ice.
This same Evil Skate Mom brought her Big Girls to a Studio Rink Session, where she demanded the Little Kids be booted from center so her Big Girls could practice. Seriously. Spent a good twenty minutes arguing with every guard in sight, all of whom told her that The Little Kids were practicing and could not be booted. "But it's a safety issue," Evil Skate Mom tried the high ground. "Someone is going to get hurt." Sorry, said the guard. Practice Ice is available for practicing double jumps. No Camels or Spirals on Public Ice. Meanwhile, Big Girls were sniggering and texting with dry (pink) blades. Evil Skate Mom joined them, all three of them on a bench, texting the ISU President and calling at least six different people to rail about the situation. "This is stupid, just stupid," Evil Skate Mom railed on and on, gesticulating wildly. They did this for twenty five minutes. I timed them. Then they left. What was the point? (And it's hard enough to find ice for PreStyle kids, please don't take the Public Sessions away as well.)
I'm starting to think that it's impossible to be a Skating Parent and escape some mild neurosis. On a Good Day, watching a good lesson, I think, "Wow, he's so cool! So much cooler than those other kids! Why is she holding him back? He can be doing much cooler things! We've done those back crossovers to death, this is boring!" On a Bad Day, watching a Public Session spiral into a useless exercise in making snowballs and chasing guards, I think, "Cripes, why is he doing that? He can skate better than this. Why doesn't he practice? Why doesn't he show off his cool stuff for these other people? This is boring." You really want your kid to do cool things, because it's awesome to have the kid that other parents point to.
More than that, you really just can't avoid the nagging presence of That Other Kid and this undercurrent of Parental Competition that pervades the Rink. Sometimes I have to mentally step outside of it, and by envisioning my actions on display for millions, I'm probably less likely to do anything untoward. Probably. No promises.
Hey, at least we're not throwing the gear at each other.