Monday, February 28, 2011

Skate, or Skate Not. There is no Try..

At a recent Public Skate Session I got hijacked by another mother. I'd introduced myself to her awhile ago when I retied her daughter's skates and listened to a short bragging session about her Zuca bag and new Skating Dress. Whatever, your skates are tied wrong.

Imagine my slight shock when I learned her Daughter was stumped at Alpha and Forward Crossovers. (Confession,  I can't do crossovers, either. I'm too scared to hold that outside edge. Whenever I've tried, I'm on my ass. I sympathize with daughter even if I do hate her Zuca and Skating dress.) Mom caught me as I was trying to watch Stitch do an Ice Show for me. "He's so good," she says. "How old is he?"
"Seven." I waited for part 2 of the series.
"What level is he?"
Yup. "Just passed Beta."
"My daughter can't get past Alpha. They won't pass her, but she's been doing it forever. She can't get crossovers."
"Crossovers are pretty critical."
At that point my brain broke. "They just are." I don't know, ask the damn coach!
"All her friends are Delta now. It's so frustrating."
"You have to learn crossovers, it can't be skipped. She'll get there."
Then mom looks back at Stitch. "He's so good. How did he get so good? Does he play hockey?"
"No, he just figure skates. But he skates all the time."
"When you say that, what do you mean?"
"He averages six hours a week."
"Oh, so six days a week."
"No, he does an hour's worth of lessons, group and private, and the rest is public skating sessions on weekends."
"What's better, Group or Private lessons?"
Shit, really? "I like doing both."
"But what's better?"
URGH. "If she's having issues with crossovers, then Privates are perfect just for helping with that. Beyond that, it depends on what she wants."
Other Mom didn't like this answer. She glared at Stitch.
"Just bring her to skate," I tried a peace offering. "Just turn her loose on public ice to gain confidence."
"She's already confident."
Clearly, Daughter was not, as her outside edges were short and wobbly. Agan, I totally sympathize, but if you want to do crossovers, you have to jump that gap.

Folks, I don't have any magic buttons or pills that I'm giving Stitch. He just likes to skate, so I bring him to skate. He doesn't always like lessons, but I remind him that if he wants those patches and trophies, then lessons and practice are the only way to get them. And you, Other Parents, if you want your kid to fly around the rink and cavort, then letting them loose is how you do it.

Here are some objections I encounter:
1. But we live far away. (Well, then you've made the decision for your kid without even asking him.)
2. But I work. (Hey, I work, too. I work 45-50 hours a week at a sometimes emotionally draining gig that leaves me limp and dragging by Thursday. But this isn't about you. Suck it up.)
3. But all they do is skate around. (Yes, getting kids to actually practice is hard. But from Tot to Beta, I don't think it matters much. Just skate. Play. Go fast. And you know what? Eventually going around in circles will get boring, at which point they'll begin challenging themselves or decide skating isn't for them. The decision makes itself.)
4. But he/she already does soccer/baseball/cheer/school play/swimming/tennis/pottery/Mandarin.  His/her schedule is packed already, there's no time for practice. (Again, you're making decisions without asking the kid. If Daughter has been trying her darndest for thirty weeks to get crossovers, then maybe you two need to sit and discuss where Skating sits on her priorities. If it's high, and it seems to be, cut something to make room.)
5. But what am I supposed to do? (Did you know actively skating burns an incredible amount of calories? And again, this isn't about you. Just don't bug your kid excessively when you skate together. Go your separate ways.)

So, Other Parents, you can hate me all you want, but my only "Secret" is Skate a Lot. Stop whining, stop making excuses, stop being a drag, and just get to public skate sessions and go. If you don't, you've ended everything before you ever really started.

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