Thursday, March 31, 2011

Three Qualities of the Effective Skating Parent

I've been at the rink a lot more lately. I came to the horrifying realization that for the past two weeks I've been there five days out of seven. I'm not really sure how this happened, but I'm pretty sure it's an accident based on the flop season of the college hockey team. Yes, that's what it is.

I'm enjoying watching Stitch learn and practice and become good friends with Gordon. I've debated bedazzling my work coat, and reflected on the finer points of different polar fleece weights. But mostly I watch other moms. I listen in the lobby, eavesdrop in the stands, and the colorful cast of paranoid people who surround me is endlessly entertaining. I thought that Pre-Alpha parents, flapping in the stands and screaming about swizzles was awesome, but Freestyle moms take the insanity to new heights.

Dads are less common but there, usually standing near the wall trailing a Zuca bag and sparkle soakers, looking dazed and lost, sometimes horrified as their daughters run around in skin tight clothes and short skirts. (The Hot Pants over the Mondor Tights look is becoming more common, I think it may overtake the Chloe Noels before winter.)

But the Moms are everywhere. At the Freestyle Level it's really no longer cool to watch all your child's lessons. On a Saturday session, the Parental Peanut Gallery is down to about a dozen, with the majority of the parents in the lobby. They're wandering around, chatting on or checking out their cell phones, drinking coffee (*cough*), pretending to read, chatting amongst themselves about what's in that dress bag and how cheap they got it ("It's custom, you know. I'm sure it cost her hundreds but I got it for eighty!"), and always parking their daughter's Zuca right against a viable seat on a bench, sitting next to it while they do whatever it is they do best. This is usually glaring around to see who belongs to who and what they think they're doing here.

As the parent of a young boy, I guess I don't warrant much attention. I talk to the Zamboni drivers and get ignored by most of the other moms. This is fine by me. I've noticed that Ms V doesn't get much attention either, so it must be a Boy Thing. But all this listening and observing has led me to believe that there are three qualities that make a Good Skating Parent, and the possession of and degree to which you have these qualities will be what assures your child's success in skating.

They are: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Paranoia, and a massive Trust Fund in your name.

There's no question that it's a sick bunch of individuals who gladly toss their children to skating coaches, only to take them home an hour later, covered in bruises and dried tears. I think the only variation is by degrees.

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