Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dare to Dream

In any given Freestyle class I've noticed there's one, maybe two boys. There's never more than two. Sometimes there aren't any at all. This is kind of odd since in the Early PreStyle classes there's usually an even mix of boys and girls.

So, what happens? Where did the boys go?

Maybe somewhere along the line, a boy looked up and saw himself surrounded by tutus and glitter and shirts with "GIRL POWER," and doing a quasi-pirouette and realized, "I don't belong here." It's true, coaches in the PreStyle levels tend not to think about the boys when they make them do "arms over the head" ballet moves in Pre-Alpha, which delights the girls but makes the boys twist their faces. Fortunately there's no time for that kind of silliness in Freestyle classes. By then, though, the boys that remain are clearly there to stay.

In my ideal world, my ideal "never to happen ever" learning to skate world, boys would be pulled into their own class from Beta to Freestyle 1. Maybe 2. Just give them a two hour slot on the big ice, let them have an hour of free time all with themselves and then an hour with coaches. Pair Beta/Gamma and Delta/PreFS boys in the same groups, so they can egg each other on. Let the FS1 and FS2 boys help out with the little ones. Boys like older boys who help. Just clear out the Tutus and let the boys have it. Stop playing Katy Perry and turn on some Boy Music. This would be cooler if it was a drop-in thing; turn in two coupons and let the families who show up share the coaching costs.

I've noticed that Stitch and Gordon, when sharing an hour with Coach, do more together. Coach will leave to go fetch something, and those boys will keep working. Sure, she told them to, but a Group Class Coach will tell Stitch to "keep working" too and he will hang off the boards while the girls skate on.

I'm not alone in this train of thought. Jason Brown's coach feels the same way.

For now, we'll keep soldiering on among the tutus. I was thinking of investing in knee pads for Stitch's poor bruised knees, and the main caveat on the reviews was "shows through tights." Wow, with a pair of skating pants, no one will ever know they are there. 


  1. We separate the boys for some classes in ballet, and it works great. All the ages together, the little boys think the big boys are soooo cool. In my opinion it helps retain boys in an art that is mostly girls, and it should work just as well in skating.

  2. I think this is a great idea. I just don't know who to float it to who would listen. The Coaches who have boys seem to hold onto them really tight. I couldn't name another boy skater beyond Prepschool and Gordon to save my life. It's like we're isolated or something. Weird.

  3. The last Skating Director actually did have boys only classes. There are rinks that try this. It comes down to an ice time thing. Figure Skating is girl country. Until society in general and USFS in particular get over the homophobia attached to this sport, this will be hard to implement. It's a great idea though.

  4. Captcha was "Outed" I am absolutely convinced that you control these captchas.