Saturday, May 7, 2011

And I about had a Meltdown

For anyone following my Twitter feed, this morning was just pure angst. I thought I was used to testing days; I suit him up, tell him to skate his best, and it's all okay. I didn't realize that Freestyle parents were an entirely new factor in this equation, and one that I'd have to deal with.

Private lessons were fine. I didn't watch too much, I was talking to Fab Mom in the lobby. She was saying how awful the music was that her daughter was skating to in the show, and why all these lesser rinks had such great shows and ours were so awful. "I mean, the costumes aren't here yet."

(25% show business, it's all good!)

I'm not totally in love with the boy's music, but they're having fun. Things could be worse. There could be animals involved. I just took this information in stride and then worked a knot out of a muscle in her shoulder.

Stitch came out, talking again about that Toe Walley, and we walked to the store for a drink. I got orange juice, since I was feeling ill. We ran into maintenance friend out walking his dogs, and I let Stitch play in the field while the weather was nice. It made me a little sad that these are the final days of this routine. Once you get used to something, it all changes again. He read a new Junie B book while we waited for the Power Flow class to finish, and let him know I was proud of his patience.

When it was time, I got Stitch in skates and sent him downstairs. And that's when my morning went downhill. The kids were skating around when I saw Gordon at the door. WTF, he's not here during this class. Ms V came in and spotted me, so she came on up. "Has Coach talked to you?"

"About what?"
"About summer. She's not doing Saturdays this summer."
Um, this is news. "No, I didn't know about that."
"So when is Stitch going to have his lesson?"
"I guess I'll have to find that out."
"Coach told me to get thisandthat ice, so that's when Gordon can take his lesson. Did she tell you anything?"
"No." In fact, no one helped me with the practice ice form.
"And Coach Diamond passed Gordon, so Gordon can have his Zuca now!"
My ire is rising. "That's nice."
"Coach X didn't want to pass him on the power three turns, but they eventually decided to just do it. And Coach told me to sign him up for Freestyle 2, so I guess that's what we'll do."
You guess? I just nodded and smiled, having nothing at all polite to say at this.
Near us, two other moms are giggling and chattering away at how their daughters are moving up so quickly, and how they didn't waste any time at all in "the baby classes." They provide the background noise to Ms V's vile spewing.
"Do you think Stitch will pass?"
"I'm pretty confident."
"Do you think she will put him in Freestyle 2?"
That doesn't matter. Since Coach hasn't asked me about summer, she doesn't know about summer, and summer is going to throw a wrench into whatever plans she's got that she hasn't filled me in on. "I don't know, we'll see." Why have none of these things been mentioned to me?

The kids are doing okay, Stitch has the strongest half flip and Power three's of all of them, but I realize that of the four kids total, three of them are Coach's private students. The fourth is along for the ride but she doesn't know it. Stitch flubs the spiral, again, refusing to lower his shoulders. I don't know what's going on there, but it's not me doing it so what am I supposed to be mad at? Ms V is chattering on about the other coaches and Freestyle and my ears are surely bleeding and I'm out of beads so I can't escape. Finally her phone rings so she has to leave. The other women are still laughing about something, pointing at their daughters who are flummoxed by a sit spin but at least they aren't stuck with the babies anymore.

I watch, and I worry, and I plan.

Sure enough, Stitch and the kids come off the ice with their papers. As I suspected, Coach has passed most on Pre-Free and Freestyle 1. She has recommended Freestyle 2 for Stitch.  Most of his scores are 5's, which I consider "passable average."

I didn't stay for the "congratulate yourself with Coach" moment that the other moms were sharing. I walked out, parked Stitch on the floor with orders to get his skates off, and went to the office. I left a note for Mysteria, asking for a Gamma and Delta patch test the following weekend. Let's see how that goes, because that jacket has two big empty spots, two big goals that supposedly have been reached but Stitch doesn't have the goods yet. If I don't hear from her today, I've been told she's in tomorrow so I can ask in person. I don't care if she doesn't like me, this has to happen.

I came home and talked with Dad. Stitch can't register for summer session since I can't promise him to be there every weekend. He will be all Coach's for summer, once a week when he's around, plus the practice ice he's hopefully got. At the end of summer he can take the Freestyle 1 test, and register for FS2 in fall on schedule. Can it work? Sure, but only if he passes the tests. Dad then called the Gamma/Delta test "Damma" and we laughed. Damma indeed.

It saddens me that Stitch is in the middle of this. Is anyone thinking of him and his Patch Quest but me? Yes, he can do the stuff better than the other kids, I see that plain as day. But this doesn't mean he can be thrown in over his head too fast. The other kids are awful because that's what they did. Stitch can do better. We all owe it to him to be better. I'll make sure of it.


  1. I think I know who your are now.

    I was one of the giggling moms you mentioned today. I think you 'mis-overheard'. We were talking about our girls in generals no longer being babies; not about them not skating with babies anymore.

    We were mentioning how much they had improved over the last year and a half, not how quickly they had advanced. We were mentioning the difference in the warm up skills at the morning lessons than at the synchronized skating team tryouts at another rink we had just come from. I noted that the average age of these group lessons seems to have plummeted from when older daughter was in those levels.

    Yes there was giggling and chattering but it was about 40th birthday parties, first communions, 6th grade drama, and life in general.

    I do enjoy reading your blog and think you have one extremely talented boy on your hand who will go far in this sport. Don't fret about the group class levels and who passes what, when. After a point not too far away group classes will be in your distant memory.

  2. Jusme, if I misheard, I apologize. It was the backdrop of some unpleasant words from her and unpleasant thoughts from me. I thought about how angry I was after that morning and I decided to not do that again. It's not healthy. Example one, I misheard you. Example two, it was a rough hour to come down and enjoy the rest of my day with Stitch. So, not again. Part of the reasoning for this blog is because I often feel I have no one to talk to, so I vent off here. If I vented in the wrong direction, I apologize.

    The attitude towards the PreStyle skaters at the rink seems systemic, and top down, and it creates a rush to be DONE with those levels which only cripples the kids. The moms buy in, maybe not you but I'm sure you know them, and this variation on the Mompetition here is awful.

    You live here, you have to see it. You see it not only at the rink, but everywhere. Every time I see a kid over five in a stroller at the playground, I want to barf. When I know of a girl who takes an etiquette class yet she can't be bothered to say "please" or "excuse me" in normal conversation, I want to die. Manners are all the time, not just for "being fancy." And when I see a mom or dad dragging a Zuca I want to shake them and say, "Make her do it!"

    I appreciate your complements on Stitch, but I don't put a lot of faith in talent. I put my faith in hard work. I get a lot of complements on him, but it's because I expect more from him. He's rarely failed to rise to those expectations.

  3. Justme, maybe if all the kids took group classes the classes wouldn't be so terrible. It just pains me to hear FS moms proud that "group classes are a distant memory." Take a chance on some of the staff coaches; you might be pleasantly surprised.