I've been talking about the various half jumps that Stitch has begun working on. Right now he's learning Waltz, Half Flip, Half Lutz, and some weird step thing called a Half Toe Walley which invited an evening's worth of Wall-E jokes during dinner one night.
In Skate Parent Land, that weird place in the stands where everyone sits and stares and asks, "which one is yours" and "how old are they", Jumping is the first and final measure of your kid's skating ability. If your child is not jumping, then they cannot skate. Period. That is the culture of the Stands. Do you remember The Two Questions? Well, now there are three. Age, Level, and what kind of jumps can they do?
Even I find myself sinking into this warped mentality. When other parents ask me what level he's at, and I say Pre-Freestyle, I've been quickly following up with "Oh, but he's learning that Lutz thing!" as a qualifier.
Of course, this is silly, and it's not all about jumping. Today I read a fabulous interview with Patrick Chan, who says that his best coach was the one who taught him how to use the blade properly, and not focus on jumps. I also recall reading somewhere that within a four minute program, a skater spends about thirty seconds total in the air. Me, I love to watch the dance step sequences the most.
I've heard Rink Gossip of kids who could jump like demons but had terrible technique otherwise. I had a chat with one mom where she bemoaned that Figure Skating had become so ugly, and that it was the focus on Jumps and Extreme Gymnastic Poses that was doing it. We then did a Parental Pantomime of the A-Frame Spin together, perhaps as a token of our shared opinion.
So, as of today, I am making a promise to myself and to Stitch to not participate in the Jumping Contest. When Other Parents ask me, I'll say I don't know what jumps he can do and I don't really care. I'm getting weary of the insinuation that Stitch can't skate simply because he's not making full rotations yet.