Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Can someone explain what's going on?

Okay, for more than a year now, I've watched kids skate in class levels that made no sense. I didn't say anything at the rink, I kept my ranting reserved for this space, and I kept going. No skin off my teeth.

Stitch passed Gamma and Delta yesterday. According to Dad, he was close to passing FS1, but his backwards edges were not "on the line" and while his spiral was high, it wasn't steady. I get the feeling we're being messed with or something. Mysteria is giving him a second chance to pass FS1 on Friday. Dad days Coach worked with him on the missing elements, which we all know are there, but for some reason decided to not happen on this particular day.

I was mad at Stitch because Dad reported he was sporting a rather sour attitude the entire time. I can understand why; having three skating tests tossed at you by surprise is upsetting. But the way to deal with it is not to get angry. (And had we done this my way to begin with, it wouldn't have been an issue at all.) The fact that Stitch chose this moment to wear his best "Mouthy Boy" attitude was what upset me more than the test situation. I came home and had a chat with him, threatening him with a grounding if it kept up. This means no friend's birthday party and no selling flowers this weekend. "Just do the test, I don't care about the result. Do the test and do your best, don't be mean about it. It's rude."
"I did my best, mom, but she just didn't care."
"She cares. She just thinks you're capable of better, and so do I." 

Dad is using this moment to call Skating a subjective non-sport. "Coach said she would have passed his spiral, but Mysteria said it wasn't good enough. It's so subjective."

Right, but there's a reason why Coaches can't judge their own kids. I understand the rules, and while it sucks when they don't work in your favor, they stand. Because you know and I know that if Coaches could judge their own kids, chaos would erupt.

Dad tells me that there were somewhere around 25 elements that Stitch had to polish up, remember, and ID on his own to perform for some strange woman we hardly ever see. Mysteria's nice enough, she's just so absent as to be a relative stranger to the kids in her own skating school. Stitch probably sees her as "the woman with the clipboard and patches." And again, had we done this my way, the elements would not have stacked up so high and the test process not as arduous.

**taps head** See, I'm figuring this stuff out. Now I have real ammunition.

After all that, Dad says Coach wants me to cut more music for her. Um, okay, but I'm going to start charging for this stuff. She probably didn't get the memo, so no problem this time. I'll let her know when I see her next. Dad hands me a CD and says, "It's either track 32 or 33, I can't remember."

I play track 32, and I can't get through it without falling off my chair in laughter. It's some ridiculous Techno/Russian/Latin/Can-Can mix. I can't make this stuff up. No. I'm not cutting this because I won't let anyone skate to it. Track 33 is a much better Pop Jazz mix. I cut that. If they come back and say they wanted the other track, I'll have a talk with them about music genres.

I want to know if this was a blanket sweep of competing kids, or was it just a few? Because I can think of a dozen kids right off who would have gotten caught in this dragnet. For one kid in particular, it's a safety issue. No one in good conscience can allow this kid to start doing jumps when he falls on mohawks and runs into the boards on back crossovers out of control, but it's happening. I mean it when I say this, I don't give a rat's ass about him being some kind of threat to Stitch. What I worry about is this kid breaking his neck, and putting a stop to it would be the best thing.


  1. You know what I don't understand- ISI does let the coaches judge their own kids. All my ISI tests have been done by the same coach, and for half of them, he was my coach. (He's the only ISI coach at the rink.)

    Additionally, when I took the judge's test I remember there being something in the rulebook about how it is ideal at competitions to not have coaches judging flights with their own students, if it can't be avoided, it is allowed- because a coach should be able to judge their student objectively just as a teacher has to grade their students.

    I don't have the rulebook anymore- maybe someone with one can see if that has changed or not.

    Congrats to Stitch on passing Gamma and Delta- I hope the Freestyle 1 retake goes well. Does he have to do a program for that test or just the elements? (I don't remember when programs came into play... we kind of got rush tested, for a competition, so my FS1 and FS2 programs were kind of silly, mostly just stringing elements to music, then subbing them out and stringing the new ones in. Then my FS3 program was the one I had been training for the competition. Of course now I can't do half the FS3 elements.)

    Found this:
    "Every effort is made to schedule judges so they do not have to judge their own students or skaters from their rink, but on some occasions
    it is necessary." (This is talking about competition, not tests...but you'd think they need to be more impartial at a competition...)

    Oh, found this too:
    "It is never recommended that an instructor test their own students" So never mind, I guess the way your rink does it is the way ISI wants. Maybe we have our coach do our tests because there is no one else.

  2. With a wonderful mother like you, Stitch will learn the life lessons very well. Good luck for Friday, I am dying to find out what will happen to other competing kids.

    I haven't done any official ISI testing and will have to do it this August or early September in order to audition for the Christmas show. Probably from one-foot-glide all the way up to sit spin. A few elements are worrisome because I barely practice them after the class test... (hockey stop, change-foot-spin, to name a few)

    From what I heard, a program to music is not an absolute requirement. Not sure what is the official explanation.

  3. Actually I was simply saying the judging is subjective. There are things they look for, but no hard-set rule for many of the moves to count. My "sport vs merely athletic" argument is apparently moot based on official sport definition. (My assumption that a sport required some type of athletic based game to be played by default, which is apparently not the case. I do however, think this means competing marching bands should therefore be eligible for sports funding).

    If the coaches aren't judging their own kids, than how do the group lesson kids get passed or bumped through levels?

    I also want to clarify that I didn't think Stitch was doing well enough during the test to pass the FS1, just that on the Spiral element Stitch was good enough for one person who has been coaching (and I presume judging & testing) for years, but not for another.

    Oh, and the testing doesn't include a program, just doing each required move. The person testing Stitch is calling each one out for him to do.

  4. Hello skate dad! Well there is actually more %#@$%@#^@#$ in elite skating about things that should be objective. What was the technical specialist smoking? Edge call on flip for a girl that flutzed all her life? etc. etc.

    Coaches bump their students up through class tests though. The official ISI tests are required for competition and audition, and at our rink they seem to be administered by gold judges only - the skating director and another coach.

  5. My favorite wtf skating call was.when Caroline Zhang got edge calls on both flip and lutz in the same program.

    So your rink doesn't require a program for fs 1 and above? I just checked my rulebook, and admittedly it is out of date, but it requires elements and then if it passes you do a solo which has to pass too. Weird they seem to be sticklers for some rules but not others.

  6. ISI specifically prohibits coaches from registering their own students. A really fastidious coach will not test their own student in class, especially at facilities where they actually register the class tests. All rinks require the program test. Stitch didn't pass the elements, so he didn't get as far as the program. At the FS levels, the elements test qualifies the skater for a program test (no program is required at the Learn to Skate levels). If you don't pass the elements, there's no point in taking the program test. You only have to skate the program for the highest test you are taking, that is, if you haven't tested and you want to register a FS3 test, you must take ALL the elements starting with Alpha, but only have to do the program for FS3.

    Clear as mud? Thank you. This is why they pay me the big bucks. ;P

  7. haha, capcha was "andpa." I really think you plan these.

  8. Xan's (obviously) right.

    Today was the retest, and Stitch passed the elements, and then had to do a program (which fortunately he had ready, with the comp coming up). However, this comment thread was the first I had heard of that possibility. He was certainly surprised.

    He has passed the basic elements but needs to retest the program. I'm sure Skate Mom will write more detail soon. I'm going back to my adult beverage.

    --I think you are on to something, Xan: my captcha is obfushol (obfuscating with alcohol?)--

  9. Thanks Xan for clarifying. Hope those are not judged on interpretation, choreography, performance,... just technical merits!

    Apparently Skittl1321's rink is requiring a program for each level. Glad program is only required for the highest FS level tested at our rink. There is probably a loophole though: just because one can do a program at higher level does not mean a program of lower level is at passing standard. Personally, I'd surely prefer doing a FS4 program to FS3 any day.

  10. To be fair, it's not my rink that does that- just the coach. There is only one ISI coach at our rink, we are not an ISI rink (we were about 5 years ago). I don't know how he registers his students now, we are a USFS rink, but he takes the whole herd to competitions like World's.

    Doing the programs was pretty low key though, not a well trained program (instead of your change foot spin, just do a scratch this footwork, etc). Only the highest level program was a real decent one, so I'm glad to know that's all I really had to do, because I always felt kind of bad about it (I did alpha through FS3 all in one day -I had passed a Gamma class once, but the test wasn't registered-. It felt kind of silly to take all of them at once, but they are all registered now.)

  11. Skate dad, can the coach dumb down the competition program a little bit before Stitch retakes the program test or will it just make things confusing?

  12. jjane, dumbing down the program won't work. Mysteria is onto his little game, and I'm glad for it.