Stitch did not pass the FS1 Program test. To my commenters who were confused about the lack of the Program component of the test, you were right. There was one, and Stitch, true to his "it's just practice so whatever" form, didn't pass it.
Well, I was disappointed to say the least. And I was disappointed in the same way I was when Stitch half-assed his way through a book, math assignment or project in school. I was disappointed because of his chronic habit of shortchanging himself and his abilities. And I was mad. Mad because now I'd have to watch Other Kid taunt him for being at a lower level for another god knows how long, when Other Kid can't make it over his own skates without looking like he's terrified for his life. This kid's knees are torn out of his skate pants, he falls so often.
But last night I got the other side of the story, and now I'm not so mad. In fact, I'm giggling a bit.
Rink Informant and I were watching Stitch jump and skate and dance, and I asked what happened.
"Well, Mysteria says he can do it better."
"I know that, but..."
"No, he can do it better than what he's letting himself do. She wants him to do better. She's pushing him, too."
I thought about that for a minute. "What does Coach say?"
"Coach Y told me, and she had this funny little half grin on her face, like she was happy about what Mysteria said. All the coaching staff is watching him. He's our next Big Skater."
"But what about Other Kid?"
"That's what everyone else is asking. But Coach N has been barred from giving ISI tests, and she's the one who passed Other Kid into Freestyle 3. Now all the tests have to go through Mysteria."
"I thought that was how you did it anyway..."
"Mysteria's going to flip when she sees Other Kid."
Of course she is. Because to have some kid skating like that at Freestyle 2 as representative of your rink is embarrassing.
I changed the subject to cats. That's a lot to digest.
Stitch did his program a few times, with me explaining that what Mysteria was looking for was the exact same performance he would give if he were competing. The same energy, the same life, not the Blah "It's just Practice" snoozer. And he delivered for me. But every time he came off the ice, he railed about how "it wasn't perfect! I can't get it perfect!"
"So do it until it feels perfect," I said.
"I can't get it perfect! That's the problem!"
Well, you're doing miles better than Other Kid, who's bunny hops look like a split two foot jump. I just have to get into your head that it's okay to not be perfect, and lack of perfection doesn't precede you from continuing to try.
We came home and watched some bad Kung Fu movie, and I put Stitch to bed. We had gone to the library and gotten a bunch of books on electricity projects, and his task for tomorrow is to build a "welcome mat" for his door that will ring a buzzer inside his room. He thinks this will be hilarious.
I left the skating alone for awhile, but I did lay things out for Stitch on Friday.
"Here's what's at stake if you don't pass this last chance on Wednesday. You will have to completely re-do your program to compete at Delta level, and you'll have just two days to do it. That will be loads more work than if you just performed for Mysteria as you would for a judge. Also, you will be competing against Gordon instead of against the Book. Is that what you want?"
"Okay. It doesn't matter to me what level you compete at. I would prefer you compete at Freestyle 1 since that's what you're capable of." And I don't want Gordon's Dad coming after me with a shovel. "So, please take this final chance seriously. Will you?"
Stitch insists he's doing his best. I know that this isn't true. I've seen his best.
What does all this upheaval mean for you, fellow Skate Moms of my rink who I know read this blog? Well, it means that if you are fine with your kid going through class levels without formal testing and zipping on up without care for quantifiable results, you can continue to do that. However, if you want to compete in ISI while affiliated with our rink, you need to go through Mysteria. Full stop. Am I happy about this? You bet your sweet bippy I am!
Which isn't to say there aren't ways around it. There are, and I'm sorry to say we've participated in that. I'm going to try to avoid that in the future.
Skating has entered my arsenal of weaponry to challenge Stitch to own himself, to live up to his capabilities, not quash them down because it's "hard work." In the end, it's harder work being dumb. "Next Big Skater" or no, this has become part of a Whole Child/Person Philosophy I'm working on, here. He can do better.