This round was as smooth as could be expected, what with it being Home Rink and all. Stitch forgot his blade guards at Public Skate the night prior, but they were right where he left them when I looked this morning. No harm done. We arrived very early, since we were all a bit Antsy. Dad stayed home to sleep in a bit later, but all the grandparents and Lady Cluck arrived well on time.
Coach was late enough for me to call her, but she was only a minute away when I found her. She told me to get him on the small ice to practice a bit. I threw skates on him and told him to practice his compulsory routine since that was the one he had the least practice with. I was anxious to ditch him and go snooping. All the previous evening I'd been watching Other Kid, wondering what he'd be treating us to today. But I couldn't find his mom or him anywhere. His warmup time was the same as Stitch's.
She came, took over, I left the blade guards by her purse and took off to find these people. Nowhere. I went up into the stands to sit with the family and cheer on my boy.
Okay, so the original schedule had FS2 ages 9-10. This was Other Kid. An event was to be made for Stitch since he passed his test. This means a FS1, ages 7-8 and a FS2, ages 9-10. But the program only listed Stitch in the FS1 event, 9-10 age group. No other kids. Where was Other Kid? No boy from FS2 skated in that group at all.
The kids took the ice for Warmup, and NO OTHER KID. For weeks, Other Kid had been sure to tell Stitch that he was competing at FS2, and that he was better than Stitch, and now what's happening? Where is he? I was dying.
Stitch took the ice, and true to his form, he skated beautifully. He took a fall, which scared me only because he was rubbing his hand after and because the next element was a spiral. I know I get shaky legs after a fall, and if he did too, it might hurt him. He was fine. Nice spiral, good spin, high bunny hops and good edges. I was so proud, most of all because that fall didn't seem to bother him right off. Coach delivered him back to me with orders to get a snack and take a rest, come back to the small ice in a little while to practice again for Compulsory. I changed his shirt and brought him up to sit with his grandparents, who of course were praising him to the heavens.
I ran back down to go look once more for Other Kid, but nothing. What had happened here? It seemed an awful letdown after weeks of anticipating Other Kid falling on his rear, skating in a level he didn't belong in. Worst of all, I never did figure out what his music or costume was. Whenever I asked him, or his mom, neither of them knew. "Coach picked everything," they said. I went back down to quiz Rink Informant, but Coach caught me and said results were up, so I had to go get Stitch again. I let him read it. First place. Not bad, considering the fall. He gleefully ran to collect his medal, and his first comment was, "It doesn't have my name on it."
"For pity's sake, I will have it engraved later. Go inside and show the Grandmas."
I asked Rink Informant about Other Kid, and he didn't know either. In fact, he was also mystified. I went back up to collect Stitch and bring him back down to the small ice. Coach was waiting for us, I dumped him and went for some coffee for me and my mom. We needed more than the one cup we'd had at 7am.
We watched the groups go, with me and dad explaining things as they went. Eventually we broke down and got a program, just to determine levels between the girls. A few girls were awesome standouts, and I noted that there was a decidedly different feel between the Freestyle events and the Pre-Free events. The Pre-Free events felt, not silly, not useless, just different. Mom kept commenting how tiny Stitch seemed in comparison to the others. In fact, she was questioning me when I tossed him onto practice ice with the other kids, as he was the smallest one out there. I assured her he could hold his own, and he did. He did here, too.
One of Stitch's friends from school arrived with her parents to watch. This mom and Lady Cluck talked about the skating school, and This Mom said that her daughter was done with skating. "I mean, I've spent all this money and she's not Freestyle yet? Pfft, we're done."
Lady Cluck and I were taken aback. Lady Cluck insisted that her daughters would learn back crossovers no matter what it took, and her youngest daughter was fated to skate pairs with Stitch so she had to catch up. (Which was said only partially in jest.)
Compulsory came and Other Kid was still nowhere. Stitch did a better job at compulsory than he did at Solo, actually. He seemed more relaxed, and even hammed his way off the ice, much to the delight of the remaining crowd. I collected him again, and he sat with his girlfriend to wait for results. I came and went, finding shoes, talking to other moms, congratulating kids, having fun. Eventually Dad, Grandpa and Stitch went to go wait for results downstairs.
Another first. Stitch now had the honor of clinking medals, which he used to applaud the other skaters with. We stayed to watch Gordon, and got treated to some Pre-Alpha and Alpha kids. Here is where I saw the difference in the PreFree versus Freestyle. Two girls had the same music, back to back. That didn't happen in Freestyle. Maturity, maybe. Or just dumb luck of the day.
Gordon went on and looked miles better than he's ever had. Real improvement. This makes me happy. And believe it or not, I'm actually glad that Stitch will take a brief hiatus, and it's because Gordon can catch up a bit. I need them to stay at around the same level, and I need Ms V to remain suggestible. Ms V thanked us for sticking around, returned the safety pins she borrowed (for heaven's sake, keep them!) and said she'd see us in the fall.
Coach caught me and asked if he'd see any ice for the next six weeks. Maybe. I don't know. Dad and Grandpa were heading back home to hash out dates. I made me ill to think about so I didn't. It turned the day a bit bittersweet. I told her I'd been taking notes on the off-ice things and I'd ask the grandparents to work with him. It was the best I could do. She gave him a hug, wished him a good summer and said she'd see him again the last week of August.
When we got home, Dad says there was a dad making a fuss at Mysteria in the lobby. His daughter had placed second in compulsory, against the book. She wasn't the only one to do so. So, it is possible to lose against the book, and the kids do know. Everyone wins a prize, but heaven help you if it's not the prize they want.
I have to find out what happened to Other Kid. I'll die if I don't. So, while Stitch may be leaving on Wednesday, back for a few days in two weeks and then gone again, I'll be shadowing the rink until I get some answers. In the meantime, two medals are now with the trophies. Stitch is pleased, but unhappy about the fall. I told him to forget it. "No one cares about how often you fall, just how often you get back up. I thought you did great."
"Meh," says Stitch. Then he asked to go play slip-n-slide with his friend in the front yard.