On the surface, January feels a long way off. It's not even in this year, it's next year, and MsV said she would have trouble remembering the date.
I won't. The Comp at Rink Across Town happens around my birthday. I am dreading the notion of turning 35, almost as much as I am dreading the idea of putting Stitch up against the girls in the Freeskate levels.
USFSA's answer to ISI's Freestyle is Freeskate. You have Freeskate levels all the way up through single jumps, at which point the USFS Basic Skills program ends and you graduate to the Pre-Pre, Pre, Pre-Juv, Juvenile and so on. But we're not worrying about that right now. Let's worry about Freeskate.
I've been trying to determine which Freeskate level Coach will pin the boys at, but I'm chronic for guessing a level too low. But it doesn't matter anyway, because here is where the rubber starts to meet the road. Here is where the Girls, having weeded out anyone not able to master three turns and crossovers, now become fierce. The true currency of skating, like it or not, is jumps and spins. I'm lucky in that Stitch already has a pretty solid spin, but his jumps need a lot of work. As I said to MsV, "You get line or height, but you don't get both." Gordon has a long way to go on spins, but he's got a pretty good Waltz and he's coming along on a Sow. (Look at me, using the lingo and everything.)
But if we put the Boys up against some Girls at the same level, they'd be toast. Even if they end up competing against each other at the same level, we'd need one to even out a flight of three. Chances are good that would be a female phenom, and she may as well collect her first place trophy and wait in the penalty box while the boys duke it out for second.
It's not that I'm bent on first place. I'm not. I just want to ensure Stitch has a fighting chance at it.
So while we wait and practice, I told Stitch about the costume I had in mind. "Now that you're freestyle," I explained. "You can have a bit more sparkle. So I was thinking a bead and crystal design on the shoulder."
He perked up. "Real crystal?" I know he hated last year's glitter and sequin substitutes.
"Yes. I'd fill in with beads, clear but silver lined. Red crystal. Do you want it on your shoulder or over your whole back?"
There was no pause. "Whole back."
"Better work on that Salchow."
He rolled his eyes.