Apparently one of the big fears from the House Pros about me learning to skate is that I would try to coach. I have said it endlessly: I have absolutely no desire to coach. I want to perform and compete, and nowhere does coaching fit into my completely selfish equation. I let coaches coach, I just skate and have fun.
But out on Public Skating Sessions, there seems to be some misunderstanding that Rink Guards are there to "assist" beginning skaters. At least once per public session I get one parent or grandparent who flags me down and asks if I can help their child/grandchild, because it's their first time in skates.
I really can't help. Skating is all up to that person. Either they want to do it or they don't, and if they don't there's nothing anyone can do. I cannot help a crying toddler, a reluctant pre-teen, or a ditzy boy falling all over himself. I just can't. And really, the first few tries on skates are truly just an exercise in staying upright. And as a Guard, I'm just there to assist the fallen and harass people about their dumb phones. (Stop taking Selfies... it makes me crazy.)
Further, I can't help from a legal standpoint. Coaches are all insured in case someone gets catastrophically hurt. I'm not, I'm just a volunteer. So, my limitations on "helping" that new skater involve general words of encouragement and "stay on the wall until you're comfortable!" and "Just try walking." I promise the parent/grandparent that I'll keep an eye on the subject, and that's about the best I can do.
What's more fun are the parents and grandparents who do ask me to be a coach. Yes, it happens on occasion.
Here's how it usually goes: "Excuse me, but are you a coach here?"
"No, I'm just a rink guard."
"Oh. Because you skate really well and my daughter likes you, so I thought you could give her lessons."
"No, no. I'm not a coach, I'm still learning. But you can talk to that person over there," I point to one of the coaches who works during publics. "They are a coach. I'd be glad to introduce you."
"How much do they charge?"
"You'd have to ask them, but rates go anywhere from $40 to $100 an hour."
"That is way too expensive!"
"Well, if you want to learn to skate, they can do it. Or you can start with the group classes offered by the rink."
"How much are those?"
**I name the price on a 10 week class session.**
"That's still expensive. Do you take classes?"
"Yes, and I do private lessons with my coach."
"How much does *he* charge?"
**I name coach's price, which is not cheap.**
"Holy crap, are you going to the Olympics or something??"
"Or something, sure."
Wait a minute, just a second ago you said I skated well!