Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Opinion: Why Does Figure Skating Sometimes Cause Parents to Act Crazy?

I've been involved in figure skating as a skater, coach, and also a parent for over 50 years and I've made observations about the sport during all my years involved in our wonderful sport.

As I have observed what happens to the lives of figure skating families, I have determined that some skating parents change as they get more and more involved with the sport of figure skating, and that the changes that happen are not always positive changes.

When I have sat in the stands at a skating rink, watching my own children practice, parents of other figure skaters have chatted with me.  These interactions have almost always been conversations about our children.

Quite often, a parent who looks "so normal on the outside" might tell me what his or her family has sacrificed for figure skating.  These conversations almost always are similar.

Usually, these families have at least two or three children, and these families have relocated for skating or are considering relocating for the sport.  There's a father at home working one to three jobs supporting their children's skating passion and sometimes it seems that there is one "normal" child that has been left back home who wants nothing to do with the sport.  

Then, I'm told about how much money a family has spent on the sport and I learn about the child's goals,   I learn about the rink, skating club, and coaching changes that have been made and I also learn about the child's skating achievements.  I learn that the child is "doing school online" or the family has made special and/or untraditional arrangements for their child's education.  

Not always, but sometimes when I have these conversations, the parent may ask me about my own children's skating.  I have discovered that those questions are not always asked out of polite interest, but to compare my children's skating accomplishments to the child or children of the parent I've just met.  These parents sometimes have no interest in getting to know me, my children, or other skating families.

Usually, these conversations, which are similar in nature, do not leave me with a "warm-fuzzy" feeling; instead, I find these conversations draining. As time has passed, for my own well-being, I skate myself or take a bike ride (or scooter ride) instead of sitting in an ice arena's stands.

I asked a famous skating coach once why she thought figure skating seems to create "crazy skating parents," and her answer was that all those years of sitting inside a cold ice arena could make anyone crazy!

In my opinion, what causes parents of figure skaters to act crazy is that our sport costs so much money and takes up so much time.  Also, there is a desire to see our children be the best and the drive to become the best may unbalance a family's life.  I am sad when I hear that marriages may end because of figure skating.

Anyway, if you are a parent of a figure skater who is reading this, I recommend that you take the time to look at your reasons for your involvement in our sport.

Years from now, no one is going to remember or care if your child participated on the Junior Grand Prix Circuit, landed a triple, made "Nationals," or won a medal at a qualifying or non-qualifying competition.

Is your family's life balanced?  If so, that is great, but if not, take the time to step back and decide if figure skating may be making you act crazy.

Further Reading:

Monday, August 15, 2016

Skating with Rosie Finocchi at Lakewood Ice 8/15/16

Rosie Finnochi has had an amazing life that should be put in a book...her father died when she was 13 and her mom died when she was 19 and Rosie suddenly became the "parent" to her four younger siblings and supported a family at such a young age.

Figure skating gave Rosie much happiness after she raised those four kids. She competed as an adult and passed her 2nd figure test and as time passed was away from skating, but has returned to the ice again!

She also impressed me so much today since I found out she became a stockbroker and has recently completed a Masters Degree!

I am so happy to be back in touch with Rosie!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Joel Climbs Mount Fuji in Japan!

My son Joel (and other members of the Disney On Ice Frozen cast) climbed Mount Fuji!

Joel wrote: "Survived mt fuji made it up in the mountain fairly quickly,but struggled a bit coming back down.Was an amazing experience,but never again.lol"

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Skating With My Sister's Grand-Daughters 8-1-16

Westminster Ice is an AWESOME rink! The staff is so helpful and friendly and the Bobby of the Seal skating aids made the kids smile the whole time. No tears..just smiles! (It was five year old London's first time ice skating and 11 year old Mia had only skated a couple of times.) They sure had fun with their cousin Annabelle and Aunt JO ANN!

I reunioned with Penny Pereboon!  The last time I saw her as in the mid-1980s.  We taught skating together at Ice Capades Chalet Costa Mesa around 1984-85.


Friday, July 29, 2016

900 Frozen Shows! - July, 2016

The cast of Disney On Ice Frozen have done 900 shows! I'm so proud of this amazing cast and I'm so glad my son Joel is part of this hardworking cast. They are in Japan now and should hit "1000 shows" very soon...

Monday, July 18, 2016

Colorado Skating Friends: Take Advantage of Sarah Arnold Photography - Book 2017 Senior Portraits Now!

While skating at the Ice Hall at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, I've had the honor of getting to know Sarah Arnold, Athlete Development Manager at U.S. Figure Skating.

Sarah is not only a multi-talented figure skater who is a US Figure Skating quadruple gold medalist in moves, ice dancing, free skate, and sold free dance who competed internationally with the synchronized skating team from Miami University, but she is also an amazing photographer!

Sarah told me today, 7-18-16, about how much fun she had taking some figure skaters photos. She said she takes on-ice photos of the skaters and then goes outside and takes outdoor pictures.  Of course, those who don't skate will love Sarah's outdoor or indoor photos.

She tells me she is booking her unique senior portrait photo sessions this summer, but will continue taking photos for anyone, including high school and college seniors year-round.

Sarah Arnold has been doing freelance photography since 2010.  In addition to taking senior photos, she has photographed figure skaters, athletes, families, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, etc.

I highly recommend Sara Arnold Photography to my friends in Colorado.  Sarah has a wonderful and outgoing personality and those who take advantage of her photo talents will be certainly be happy!


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Photos From Tokyo From My Son Joel - 7-12 and 7-13-16

Joel said Tokyo is really a big city with a huge population of 13.5 million! He said he visited museums near his hotel and went to the World War 2 memorial in Tokyo!