Why Write about Skating?

September 11, 2007

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I have been involved in the sport of figure skating for 27 years. Math has never been my forte, but, with the help of my calculator, I have figured out that this is 77% of my life so far. Seems like the only thing I’ve been doing longer than skating is breathing.

Actually, what I’ve been doing for an equally long time is writing. These two pursuits – skating and writing – have long played a vicious game of tug-of-war in my life. (Oh, if only there were 25 hours in a day…) Recently, these two realms have stopped pulling away from each other and started to cohabitate more peacefully, within. What you are reading is a product of this new phenomenon.

A spate of personal hard knocks lately has prompted me to start the majority of my sentences with, “Life is too short to not…” This runs the gamut from “Life’s too short to not paint the walls of my bedroom Kermit green,” to, “Life’s too short to not suck the marrow out of every single waking moment.”Today? It’s, “Life’s too short to not write a blog.” So here is my first post.

To continue the earlier math problem…I have been coaching skating for 16 of those 27 skating years, which I’m surprised to write equals almost half of my life. The thing is, I had no intention of becoming a skating coach. And most people who knew me as a skater will attest to the fact that I didn’t seem particularly destined (or even remotely suited) for this career. Namely, I trudged through most of my training sessions only after a bout of kicking and screaming. Literally. When all that toiling didn’t pay off the way I felt I deserved – with fame, fortune, and, of course, an action figure in my likeness (complete with sequins) – I had a long list of other ways I was going take over the world.

It’s weird how people decide upon and settle into their professions. For a long time, I taught skating as a side dish to what was going to be the entrée of my life’s work. At a certain point, though, I realized that not only did this career make a lot of sense for me, but I really enjoyed it. I liked helping skaters learn new things, improve, and reach goals. The opportunity to have some kind of larger impact on a person’s development has turned out to be both thrilling and gratifying.

But this is a strange sport and a “unique” profession! To say the least. I feel compelled to examine the minutia of this wacky world and also ponder the bigger picture. I am a firm believer that writing is not only therapeutic but helps you to better understand that which confounds. I also believe that reading about common experiences (woo hoo, internet!) makes the universe a smaller, less overwhelming place. Finally, I believe that laughter is indeed the best (sports) medicine.

In future posts, I intend to explore subjects such as:

  • The challenge of breaking in new skates when you don’t really skate anymore.

  • The science of wearing exactly the right number of layers to avoid frostbite, yet still maintain the ability to move your limbs (at least enough to lift coffee cup to mouth).

  • Group Lesson pedagogy with an emphasis on Snowplow Sam Three.

  • Demonstration Anxiety: Do as I say, because I can no longer do.

 So there you have it. I intend to post weekly, if not more. Thanks for reading.

 

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10 Responses to “Why Write about Skating?”

  1. BA Says:

    Great idea Joc! I look fwd to reading many more writings and laughing/crying/shuddering along with you.

  2. yussel Says:

    as a skating coach with 37 years of experience I can only say: ABOUT TIME someone came up with this sort of thing. I’m looking forward to more. Thank you.

  3. hyael Says:

    very funny and enjoyable! i can’t wait to read on!!

  4. SB Says:

    Go Jocelyn!!

  5. NJ Says:

    I have never read anything funnier!
    Cannot wait to read about “Science of layers” (becomes very handy:)) and “Demonstration Anxiety”.

  6. Martina Says:

    Laugh out loud funny. “The schlep” is worth it’s weight in gold:-)

  7. Gecko Says:

    You rock!

  8. sony Says:

    Just fabulous, I empathize with the routine. Keep up the witty and informative writings!

  9. Malinda Says:

    This is an amazing blog!!!!! Though admittedly not a skater, the clever prose found here is a great way to glide vicariously with Joc. All of us 80’s girls who had a crush on Brian Boitano get a thrill just thinking about it. 🙂

    Meanwhile, in the current century, I am absolutely hooked on this page. I am inspired by the jury duty adventure – eggsalad and all. We could all stand to be a little more patriotic at times. You New Yorkers are top notch!

  10. Skating Coach Says:

    To Whom It May Concern:

    The PSA (Professional Skaters Association) cannot legally require ratings for coaches to go to competitions, test sessions, or any other skating events. The PSA is an association just like any other association; not a licensing governing body. Furthermore, the AMA (American Medical Association) and the ADA (American Dental Association) cannot require membership to practice medicine or dentistry respectively. Skating coaches are independent contractors. It appears that the only people who are pro PSA Ratings are people with no skating experience or credentials. If the sport of figure skating wants to have a gatekeeper with which to keep skating mothers, recreational skaters, and couch skaters (who barely stand on skates, let alone skate) out of the skating coach profession, and from charging $60 an hour for private lessons; then maybe we should take notice of the ice rinks who are hiring these people as staff coaches, hmmm?

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