Thursday, October 29, 2009

(Almost) On the Eve of a Season..

There are a lot of us that are almost there. Whether it is upcoming Sectional or Junior National competition, or in our case, the first of our skater's Grand Prix events next week, this is the time when we try to step back and take a deep cleansing breath. Did you hear me? BREATHE!!!

Okay. I'm trying.

After 20+ years, when this time rolls around, I find myself obsessed and perhaps possessed. My wonderful hubby and I have been getting up at what my daughter calls the BCOD (butt crack of dawn) to watch the Grand Prix live on Ice net. We figured out how to hook our 32" screen to the computer so our old, and at 3AM TIRED eyes can see the skaters go through their paces; watch the coaches do their sideline "dance" of either agony or joy - or both; watch the crowds and the different cultures as they view each performance and mark their mental scores. And we watch the stoic judges as they push those little buttons on their computer screens. This is our personal "spring training," because our season starts next week with NHK at (yes BCOD) around 1AM our time.

So, how do you handle this time of year? To each his or her own, I suppose. For us, we try to find humor - when we're not reaching for the mega-bottle of Pepcid. No lie: When your skater is being unjustly vilified by so-called "reporters" in the press who have their own agendas and who are printing disinformation as verifiable truth, the "Thumper Theory" is hard to follow - particularly when you would like to thump that person so deep into the ground that they can get to Cup of China without a ticket. But we are believers that success is the BEST revenge.

For most parents this time of year, however, it is just keeping perspective.

I had lunch with a young mentor and his mother last week. Trying to impart my Yoda-like wisdom, I told this very talented young man that surviving Regionals and Sectionals is like a marathon. This is not a sprint. No one will EVER in the annals of history say, "Gee, remember So-and-So? He WON Sectionals in 2009!" For qualifying competitions, this is about survival, pure and simple. Make it to Spokane (which is one of the BEST host cities for skating IMHO). Get to Nationals where you can compete, but more importantly where you can learn. Everything in skating is a process. Everything in skating is a lesson - good or bad. It is what you take away from the experience that is important. And if what you take away is gold, silver, bronze or pewter, that's terrific. 

As a parent, communicate. That doesn't mean coaching from the sidelines. It does mean being a cheerleader and a support. Your skater is going through a LOT right now. Don't add to his or her pressure; try to be the safety valve on the pressure cooker. If your skater needs to blow off steam, it's okay - truly. Put yourself in those boots for three or four minutes. Imagine yourself alone (or with a partner) on the ice in front of a large crowd and the uneasy silence that is the overture to their most important skate of the day. And if they'll listen, sometime ask them to put themselves in the stands, helplessly watching with crossed fingers, good luck charms and breaths held so long that they could survive a tidal wave - in this case of emotions.

It's the Eve of a season, my friends. Keep perspective. Remember humor. Breathe.
Let the Games begin.


  1. I love your Success is the Best Revenge idea.

    Even better: We figured out how to hook our 32" screen to the computer

    You did? How did you do that? Please, let me know!

    Best wishes for success!

    Ice Mom

  2. You guys are a class act!

  3. After all the times I held my breath for my daughter she finally got a chance to see how it is in the stands when she held her breath rooting on her brother in his attempt to qualify for Jr. Nationals.

    I will echo the earlier comment that you two are a class act.

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  5. Ice Mom - If you can bring your screen into your computer that is best. Unhook your monitor. Take the 15 pin RGB cable (Allen is dictating this to me. I have NO idea what I am talking about...) and plug it into the back of your TV. For audio, plug in the audio cable from your computer into the back of the TV. It does tell you on the back of the screen that there is a plug in for RGB and audio. The audio cable that is in your computer tower needs to go into the plug on your TV screen. Check the TV manual for instructions. Of course, hope that your husband will read it :D.
    An amusing aside about this. Allen took the computer tower and brought it into the living room with the keyboard etc. Now this was all fine and good until he realized that he unhooked a gazillion cords to accomplish that - including running a long cable for the computer - when he simply could have brought the screen to the computer and changed two plugs. Moral to the story: Don't be an Alexander (Dumbass)!

  6. Thank you, Ateam, for your TV hookup instructions. I was able to watch Regionals and Sectionals on our TV and fold laundry. Still struggling with the sound, but I played it through my computer's speakers, so it was all good.

    Best wishes to your skater for success! My Ice Girl and I will be watching. :)