There is no such thing as a quiet whisper at the rink. Anything that is said at the rink might as well be shouted from the roof tops. No matter how quiet or private a conversation is, 99% of the time it will be leaked out. Gossip spreads like wild fire. Reading this you may think I am talking about the skaters at the rink. Most of the skaters drama and gossip is revolving around regular teenage drama that passes in a day. The shouting whispers I am talking about comes from the parents at the rink. There is a constant competitiveness in some parents minds and they will do anything to sabotage others so their child gets ahead. Have you ever seen the tv show Dance Moms? The skating world is exactly the same. Parents say rude and unnecessary comments to skaters and coaches.
In every club I have been to there is always a parent who wants their child to be the best but knows they aren’t or won’t be for long. The jealousy of other skaters progressing quickly is more than the parents can handle. This is when the drama begins. The parents that sit at the rink watching and waiting for their skaters until the end of the ice time usually end up conversing in the lobby or in the stands. Parents can be so sneaky working in stories or questions in order to create drama “plant the bug” in another parents mind. A very common and ridiculous example is when the parents start talking about other coaches. Sometimes parents are protecting skaters by warning other parents if certain coaches are abusive to their skaters. (Yes there are abusive coaches. Ones who scream constantly at their skaters, bipolar coaches, make them skate when they are injured, etc) In other cases there are some parents who start to suggest that certain coaches are coaching wrong. The parents verbalizing this need to think twice about opening their mouths. Most parents are clueless about skating which is why they hire a coach. Any parent that says another coach is coaching wrong better be able to go out there and coach even better if they make any comment against another coach. If they say that the coach is coaching wrong based on what someone else says then they are just falling into more gossip. It is like playing telephone when you are a child. The end result is never how it started at the beginning. Unless you hear it from the source, it is usually not true. If the information comes directly from another coach then that coach is probably threatened and will do or say anything to destroy the coaches reputation in order to gain more students themselves.
As skaters we skate for a reason. We skate because we love it. Many have high hopes of succeeding and it is heartbreaking when another parent attempts to destroy their dreams by shattering a skaters confidence. There are always those jealous parents who will say back handed and undermining comments to skaters just to get inside their heads. I have had it happen to me, and I have seen it happen all around me. It not only breaks my heart but it disgusts me that a grown adult can be so rude to another persons child just so they can feel better about their own kid. Some examples of things I have heard are, “She will never be able to win against (fill in name here)” “She is too fat to land that jump” “She isn’t talented enough to go anywhere in skating” Not everyone is going to be perfect or excel at everything, but parents and skaters should all be happy for other peoples progress and their attempts at trying. We are all in the same sport because we all love it and anything is possible if we put out minds too it and are committed. The environment needs to positive and friendly. Parents should be congratulating other skaters when they win the competition or pass a test.
Life isn’t always fair and neither is skating. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. The best we can do and the best thing to teach our skaters is to be happy for others and their progress. Each skater progresses differently with different coaches but that doesn’t mean one coach is better or worse than the other. I understand that sitting around waiting for hours on end week after week may be boring waiting for your child to be done skating. Bring a book or play a game on your ipad, but keep your whispers to yourself. One of the first things I was taught was, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it all.” Sometimes skating parents need this reminder. Even if you whisper, it will be heard echoing through the rink and causing pain and drama whether you think it will or not.