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Monday, January 25, 2010


朋友给我发了一个网页,是几年前在一个叫做 Unseen Skaters 的网站上的论坛上的妈妈经,几个妈妈讨论如果儿子喜欢搞花样滑冰,周围人不支持,爸爸害怕儿子是弯的,受到旁人讥笑欺负怎么办,是不是应该不许他练,保护他不受到学校里的蠢男生们欺负。(我还认识另外一个朋友,这个网站的站长,自己是没孩子的,但她经常志愿帮助默默无名的小选手和他们的家长。)

说实话这些真实的讨论把我给看哭了,简直就是现实版 Billy Elliott,咋没人来取材写个剧本呢?支持儿子搞滑冰的妈妈和男孩子都太有勇气了。

This shouldn't be an issue about sexual orientation. Skating is a SPORT. The fact that it is designed to ultimately look easy - and the fact that costumes and music play into the equation - gives an impression that it is a "sissy" sport for guys. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When we were in Portland in 2005, some of the practice ice was in a rink located at a shopping mall. The skaters that took early morning ice didn't have a lot of room to work in and the people who came in to watch at 6AM were an interesting mix of the Portland population. I was standing by the railing watching my son and several other jr and sr men practice. A motorcycle guy (I'm not stereotyping; he was talking with his friend about his bike) came and stood beside me. I was fully expecting to "do battle" over any comments made. Instead, this guy and his friend watched and the only thing they could say was, "I didn't know this was what skating is. These guys are good. This is hard stuff."

Depending on the skaters' levels, three to four rotations in a jump are completed in approximately one second; it is 8 times your body weight every time you land a jump; depending on your level and your coach, approximately 20 - 30 jumps are attempted on a 45 minute session for between two and four sessions per day. There is core training, weight training, stretching, warm-up, cool down, aerobic and anaerobic training. Skaters at the competitive levels are some of the most highly trained athletes in sport.

If you have been around this forum for awhile, you know my feeling on this subject. My son went through a lot of mental and emotional torture in his old community in order to skate. You do not force a boy to skate; they choose this sport. If they really want to do it, support it 110%. Do not waiver. Be PROUD to tell people your son skates. If it is something you want for them but they are not committed to, rethink your motivation. If they stay in and compete, they develop lifelong friendships, they learn discipline and organization and they learn to be tough-skinned - something that pays off later in ones working life.

In those early years, when my son had to enter the rink through the Zamboni door in order to avoid running the gauntlet of hockey players and their fathers (and some mothers) who were merciless in their comments, I told my son to remember that "Success will be your best revenge." Now that he is a Seen skater, he goes back to his old rink and club annually to do a show and raise money so other boys (and girls) can skate. And guess who's in the audience paying money to watch and asking for autographs? Some of the SAME people who, years ago, taunted him and made his life a nightmare for a long time.

Skating is a sport-a tough sport. It's more than tough physically (you can look at our medical and PT bills - or your own, I'm sure!); it's tough mentally and emotionally, for boys AND for girls. It's not about glitter and costumes and music. That doesn't determine your orientation. It's about commitment to something you love to do. Wouldn't we all be so lucky in life to find something we truly love to do, learn it, succeed in it and then move forward with our lives knowing that we did it the best we could.

Sorry for the soap box. It's a passionate subject for those of us who support our sons' commitment - or any skaters' commitment.

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