Flip, an ice dad, left me a comment about the influence of crystal-encrusted dresses on figure skating judges.
I didn't realize that there was a sparkle section on the judges’ scorecard. In my opinion a kid can skate in a burlap sack and as long as the criteria is there and they skate better, then why shouldn’t they win?
Flip makes a good point and I’ve been asking everyone I see for their opinions.
Here’s the consensus: Flip, you’re right. Good skating rules the day.
However, you should follow your daughter’s coach’s recommendations because she has your daughter’s best interests at heart. Let me give you an example from my past teaching career:
I taught high school and advised the student newspaper. Every year the guys on the basketball team would complain because Coach wanted them all to have short hair. They whined all the way to the barber and then for days after the shearing. I asked Coach why he did it.
Here’s what Coach said: I don’t want my boys to be memorable except for scoring. No piercings, no tattoos, no long hair. I don’t want the ref looking at some kid’s hair, making a judgment, and penalizing the team. I don’t want one of them sticking out and the ref to think, “Oh, that kid again.”
It made sense to me, but I still encouraged the kids to stop whining and write an editorial about it. They refused. It turns out, none of them wanted to stick out for special treatment from Coach. Freedom of speech issues aside, that’s some beautiful irony, isn’t it?
Anyway, crystals are a figure skating dress expectation, not a requirement. So, you’re right, Flip, but I think you should pop for the crystals anyway. Here are the reasons I’ve gathered from rink parents and coaches:
- Ice is very, very white. Crystals help audiences see the skaters better against the bland surface.
- Performance. At higher levels, programs have a performance component. Dresses should reflect the music.
- Judgments. Judges who rank kids in Basic Skills competitions often make little notes so they can remember which kid is which. Maybe a judge writes ballerina or blue dress next to your daughter’s name. Just be sure the judge doesn’t write burlap sack.
- Crystals are fun. So is sparkly hairspray. So is skating. It’s all recreational spending.
- Confidence. Your daughter will see that her dress matches those of the other skaters. Minimize the distractions on competition day. You don’t want her worrying about how her dress looks; you want her to focus on her program.
- Spend $30 or less. You can pick up some hotfix crystals cheap at JoAnn Fabrics – about $12 for a container of 200 or 300 Tulip brand crystals with glue on the backs (less if you have a coupon). You can use an iron to affix the flat back crystals to the figure skating dress, but I recommend using the hotfix tool (BeJeweler is best - $19) because you have less of a chance of ruining the dress with its focused heat.
- Coach said so. Part of the unspoken contract between parent and coach is that you will trust her judgment and allow her to guide you and your daughter through skating. You’ve paid her good money for her expert opinion; you should follow her advice.
I’m all for logic. I’m all for cutting costs. However, I’m also for spending money to make my daughter not just sparkle on the ice, but shine.
Best wishes for success, Flip!
Update: Aaron over at Axels, Loops, and Spins wrote a great commentary: To Sequin...or Not to Sequin.