Friday, May 22, 2009

New to the rink? Learn the rules.

One of the clubs where Ice Girl skates has seen an increase in the number of figure skaters on the ice lately. A local rink is down for repair, so their skaters have been visiting us.

The more the merrier, I say.

Ice Girl agrees in theory, but she complains because the new kids don’t know the rules.

I encourage her to be welcoming, not scowling, but it’s true that skaters who don’t know the rules frustrate those who do.

If you’re new to a rink, here are a few things to do to make sure that skaters smile at you instead of growl.

Visiting figure skaters’ etiquette:

  • Check in with the ice monitor. You might not have to check in with the ice monitor at your home rink because everyone knows you there; however, that’s not the case when you’re visiting. Make sure the monitor knows who you are, double-check that you’re contracted, and ask her how the rink works: where the jump corners are, where to do spins, and if there’s a rule about how music is played.

  • Move. You might not have so many figure skaters on your home rink as in your host rink. The skaters at your host rink might be way faster than you are. Don’t stand in the middle and look stunned. Keep moving. If you’re not moving, stand at the boards for a very short time. Then move again. It’s a safety thing. Moving targets are harder to hit, so you and other skaters are less likely to go down in a heap of arms and blades.

  • Go solo. Do not hang out in a group on the ice. You’re forming a wall and skaters have to skate around you. If you need to talk, do it off to the side.

  • Respect the figure skater whose music is playing. At rinks in our area, figure skaters wear an orange vest when they’re skating to their music. Other figure skaters are supposed to move out of the way. It’s both a respect issue and a safety issue. You want skaters to move for you when you do your program, so move when they’re doing theirs. You also don’t want to be the one who causes a skater in her program to crash into you while she’s doing a Lutz or a backwards spiral. She can’t see you. So move.

  • Say you’re sorry. Don’t interrupt skaters during their program to apologize for being a speed bump in the middle of their straight-line footwork. At some point, though, acknowledge that you were in the way and apologize for it. Then don’t do it again.

  • Smile. This one’s for Ice Girl. People will get in your way, especially when the ice is crowded. Shrug it off and think about how lucky you are to have ice in the first place.

  • For host club skaters: Be welcoming. Introduce yourself to the visitors and say something nice. Remember: these kids are bringing more money into your club and are helping keep your ice open. Be grateful. Someday you might be skating on their rink and you want to keep goodwill flowing.

Do you have some visiting skaters’ etiquette tips to share? Put ’em in the comments section!


Ethelapple said...

AND don't be snarky when someone happens to "break" a rule totally by accident. My eight year old was listening to her instructor and doing what she was told off in a corner one day, and a 16 year old was doing her routine and it was a close call, but literally my daughter skated under her leg/blade. When I tried to laugh it off in the stands, her mom took my head off. Boo!

Aaron said...

Seriously...there should be a "Don't be THAT parent" rule.

Renee said...

Skaters who have been around since God was a boy need to realize that for every new skater there is a learning curve. Politely taking the newer skater aside (i.e., not in front of all of his/her friends) and explaining what happened and how the newer skater should handle it in the future is far more productive in the long run! It's easy to pull the, "I'm Queen of the Rink" act, but experienced skaters who give a newer skater some words of (true) wisdom are imparting a behavior that, hopefully when the newer skater is a veteran herself, will be passed on to the next generation of skaters!

KCooke86 said...

I loved the bit about the skater who is skating her program wearing an orange vest! Fabulous idea that I hope to import to our rink.

Therese said...

Fabulous idea!