It’s the time of the annual club show and that can only mean one thing….DRAMA. Every year at show time, no matter what club I worked with or heard about, there is always drama. Get a group of skaters together and try to put an event on that would please everyone is darn near impossible. Most of the people putting the show together are volunteers and are trying to do their best to put on a wonderful production that will benefit the skaters and the club as an entity. Combining all of the variables of a show, the main priority seems to get lost. Having fun and performing with your peers to show your talent gets swept aside compared to the drama that steps in. Costumes, group choices, music, disrespectful skaters, upset parents, the list could go on and on. But how did we avoid all of this drama? We don’t. There is no possible way that with the number of skaters, parents, coaches, volunteers and the amount of variables that go into a show that everything will run smoothly. Every year I hope that this will be the year when there is no drama, but that is just a lost dream. There is no way to avoid the drama because lets face it, something will happen. Even though we can’t avoid it, we can deal with the situations that occur in order to keep the main focus of the of the show a priority. It’s not always going to be easy to deal with, and there will definitely be times where you may need to bite your tongue, but again this is a club show and not an individual show. Everyone has just as much right to be in the show as everyone else. So how do we handle the drama? It depends on the situation….
COSTUMES Costumes are one of the biggest problems when it comes to a show and here are a few reason why and how to handle the situation.
1. In person they never look like how they do in the picture No it’s not what you paid for, no the color isn’t the same, yes the material is itchy, but guess what? Everyone in your group who is wearing the costume is wearing the same costume so you are not the only one. The people who chose the costumes, who are most likely volunteers, chose the costumes which they thought would suit everyone considering the options they had. It is, on average, a 2 minute number. You only have to wear it for 2 minutes and you never have to wear it again, so if you don’t like it just bite your tongue and hope that next year will be better.
2. The costumes NEVER fit correctly The sizing charts vary from company to company and the costumes are usually ordered months in advance so growth spurts can occur. It is very unlikely that all of the costumes fit perfectly, but instead of complaining, try swapping sizes with someone else in your group or make minor alterations as long as it is okay with the club. Again, 2 minutes is all you have to wear it for. Parents really seem to get involved in the costumes and this is where some of the drama comes in. I was at a practice the day the costumes arrived for a local clubs annual show. All of the skaters were excited and running in and out of the changing rooms trying on their costumes to show off to everyone. One of the moms was throwing a fit about how the costume was too small for her child, so she sent her daughter to go put it on to show the woman in charge. When the skater came out into the lobby filled with peers and parents, the mom starts making a scene and screaming, “You expect my daughter to wear that?! Look how FAT she looks in that!” The costume was snug, but it was not nearly as bad as the mother thought or the scene that she had just made. My heart sank for the little girl and what her mother just put her through.
3. The stock, shipping time, and size availability always effects how the costumes are chosen The people choosing the costume have limited options due to what is in stock, the shipping time, and the sizing availability. There are certain groups when not everyone is the same size or one or two girls may need a kid size or adult size but the costume is only available in one or the other. The costumes may not be perfect, but again they are the best options available.
4. With only 1 style costume for a group of people, someone is not going to like it Some costumes will be tank top, t shirt, long sleeve, and someone will not like what it is. Sometimes everyone in the group hates the costumes, but again everyone has to wear it so you are not the only one looking out of place. One year I had to wear a crushed tie dyed brown velvet body suit with matted fur around the neck and wrists because we were cats. It was by far one of the worst costumes I ever had to wear. It was awful at the time, but it makes for a great story and a good laugh later.
5. $ Cha Ching Cha Ching $ The cost always creates problems There will always be a disagreement on how much to spend on the costumes. Some parents want to spend more and get a costume they can wear again. Some parents hardly want to spend anything because they know they won’t wear it again. There is a very sticky line between what is too much and what is too little. Please trust that whoever is picking out the costumes is doing their best to find the best and most affordable costumes. If you are the one complaining about the costumes, try offering your help instead of complaining. Offering to help is a much better way to handle the situation because the people in charge are most likely overwhelmed and will appreciate the help. Also, you might be happier with the decision in the end if your input is involved. We have all been there and experienced bad costumes, but the show must go on. Complaining about the costume you have is not going to change anything. The only thing it will do is upset the others skaters, parents or coaches. If you don’t like your costume, it is just best to bite your tongue. Then when the show is finished, you can have a wonderful little campfire to burn that awful piece of fabric called a costume!
“I have to skate with WHO!?” Are the words that ring in the air when the show groups are chosen. Every club has a different method of choosing who is in what show group. It doesn’t matter what method is used, there are usually upset parents or skaters based on who is in what group. The disapproval ranges from the skater or parent thinking they should be in a higher group, or that there is someone in the group that doesn’t “deserve” to be in the group because they are not at a high enough level. There are always grey area skaters who are between two levels which make it very difficult to place in the groups. No matter who is in what group, please remember that these groups were chosen to the best of everyones knowledge placing the groups. Someone, whether it is you or your child, may get placed in the wrong group, but that doesn’t mean that the show is ruined. There is always a way to make the most of it. If you feel like you are too high to be in the group you are in, think of how good you are going too look compared to everyone else! If you feel like you are too low to be in the group that you are in, the people choosing the groups put you in that group for a reason. They believe in you, and you need to believe in yourself and show them you deserve to be there. There is always a way to put a positive spin on the group you are in. Many club shows take place in the spring time, but the planning and signing up for the show usually occurs in the fall. This makes it even more difficult to place the skaters because by show time, the skaters usually progress well beyond their originally placed group, especially at the basic skills level. If you are the skater or parent of a skater that feels as though they are too high to be in the group they are in, take it as a compliment instead of complaining because you or your child have probably progressed more than the other skaters in their group throughout the season. Everyone in charge of choosing the groups tries to do their best, but sometimes their judgement is clouded. I have heard on multiple occasion from multiple clubs that certain skaters are not placed in certain groups because they don’t get along with another skater. This may not be the correct approach considering their levels are be compatible, but the people in charge are trying their best in order to place the skaters so they will have fun during the show. That is ultimately what it comes down too, is having FUN in the show. No matter who is in your group, what song you skate too, what costume you have to wear, remember that you are doing this because you love it. Ignore the details and focus on what you have the opportunity to do-skate your heart out and perform!
This is the section in the show time series that makes my blood boil. The other sections are the usual expected drama that I can see both sides from. I can understand being upset about having a horrible costume or being placed in the wrong group, but what I can’t wrap my head around is being disrespectful to the people around you. There is always that one skater or parent who thinks the world revolves around them. Any skater or parent from the club can name that person instantly. If you can’t….it’s probably you. In the process of trying to get what they want (which is usually attention) they end up being disrespectful and hurtful to the people around them. Aretha Franklin said it best “R.E.S.P.E.C.T .” Respect seems to get lost amongst the jealousy, competitiveness, showing off and every other emotion that appears during show time. Within one show at one club the amount of disrespect shown towards coaches, skaters, parents, and volunteers is revolting. Again, I know repeat myself in every show time drama blog post, but it all comes down to everyone seems to forget the reason why the show is happening. It is for the skaters benefit and to be a fun event. I have seen skaters text on their cellphones during practice while the coach is trying to instruct, a skater (in high school) sitting on the ice away from their show group pouting while the other skaters are listening intently, 7th and 8th graders pushing each other during rehearsals, countless times have I seen skaters stomp off the ice not to mention kick the ice and boards, skaters squirreling around during rehearsals while everyone else pays attention, skaters not performing the choreography because they think its “stupid”, skaters and parents yelling at the coaches or volunteers for various reasons, performing disrespectful acts from changing costumes or choreography to adding props during the show to draw attention, the list can go on and on. I want to scream just thinking of all of things. The disrespectful don’t realize that they are hurting the people around them. Sometimes those skaters are trying to make a point to the club or the coaches, but in the process they end up hurting and being disrespectful to the other skaters around them. Why should that single skater not perform the correct choreography when everyone else is? I have seen it on so many occasions where the skaters who refuse to the do the choreography think they are the best skater when in reality they are not. Not performing the correct choreography or changing the choreography is not only a disrespect towards the coach but also to the other skaters in the group. They spent just as much time and dedication, if not more, into the number and one skater decides they are the star and steals the thunder. Often times the skater tries to “prove a point” to a coach, parent, or volunteer and in the process they don’t realize they are hurting or disrespecting the other skaters. It is the self centered skater with the big ego who thrives for attention because they aren’t happy with themselves. Coaches are there to support the skaters, to choreograph fun numbers, and to show off their skills. Coaches are there to help the skaters, not to make them look stupid. Some skaters lose sight of that and refuse to do the correct choreography because they think it is too easy or looks ridiculous. Well guess what? It looks more ridiculous when you are the only one not performing it. If you think it is too easy and don’t want to do it because it looks to simple, the coach probably made it easy because you would look more ridiculous attempting to things you think you can do but can’t. I have been on both sides of the spectrum on this one. I remember not liking choreography and hating to be yelled at (as a group), but it was all part of the show and it all came together in the end. Now being a coach, I am utterly disgusted at some of the actions by some skaters. I have dealt with skaters calling the coaches a B*&#$, a skater yelling at a volunteer, a skater yelling at a parent, skaters storming off the ice during rehearsals, and so on. If it was up to me, these skaters would get kicked out of the show. Why should everyone else follow the rules, work hard, listen intently and have to put up with these other skaters? We have all experienced and probably will have to work with these skaters who are disrespectful, but how do we deal with them? If it was up to me, they would get kicked out of the show. I understand that would be upsetting for many people (even though half of the club would be more than thrilled to see them go), so it is probably not the best option to flat out kick them out right away. It often depends on the situation, but if you are a skater dealing with another skater the best thing to do is to ignore them completely. They are looking for attention so if you ignore them they will have nothing to feed off of. If you are a coach or volunteer there usually has to be some disciplinary action for their actions. Singling them out in front of the entire group usually works better than yelling at the group as a whole, suspending them from a practice or a show, require them to perform extra volunteer hours, or have a meeting with the skater and possibly their parent as well to talk about their actions. A three strike system could also be set into place where the skaters and parents will sign a sportsmanship waiver before the show. If they break 3 of the rules they will be kicked out of the show. That way it is point blank they broke rules and they had agreed to those conditions. We will always have disrespectful skaters in the club who will always cause drama. Instead of having the drama start as a spark and turn into a forest fire, we can extinguish it right away before it gets out of control. Let the show be the what the show is supposed to be. FUN and hopefully as drama free as it can be.