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Thread: Jenny Kirk: The Overzealous Skating Parent

  1. #31
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by callalily View Post
    In the sport of hockey, it's the dads.
    right, that's why Sarah Palin "came up with" the joke about hockey moms and pitbulls... (which was a tired joke when SHE said it, and became overly annoying afterwards)...

    women are passionate, as are men, and when it comes to their kids they do some oddball things (good and bad)...


    I don't think Jenny hates the sport. I think she is fine and even enjoys skating... it's what goes on around it - all of the negative - that she's speaking out against. The only way to change it is to reveal all the ugly... we're all blinded by the glitz and glam

  2. #32
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    http://trueslant.com/jenniferkirk/20...kating-parent/

    Jennifer, I tried commenting on your blog when you wrote your first article, but was unable to, even though I got as far as registering, but then bam I hit a block, lol.

    Anyway, if you're reading this, I just want you to know that your latest article really hit me hard, can't stop thinking about it, very emotional. I think it's your greatest one yet. Your article combined with what Louis wrote over on FSU was a real eye-opener. Its caused me to lose some of my love & joy for this sport, temporarily though, same thing has happened to me many times before, lol. Seriously, the implementation of COP stopped me in my tracks, the 2006 Olympic Free Skate of Sasha Cohen brought me back in. Also, the madness after Tara won in 1998 was a real downer. I watched the boards but didn't really participate. It gets crazy sometimes.

    But your article has affected me differently, it brought back my caseload from my social work days, some of the things in those files would have you on your knees, especially the home visits. What a very brave thing you've done, Jenny, very brave. Putting a spotlight on what isn't talked about. Not really, though I recall reading a book "Little Girls in Pretty Boxes", but that mainly had to do with gymnastics. It's a whole other thing to come from a skater themself. I'm pretty sure reverberations from this will be felt for a long time to come.

    You've found your niche, writing , and I read something recently that stated you would be doing a charity show, skating. Now maybe you can skate with the heart of a child again, recall what you love about skating, leastways I hope so. Lol, I still roller skate (though rarely), and I still feel the joy!

    I still love this sport, it combines everything I love (beauty & art & athleticism) but will be taking a temporary hiatus, lol my business has suffered a bit from my overzealous excitement about this upcoming Olympic Season, now its back to what I love to do & am fortunate enough to be able to do.

    P.S. and I'm looking forward to your next article.

  3. #33
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    ^ if you REALLY want to make sure she sees it, an option is to type it somewhere and tweet the link to her. (I was considering asking you if you wanted me to tweet her a link to your post (in single view mode), but then again, I'd rather not send her any link of any kind to these forums, even if she's admitted to reading them in the past- curiosity might get the better of her as there's a way to view the whole thread from the single post window, and then you know the rest of the story. )
    Last edited by R.D.; 08-06-2009 at 12:16 AM.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Dog View Post
    Then why get a coach in the first place?
    That's why when the skater parent asks me how much I owe, I tell them, "$90. What part of you are paying me to coach your child are you having difficulty with?" Of course, it never comes to them actually forking over, but most of the parents are much more quiet the next lesson.

  5. #35
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Meg's comment about the parent yelling from the bleachers is more common than you might think. We have a skater at our rink at the Senior (international) level who has gone through that with her mother incessantly. There was one day where I had to cover my ears as the skater was in the middle of a 3 way argument with her mother and coach. The mother was at the top of the bleaches, the skater in the middle of the rink, and the coach in the team hockey box.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nadine View Post
    Then there are those I've always wondered about (e.g. Michelle's mom seemed like the loving caring one, whereas her dad I'm not so sure, but then again I'm sure his pushing was the impetus of her success). How's that old saying go about opposites attracting & there being a fair balance.

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    On a downside, I recall reading in Ekaterina Goordeva's book that Sergei didn't like to skate, he even told Scott Hamilton that he hated it. :( He said he skated because he had to. What he really wanted to do was travel the world & enjoy life. So sad, this coming from a 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist. But then again I recall Katia said that Sergei was disappointed with how he performed in the 1994Olympics because of his mistake on singling one of his jumps, and he seriously wanted to compete in the 1998 Olympics. So who knows...


    Since the USFSA asked the Kwan's to speak to the parents of other skaters, I think that they probably struck the right balance between support and pushing both Michelle and Karen. Based upon what Michelle has said about her father, it seemed that he was trying to ensure that she did not become a diva and that she had a responsibility to respect her fans.

    I think a lot depends upon the person. In the Kwan family, it seems that Michelle had a greater drive for succesful skating as compared to Karen. Michelle's parents could have tried to push Karen more than Michelle, but there didn't seem to be a problem when Karen decided to stop skating and go to Boston for college instead. By all reports, the Kwan's have pushed their children to continue their educations. Stereotypical, but emigre's usually put the emphasis on the long term success of their kids via education vs fame.

    One of my friends as 2 kids. The oldest beats herself; so, they don't push her unless she's not meeting her responsibilities. The younger is more happy go lucky and needs to be pushed. Their father told me that he asked for the swim teacher that would yell and push him vs the teacher that would baby and coax him into pushing himself.

    I think most parents do push out of love more so than for the reflected glory. They think they are helping their child gain the child's dream and forget to stop and make sure that the child's dream has stayed the same. The parents got too wound up in the details to step back and look at the big picture. While athletes do need to train to push back the pain, I also think that it's wrong of the parents to ignore the possibility of a real injury that can have much longer term effects as compared to stopping to allow the injury to heal. It's certainly tempting to ignore when a big competition is just around the corner, but realistically a sports career is a lot shorter than the ongoing pain an athlete can suffer the remainder of his/her life and I think it is the parent's responsibility to look at the long term vision. If I had a child involved in athletics, I would only allow them to participate if they maintained their grades and lived an age appropriate lifestyle (i.e. don't let your 15 yr old go out late and party on a school night). With the brevity of an athletic career, the child has to be educated enough to not have to rely totally on handlers to manage everything for them and to consider what they want after sports is 'over'. The ones who aren't taught these lessons end up on the headlines for the wrong things (Tonya, Nicole, etc.)

    With regard to Sergei, I didn't get the impression that he hated skating, but rather hated the regimen imposed by the Soviet system. In many books & interviews where people have mentioned G&G as a team, Sergei was the fun one and Katia was the driving force in the team. She mentions in her book that Sergei taught her to enjoy life and not just obsess over skating well. They were the right balance for each other.

  7. #37
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    overzealous skating parent

    I would appreciate articles like this if they were from skating parents. Jenny Kirk was a skater and now she is trying to be a successful writer; writing about a sport that is only interesting to a small portion of the population. I don't know if anything she says is true and because her mom has passed away we can't hear her side of the story.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by katiedear View Post
    I would appreciate articles like this if they were from skating parents. Jenny Kirk was a skater and now she is trying to be a successful writer; writing about a sport that is only interesting to a small portion of the population. I don't know if anything she says is true and because her mom has passed away we can't hear her side of the story.
    It would be very hard to find an "overzealous" skating parent that would be willing to write an article on all the mistakes they have made as a parent. They would have to admit to their over-demanding ways and how they controlled their children. Most controlling parents do not see the mistakes in judgement they have made and often fail to take responsibility and accountability for their actions.

    I don't see why Jenny would make something of this nature up - especially considering her mother has passed away.

  9. #39
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    Sometimes they reflect on their past behaviors. The mother of a world-famous violinist Midori was a typical overzealous parent. I read a biography of her mom (母と神童―五嶋節物語 (小学館文庫) (文庫) ) based on interviews with both Midori and her mom. Since Midori's mom, Setsu, had been forced into unwanted marriage by her parents, Setsu tried to achieve what she wanted through her talented kid, Midori. Midori owes her success so much to her mom. But her mom was also so dominant in her psychology. Setsu later on regretted how she treated her as a kid.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinymavy15 View Post
    It is good that Jenny wrote about this issue, but lashing out at her mom? I feel like Jenny almost hates the sport and is using this blog to vent all her frustrations.
    You know... that's not a bad theory. Her articles have all been negative about different aspects of skating, haven't they? The one's I've seen anyway... locker room pressure... eating disorders... insane parents... hmmmm.

  11. #41
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    Later, she mentioned life lessons- touching on some positives in the process. It's like she's reading people's feedback...

  12. #42
    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Particle Man View Post
    You know... that's not a bad theory. Her articles have all been negative about different aspects of skating, haven't they? The one's I've seen anyway... locker room pressure... eating disorders... insane parents... hmmmm.
    She has written complimentary articles about Michele Kwan and Paul Wylie. I haven't read all of them, but I'm thinking that people are most likely posting links to the more intriguing ones.

    In general, it's her blog. It's an editorial from her viewpoint. Not everyone has experienced the same. Locker room pressure - where does it not exist in sport? Eating disorders - it's been an issue in skating and gymnastics for years, especially for the ladies. Insane parents - have you ever gone to a local league game? All of these issues were also touched on by SOI's Olympic training routine - Roz played Katia's overbearing mother. None of this is knew, but it's the most controversial aspect and Jenny's blog is intending to make people think.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by heyang View Post
    With regard to Sergei, I didn't get the impression that he hated skating, but rather hated the regimen imposed by the Soviet system. In many books & interviews where people have mentioned G&G as a team, Sergei was the fun one and Katia was the driving force in the team. She mentions in her book that Sergei taught her to enjoy life and not just obsess over skating well. They were the right balance for each other.
    In Katia's memoir, she heard that Sergei talked like that, but Katia believed Sergei also loved skating deep in his heart. I also think at that time Sergei was just tired by their relentless coach whom G&G finally left to train with Stanislav Leonovich & Marina Zueva.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Particle Man View Post
    You know... that's not a bad theory. Her articles have all been negative about different aspects of skating, haven't they? The one's I've seen anyway... locker room pressure... eating disorders... insane parents... hmmmm.
    Does that make it less true? Do you believe that she's exagerating the locker room drama, her own eating disorder and the insane parents? That's what gets the hmmmm from me... espcially the eating disorder part when I think of the numerous posts on GS that pertain to a skater's weight... :sheesh:

    Quote Originally Posted by katiedear View Post
    I would appreciate articles like this if they were from skating parents. Jenny Kirk was a skater and now she is trying to be a successful writer; writing about a sport that is only interesting to a small portion of the population. I don't know if anything she says is true and because her mom has passed away we can't hear her side of the story.
    I'm really surprised by the questioning of Kirk's honesty... why would she be dishonest? What does she gain? We all know that skating has a dark side - why act shocked? Its a sport dominated by little girls and young women who work really hard to do things the human body is not designed to do and it costs tons of money with the only payout coming for a blessed few...

    Also, parents will lose their minds around their children's sporting endevours - regardless of the level so I'm not surprised to hear that the costlier, the crazier the parent. Such is life...

  15. #45
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by i love to skate View Post
    I don't see why Jenny would make something of this nature up - especially considering her mother has passed away.
    I agree. Why would she make up examples like she used in the article? I'm sorry, but I've been on the "inside" of this sport for a long time and her story is not far fetched at all. I've seen the pushy skate parents since day one and more so now, as an adult, because I want to be left alone on the ice and would prefer NOT to hear the parent "coaching" from the top of the bleachers.

    Most of these overzealous parents don't even realize they're killing the kid's joy in the sport because they think they're helping. They see themselves as supportive, not pushy. When you mention it, they get defensive. Such is life...

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