Actress Allison Janney won an Oscar on March 4, 2018 for her role as best supporting actress for the amazing job she did at portraying Tonya Harding’s mother in the movie “I, Tonya.” Janney shows a skating mom who would do about anything to make her daughter a champion.
Although not all the parents in figure skating are anything like Tonya Harding’s mother LaVona (Harding) Golden, some of the mothers (and fathers) of the figure skaters I’ve met in my 50 plus years of skating, are almost exactly like her! (Well…maybe they don’t all sit at the rink’s rail smoking and swearing, but they can be can be similar…)
I’ve seen that type of “skating mother” in action many, many times. That type of skating parent is always at the rink watching every minute of his or her child’s practice and lessons. If the child takes even a slight break or if a coach begins a lesson a minute late, the parents can “fly off the handle.” The parent may yell across the rink if he or she doesn’t like what he or she sees. And…sometimes, it is common to see that parent’s child in tears.
This type of skating parent is always in the rink’s lobby trying to find out details of what may be going on with other skaters. That parent expects a coach to give his or her child the most attention. If the coach does not comply, that parent make take their “talented child” elsewhere.
Some “skating mothers” are friendly to the other parents who may be sitting in a rink’s stands, but that friendliness is usually just to find out details of what another skater is doing or to learn the latest gossip. This type of parent also spreads gossip and may even be the source of vicious rumors about other skaters. This type of parent doesn’t care what others think of him or her; they just do what they need to do to make sure his or her child wins and this type of parent may keep pushing harder and harder.
Like Tonya Harding, children of these type of aggressive skating parents, can be affected in adverse ways. The child might think he or she deserves to be treated better than other skaters, but at the same time, the child may work extra hard to gain the parent’s approval. In time, the joy of ice skating may disappear from the child’s life, but since a child of this type of parent raised a child that knows nothing else, the skater will just keep working hard at the sport.
Without the financial support and guidance of at least one parent, there is no way any figure skater could succeed; however, every once in awhile, all parents of figure skaters should evaluate their behavior and actions.
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