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  1. #1
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    Snobbish Skaters

    Hi,
    I am new at taking skating lessons ( I am a 25 yea old female) and have joind a local rink. What bugs me is the attitude of some of the other, younger skaters during freestyle (open ice) sessions. They always are giving me dirty looks, and blocking my way, as if they own the ice. They are more experienced, but act really snobbish about it, ignoring me and not returning my polite smiles. Is that normal? I find a lot of people involved with skating are generaly cold and quite distant -- even the teachers and other employees seem to look down on me, for no partiular reason.
    Plus, I find the girls there really image conscious, like they are always talking about clothes, hair and makeup. If you are not wearing the latest fashions they look down on you. Is that typical of teen skaters? Are they like that at every rink?
    I'm starting to dislike my lessons more and more.
    help me!

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    Are you following freestyle rules? Yielding when you are supposed to, not hanging out in the corners, watching the flow of traffic and everything else? Freestyle session are there for training and not social hour. Have you completed the minimum test requirements to be on a freestyle session? Do you utilize the entire ice surface or just hang out on a hockey circle. These can all be factors that might cause tension with other skaters. Speak to your coach about learning freestyle session rules and do your best every session to follow them.

    When I started on freestyle sessions as an adult bronze skater, I learned quickly that I had to move around the ice and learn the traffic patterns. I was on sessions with Derrick Delmore, Diane Chen, Ashley Wagner, Craig Ratteree, and other intermediate to junior level skaters. This makes you pay attention, skate faster and keep moving! It can be frustrating when someone isn't following the rules whether they are an adult or a kid. It can also be very dangerous.

  3. #3

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    Alys: what country are you located in? This can influence the reaction you're getting, and whether that reaction is "normal".
    Use Yah Blinkah!

  4. #4

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    I agree that there might be some unwritten rules that you are not following. Normally the less experienced skaters have to yield way.
    People who are in a lesson don't have to yield as much as others (they have to concentrate on the lesson so other people should be considerate).
    If a pair or an ice-dance couple is skating, it is also normal to yield to them (it is hard enough to concentrate on a partner).

    I wouldn't say that the atmosphere in ice-skating is snobbish. But it is quite dangerous to skate when other people don't use these rules (and even then), therefore you might have gotten cold looks when you (unknowingly, maybe) blocked other people.

    I think as well that it would be good to take some lessons and ask about how it is done at your rink.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alys View Post
    Hi,
    I am new at taking skating lessons ( I am a 25 yea old female) and have joind a local rink. What bugs me is the attitude of some of the other, younger skaters during freestyle (open ice) sessions. They always are giving me dirty looks, and blocking my way, as if they own the ice. They are more experienced, but act really snobbish about it, ignoring me and not returning my polite smiles. Is that normal? I find a lot of people involved with skating are generaly cold and quite distant -- even the teachers and other employees seem to look down on me, for no partiular reason.
    Plus, I find the girls there really image conscious, like they are always talking about clothes, hair and makeup. If you are not wearing the latest fashions they look down on you. Is that typical of teen skaters? Are they like that at every rink?
    I'm starting to dislike my lessons more and more.
    help me!
    Assuming you're not unintentionally breaking any of the rules....at some rinks unfortunately adults aren't always treated with the same respect as the younger skaters. It's not right, and it's not fair, but it does unfortunately happen. :/

    Just remember, you have as much right as every other person on the ice to be there. Follow the rules and practice your own things. Have you spoken to your coach about the girls blocking your way? If it's really a continuous problem, your coach should take notice and speak to the girls, or the girls coach, or the skating director.

    Honestly, you can't be worried about what other people think of you at the rink. Why are you (an adult) concerned with what the teenagers are wearing and talking about? Clothes and makeup are pretty much typical fodder for teens. Let them do their thing, you do yours. Keep smiling and being polite to them. That's all you can do.

  6. #6
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    I've been on a lot of freestyle sessions at a lot of different rinks, and in general, everyone is just there to practice (or should be!). My experience has been that nobody really cares who you are or what you're doing as long as you stay out of their way. A lot of times, less experienced freestyle skaters end up in the way of other skaters without realizing it because they aren't yet familiar with all of the patterns, jump set-ups, etc. These setups often begin all the way at the other end of the rink, so you need to keep your eyes up and scanning 360 degrees around you at all times, paying attention to the pattern each skater is on so that you can get out of the way in time. As a rule of thumb, I never start a spin, jump setup or anything else without first scanning the entire ice surface to see where everyone is and whether anyone is starting to set up something that I might interfere with.
    Beyond that, I agree with Stormy that there's no need to care what the teens are thinking or saying. Eventually they will grow up, but for now, they are insecure and immature and there's nothing anyone can do to change that. As for everyone else, ice rinks are small communities and it sometimes takes awhile for people to warm up to newcomers. Just keep being polite and conscientious on the ice, keep smiling at people, and eventually you will be one of the regulars.
    Last edited by Doubletoe; 11-29-2011 at 08:44 PM.

  7. #7

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    Honestly, if you feel like this keeps happening then maybe you aren't on the appropriate session. If you keep getting dirty looks then *most likely* there is a reason. For example, you might be unaware that you are in someone's jumping path and he/she might have to keep going around and not getting anything done. It's not common practice to skate up to someone and tell them to move because it's usually assumed that they will get the hint.

    I will say that young figure skaters are often super competitive and tensions run can high, especially since it's the competitive season. Of course, they might just be brats That's not unheard of...

    People often say that "you have as much right as anyone else to be on the ice" but I don't think this is strictly true. Yes, everyone has as much right to be on the ice, but at certain times of the season common courtesy dictates that specific people have right of way. For instance, it's common that before sectionals/nationals/worlds, the skaters competing at said competition will be given more space from those not competing. Earlier in the season when the lower level skaters are doing club competitions and the higher level skaters are just training, it will be the reverse. It's just the way it is and because recreational/adult skaters sometimes aren't aware of who's who, they can get in the way. I don't mean to sound rude, but if someone is training for a competition and you're just a rec skater, you need to move for them and not the other way around.

    I should mention that adult skaters aren't always appreciated on regular sessions so you should be aware of this. Many, not all mind you, tend to go slower than the other skaters, aren't able to maneuver as well, and are less able to focus on what's going on around them while simultaneously focusing on what they're working on. Nothing wrong with this and no surprise since they haven't been on the ice since the age of 4, but that doesn't make it appropriate for them to be on a session with competitive skaters. It would be like putting a regular car on a track with Nascar drivers. Not safe for anyone.

    It's very important that you find a session that suits your level so you feel comfortable. Maybe it's worth looking into an adult only session- they're fairly widespread and adults often find them much easier to skate on. Or even trying a lower level session? However, sometimes it just takes a little while to get used to the flow of session, so next time you go, spend extra attention on how everyone else is moving, who's doing what where, etc. Good luck and I hope you find a good environment in which you can enjoy your skating!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alys View Post
    Plus, I find the girls there really image conscious, like they are always talking about clothes, hair and makeup. If you are not wearing the latest fashions they look down on you. Is that typical of teen skaters? Are they like that at every rink?
    They are teenagers - not sure what else you could expect. Most of them are like that. Also why you would at 25 be worried about what they think anyway? You should probably be past that kind of thing.

    But a rink is like any social environment. New people can take a while to fit in. Just go along, do your own thing but keep out of people's way.

    When it comes down to it - why are you doing it? If you are doing it for making new friends, you are probably doing the wrong session. If you are doing it because you absolutely love skating, just go and skate and damned be the rest of them.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  9. #9
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    I am surprised nobody yet commented on the "Just a rec skater" reply. ITA that you need to follow the rules and always, always be watching out (This applies to all levels of skaters), but even a "rec" skater has some sort of goal or they would not be out there. I think there is already a whole thread on this in archives, but to some skaters executing what might seem simple to others is just every bit as important to them as the few skaters feel going to Sr. Nationals is to them. Don't worry about the teenagers that much. Who knows maybe some will stop to give you some tips or encouragement. If you see adults smirking, they are likely jealous and wish they had the nerve to get on ice with their teens (if they have health & the $ for ice time).

  10. #10

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    I don't get what's wrong with the "just a rec skater" thing. Sorry but if you are "just a rec skater", you're doing it for fun. If you're a world level skater, skating is your life. You sacrifice everything for it and dedicate years upon years of your life for it. You live it, breath it, do anything for it. You invest tens of thousands of dollars into it every year for many years in a row. It *is* more important to the high level competitive skater no matter how you spin it. And there's nothing wrong with that, that's just the way it is. It's only polite IMO for the rec skater to watch out for the high level competitive skater. For example, when I was a novice, I watched out for the seniors because I was "just" a novice. And I wasn't offended if someone referred to me as "just" a novice because it was true. I WAS just a novice. Once you get to a certain level, you demand a certain level of respect by virtue of everything you've accomplished and I fail to see what's wrong with that.
    Last edited by triple_toe; 11-30-2011 at 03:49 AM.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by triple_toe View Post
    I don't get what's wrong with the "just a rec skater" thing. Sorry but if you are "just a rec skater", you're doing it for fun. If you're a world level skater, skating is your life. You sacrifice everything for it and dedicate years upon years of your life for it.
    I suspect that everyone the OP shares with is a "rec skater," by your definition. Elite skaters usually don't practice on general FS sessions, they skate on either private ice or sessions that are designated as High FS (usually Novice and up). And from what I've seen, when elite skaters do get on general sessions (home for vacation or it's a weekend and they don't have their normal training ice), they are very respectful and are very good about finding space to do their jumps and looking out for others. And yes, I've skated with a few and none ever gave me dirty looks.

    Most rink FS sessions are for anyone in FS 1 or higher, with lower level skaters allowed for private lessons. So unless the OP's sessions are specifically designated as High FS, I think she is on the right sessions. Yes, she should be aware of those having lessons and doing programs and be sure to yield to them. Sometimes, though, it's inevitable you'll get in someone's way - apologize and move on. Yes, there are skaters out there who think no matter what, they own the ice and b/c they have a (supercheated) double toe, that everyone should yield to them no matter what. As long as you follow the etiquette rules and do what you're supposed to, just ignore their diva attitude. As doubletoe said, they'll grow up eventually but in the meantime, just go on with your skating and don't pay attention to what they think or say.

  12. #12

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    Debbie, I wasn't implying competitive skaters aren't respectful, quite the opposite in fact. Competitive skaters are so respectful of one another that they go so far as to be extra aware of who has a competition coming up and give that person right of way, even though they don't technically have to. They're extremely good at being able to balance practicing and looking out for other people. Newbies and adults on the other hand are sometimes unaware of who's who and don't know to give that person right of way, not because of disrespect but because they simply aren't accustomed to the flow of the session. Or because the session is going too fast and they aren't able to keep up.

    I'm simply disagreeing with the advice of "just go out and skate, forget what the other skaters think." I think it's very important to pay close attention to what is happening on the session and how the other skaters are reacting to you. It's also very important to note if there is a bit of a pecking order, if you will, established so you know if there's someone people are trying to give extra room. If skaters keep giving you the stinkeye, that's a sign that you are probably disrupting the traffic in some way. It's a mistake to just ignore them and continue doing what you're doing, in fact it's dangerous. You should instead try to analyze the situation and figure out if there's a reason why they're doing it beyond just assuming they're snotty. Honestly, no one cares if you're 5 or 50 as long as you don't disrupt the session. People are simply too focused on their practice to single someone out to be nasty to.

  13. #13

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    Any activity that has a large amount of women/girls and gay men is going to be bitchy. Teenagers are always going to be talking about clothes/hair etc. Try not to take it to heart. A lot of the "dirty" looks you get are possibly not even directed at you. I know myself that if I actually have enough money to be at the rink training, I'm not spending my time trying to make friends, and I'm often mad at myself for my ageing body not doing what I want it to do. Perhaps these skaters are pulling faces because they aren't doing their best either.

    I'd suggest learning all the rules of the session, and perhaps spending a bit of time knowing whose music is whose, how their programs go etc, then you know you wont be in the way.

    I agree that everyone has the right to be on a freestyle session if they have passed the required level. However, as a competitive skater in my teens, I would get annoyed at adult skaters who were of a lower level (the before school sessions didn't have a test requirement) who would get in my way, but, I was a pretentious teen skater. As an adult skater trying to relearn my skills, I keep this in mind.

    Dont let it get to you. I'm sure people will warm to you soon

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by triple_toe View Post

    I should mention that adult skaters aren't always appreciated on regular sessions so you should be aware of this...
    This is why I asked what country the original poster is skating in. In some countries, adult skaters are really unusual, and they can get attitude when they do skate. I was wondering if the response she's getting was due, in part, to this.
    Use Yah Blinkah!

  15. #15
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    I wonder about the odds of there actually BEING any "elite" skaters on the session. The only rink I ever skated at where that was the case was SCOB. And THEY split the ice times so that there was very little chance someone who *truly* had no business being there was on the ice. You wanted to do ice dance, you got there EARLY for those ice times. If you wanted to do a freestyle or MITF session, you had to have your test level or you didn't get on that session, and for sessions open to the lower-level skaters (at least in freestyle), the skaters with the big jumps stayed off the ice.

    At other rinks with "mixed" sessions, there were maybe five or six people on the open sessions at most and we just watched out for each other. If someone, regardless of "elite" status or lack thereof, was on lesson or running through a program, you yielded, and if you were one of the stronger/faster skaters NOT in a lesson or running a program, you had a little more responsibility to look out for the beginners and not run them over, they had to learn rink ettiquette. But the assumption was newbies don't know as much as people who've been there a while.

    As for catty complaints about people without the 'right' clothes/equipment/hair/makeup, as Andy up there says, welcome to sports dominated by women and gay men. Hunters in horses is the same way--the JUDGES (ie people who matter) usually don't care if you're riding an off-breed horse in an old pancake saddle with a wool-blend coat and an IRH or Troxel without perfect 'hunter hair' as long as everything's clean and gets the job done. But God help you when the catty beyotches watching on the rail see you.

  16. #16

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    Here's what I experienced during my "club ice-time". In my skating club, we've got our "collective lesson" once a week according to our respective level and we've got the autorization to use the ice when we want when the ice is reserved for the club.

    For my part, I go skating to this ice rink every Tuesday, taking a 20" private lesson and then, skate for myself during an hour.

    This ice time is usually devoted to private lessons, and the most competitve skaters (12 y.o. - 15 y.o.) of the club are skating there.

    The first time, nobody talked to me and they gave me the impression that I was disturbing them...

    And, by Tuesdays, I became a kind of "Big Sista" to them, encouraging and cheering when needed, helping them to find the motivation to fight back when they're discouraged, etc...

    I'm a very low level skater of 42, but, with perseverance and kindness, they finally realize that, even if I'll never approach their actual level no matter how much I train, I was loving the sport -as they do- and training a lot in order to be better. And I think that's why I gain their respect : the love of ice and my willingness. Yes, when I fall, it sometimes hurts, as it hurt them. But I stand up, smile and continue to skate. As they do.

    And, additional bonus, I also gained the respect of their respective moms

    So, as you do with your skating, dont give up, practice, practice and... practice. Be kind, smiling and, normally, everything should be OK in a relatively short time lapse.

    ETA : for my part, during those sessions, I essentially practice my edges, three-turns and spins. And as I know they "need ice space", I train my crossovers at the all beginning of the session, at 12.00, when they've just arrived from school and are eating their lunch before entering the ice, so I'm alone to practice in good conditions, with all the space I need in order to let them practice their routines, etc. when they arrive on the ice, and I go back at the end of the rink, using the line to practice edges, etc... So they know exactly where I am and, with the time, I know their routines too, which means that I can anticipate their moving and move myself accordingly. They really appreciate that way of doing.

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    I guess I have a slightly different point of view. I think everyone should be watching out for each other and have a respectful view of every skater. I pay my $18.00/50 minutes to skate at Skating Club of Boston, and I do want to get my practicing done. I do try to stay out of the way of skaters in lessons, but I've also experienced the "I own the ice attitude" of some competitive skaters and coaches. I take care to be on the appropriate session (general), and I do feel the high level skaters should be on the "high test" sessions. I've experienced coaches working with their students in the corners and along the sidelines, the kids cutting right in front of me. It is a mixed dance/freestyle session, and dance patterns are around the perimeter of the ice, so it can get very difficult. I have skated at another rink with a gaggle of snippy teenagers and their coaches, and it was so unpleasant. Every rink has their own "culture" so I try to find the most comfortable fit for myself. Honestly, I sorta ignore the snippy skaters and concentrate on practicing.

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    The OP said that she's given dirty looks and her path is blocked, so it doesn't sound like she's the one disrupting traffic. It rather sounds like she's not accepted and the younger ones think she doesn't belong there.
    Question is, if it's simply a perception because she's new and doesn't know anyone yet and has to adjust.
    When I was skating in France (ice dance) and some of the younger competitive skaters were on the ice during out (rec sessions) we would be either called over to the boards when they did a run through or skated out of the way anyway once the music started playing. Otherwise, if someone did a run-through through their compulsory dance they would just yell if they saw that someone was going to be in their path.

    But I agree with whoever said to speak with the coach. They should know if any rules are broken and also they could observe the situation if they haven't notice. I think it's very hard to actually give advice or make a statement without being there and seeing what's going on. We all can just assume.

  19. #19
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    Is there someone at the rink that you like and respect? Maybe you could ask them to keep an eye on one of the sessions and let you know if they see you doing anything that is generally considered inappropriate such as inadvertently blocking others or not giving the right of way when you should. There may be certain "rules of the road" that aren't obvious.

    Or it could be that they're just cliquely, thoughtless people caught up in their own world and thoughts. It's often hard to fit into any new environment but usually you can find someone with simialar attitudes and you'll find your own friends.
    "The Devil is joining in, and that's never a good sign." Phil Liggett

  20. #20
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    Oh my ballet school was full of terrible little bun head snots (including me) who snickered at the adult ballet students and called them goons. They had their own classes so they weren't in our way in class at all. We just had a "why bother" attitude toward the adults who took ballet for fun or fitness. We were total snot head jerks. Pre-teens and teenagers can be just awful. I doubt that they are your best bet for social camaraderie at the rink.

    That said, if a company dancer showed up in our class, we gave them the right of way every time. Both out of respect and out of wanting to stand at the side and watch them so you'd try to go after them in the other group.
    I think I will have a snack and take a nap before I eat and go to sleep.

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