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Jennifer Kirk's blog: "... skating taught me far more than winning and losing"

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Sylvia, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    Exactly. This is a general statement. She doesn't name names, just explains the dynamic that I would imagine is common.
  2. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    I think she hits the nail on the head with regards skater relationships with coaches. I have seen so many skaters stay with coaches out of loyalty and obligation rather than the skater truly benefitting out of what the coach is giving them. And sometimes these relationships can be quite disfunctional. It is not just about top level skaters but what I have seen at my local rink.
  3. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

    Loved the article. I wish more former competitors felt comfortable discussing their careers--demons and all.
  4. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

    Welcome back to blogging, Jenny! :encore:
  5. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    Interesting comment from Ricky Dornbush on her piece. He has a good point about learning to work for oneself instead of pleasing the coach. But some of us, I suspect, are the type who are always going to want to please the coach, or the teacher, or the boss. When you're built that way, it's hard to change. I can understand where Jenny was coming from and how devastating it must have been.

    Also, remembering what a strong relationship Paul Wylie had with the Scotvolds, I wonder if Evy was just better at coaching male skaters than female ones?
  6. Yazmeen

    Yazmeen Well-Known Member

    Gee, was Paul put up on the scale and weighed like Nancy and Jennifer, or did Evy just do that to humiliate his female students into staying thin (and I'm being serious here, not sarcastic, I do wonder about that)?

    That entry was presented very beautifully, and fairly, it was certainly not "Evy was a monster" and Jenny and angel. Again, very glad to have her back blogging. I also enjoyed former US competitor Eve Chalom's comments to this blog entry.
  7. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    That is a good question.
  8. taf2002

    taf2002 zexy demon

    I'm not sure I understand your reasoning. If a coach is giving their skaters good experiences & not abusing them, then parents will not intervene & take the skater away from the coach. But I don't see the harm in making parents wary & watchful.
  9. DickButtonFan

    DickButtonFan New Member

    It doesn't even make logical sense to refuse a skater to go on the ice if they aren't a certain weight. How are they going to lose any weight then? And I would like to know if Paul was weighted in too.
  10. NancyNC

    NancyNC Well-Known Member

    How? By developing an eating disorder? Or by running for hours on the beach until they have blisters so painful that they have to use ice to numb them before they can wear their skates? Those are just two things that Jenny mentions in the article.
  11. kirkbiggestfan

    kirkbiggestfan Well-Known Member

    Yes, males were weighted too. No discrimination in that department. :lol:
  12. mgobluegirl

    mgobluegirl Well-Known Member

    I didn't mean that parents shouldn't be on the lookout for abuse or unhealthy relationships, I was just saying that I wouldn't want parents to view this experience as the norm. It would be so easy to read this as a new parent in the sport and decide it's a good reason not to pursue skating further. Of course, parents should always be looking out for the best interest of their child (and I'm appalled that the weigh-ins occurred in front of the parents and the parents were ok with this).
  13. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

    Oh, books like Little Girls in Pretty Boxes didn't stop girls from taking up gymnastics. I doubt something a lot more balanced, like Jenny's blog, would do that for skating.
  14. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Anyone can tell a new parent to the sport anything and they will believe it. I get so many questions from parents who have been feed crap from other parents and coaches. People love to prey on their inexperience and lack of knowledge.
  15. UGG

    UGG Well-Known Member

    She used Michelle as an example in her blog instead of Sasha so her blog would get more hits DUH.


    totally kidding. ;)
  16. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

    It doesn't stop with competitive skating, either.

    Didn't touring shows like Ice Capades and Disney on Ice back in the 1980s have weigh - ins for their athletes? I believe reading somewhere that Rosalynn Sumners and Tai Babilonia were fined with pink slips for being over the weight set for them.
  17. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Disney still does have weigh ins. One of the reasons that quite a few of the skaters in those shows smoke.
  18. demetriosj

    demetriosj Well-Known Member

    Evy was such a jerk! That was definitely an abusive relationship. Shame on him. Horrible that an adult would treat a child like that (and be getting paid for it).
  19. muffinbiscuit

    muffinbiscuit Active Member

    Jenny left the Scotvalds to go to another coach known for abusive relationships, Richard Callaghan. How ironic.
  20. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

    Most coaches in most sports are like this, and it's only with the increased participation of girls in sports that the abuse word is throw around. When sports were sexist and all boys, they were just told to take it. Evy himself has tried to justify his behavior by excusing his upbringing with a hockey coach dad.

    Evy always threw his skaters under the bus to the press, but he had a added reason for abusing Jenny in the press: her exit virtually herald the end of his career. Like robin years later, the scotvolds needed a new champion to prove that Paul/nancy and Sarah weren't flukes. And when they left, both coaches were quick to trash them so everyone would know "it's them, not me! Please, please send your kids to me!"
  21. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    I'm not an athletic type at all -- actually, I'm a confirmed couch potato -- but just looking on, it seems to me that sports are such a mix of healthy and unhealthy practices. In my more cynical moments, I wonder if there are any coaches who know how to separate the two.
  22. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate Well-Known Member

    Disney doesn't typically do weigh ins anymore - they do a whole 3d computer body mapping and adjust the costumes accordingly. For every character in the parks they do it every 3 months. I would guess because the DOI costumes are so much more fitted it would be done more often?
  23. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    I think that there is a very fine line between motivating properly/preparing someone to face tough competition, and abuse', particularly at the elite/championship level.
  24. UGG

    UGG Well-Known Member

    That latest blog was twisted. It must be so therapeutic for Jenny to get all of this out. I am glad she got out of skating. Her coach screwed with her mind. No championship is worth the emotional suffering she experienced. How very very sad.
  25. viennese

    viennese Well-Known Member

    Me, too - she's an insightful writer, about sports, athlete psychology, coach-student relationships. And she's doing well at viewing her career with some distance and maturity.

    Re: Mr. Scotvold's public weigh-ins. Ugh. This is an old school coaching technique - yet it's not uncommon, even today.

    Yes, it is necessary for trainers and coaches to track a young athlete's growth and weight - but more important to look at muscle mass and good nutrition and not get young athletes (or anyone) focused on the number on the scale.

    Way too easy to equate, in a worried athlete's mind, quick fixes (fasting, crash dieting) with quick weight loss of a pound or two to ease anxiety -- or get praise from others.
  26. jlai

    jlai Title-less

    That is the kind of thing I worried about when this blog entry came out -- people take up Jenny's side of the story against the coach.

    I always remind myself I ama human and I also have moments in life that would rather not be judged by strangers. :(
  27. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    ^^ Ah, but Jenny beautifully expressed all sides of the story, jlai, not just her own. And some posters who commented on her blog on her site felt she bent over backwards too far feeling she was wrong in not calling Evy, in spite of his betrayal and the emotional abuse she suffered. Calling him would probably have ironically been a healing thing for her to do at the time (but in most human relationships, what a hard thing it is to be able to immediately forgive someone and externally consider, instead of internally considering our own pride and painful hurt). Jenny was young and deeply attached to her coach and her skating, so she should not be hard on herself about not being able to call Evy, nor for having made in that stressful moment of his betrayal the personal declaration that she would never speak to him again.

    Going through the experience, surviving it and being able to share it now is the important thing, IMO. It is also amazing and wonderful that Jenny was indeed able to make and stick to her decision to move on. Wow, I do remember having heard back then that Jenny was leaving the Scotvolds and moving to Michigan to "follow a boyfriend." A great example of how little we know about what really goes on behind the scenes. Jenny's blog about this roller coaster coaching relationship reminds me of Lucinda Ruh's Frozen Teardrop confessions. Just as Lucinda forgave her mother, Jenny, after a long journey through heartache, self-discovery and triumph, has obviously forgiven her former coach.

    Jenny has a wonderful gift for writing, and she was a lovely skater to watch too! Thank you, Jenny ...

    This program is very memorable and still makes me smile:

  28. UGG

    UGG Well-Known Member

    On the other side of the fence, Jenny was judged by many when her coach went behind her back and told a tabloid that she left to follow a boyfriend.

    The blog, IMO, is so detailed that I cannot believe anything other than these are Jenny's true feelings. Unless she has some wild imagination, I could not see her making any of this up. It is not like other blogs that I have read which were very straight forward with no element of emotion.

    I know there are two sides to every story but I really think jenny is being honest.
  29. jlai

    jlai Title-less

    I didnt say Jenny isnt honest. I merely think many readers have a tendency to side with narrators and get judgemental on others from the perspective of thenarrator-- I dont think it is fair, the same way I
    Would rather not have someone pass judgement on me based on one person, even though she is honest about her dealings with me

    Anyway I dont think I should pass judgment on Jenny based on what tabloids said either. I wish the two had this converaation face to face instead of through the print
  30. demetriosj

    demetriosj Well-Known Member

    So if you're not saying she's lying, than you're saying she is telling the truth, so what's the problem? She's supposed to cover up this abuse? It's probably good for other young skaters to see that this is not normal or acceptable behavior for an adult.