Friday, September 3, 2010

Hair - A Question from Ice Mom

I'm interjecting my regularly scheduled program (of Transitions) for a couple questions from the famous IceMom. This is mostly because I liked her questions, and my transitions binder is in my car - since I live in an apartment, I don't want to walk downstairs to get it :D IceMom asks some great questions and I wanted to answer them. I've divided them into a couple posts - the first starting with "hair."

I need to put in a warning though. I am young. I've been a skater my whole life. I "get" it...or at least I hope I'm still young enough to get it. I know how kids are and I know that some things are cooler than others. That being said - I am not an OLD judge. I am not a 100 years old and I don't have my ways set in stone. I can assure you that if your judge IS 100 years old, has been judging since...well, the ice age...then he will have different opinions then me. Often just the opposite. Keep that in mind.
HAIRDo pink streaks turn judges off? How about a 9-year-old's hair-cutting mistake?  What about ponytails versus buns?

I know that real life happens. I know the teenagers will rebel and die their hair pink. I know that 9-year-olds give themselves haircuts. Mistakes happen. And this is especially something that is personal opinion...I don't really care. Note that I am a person, not some sort of robot - and if you're hair has a pink streak in it, I might think "cool" and/or I might think "that looks terrible." Am I going to take off marks and place you last? Not likely.

But, as I guess the name might suggest (:D), I will judge you. It's human nature and I can't help it. I'm just old enough to think dying your hair strange colors is a sign of rebellion. It's off the beaten path. I KNOW it's not always, but when I see it - I'm going to think, "Man, that kid has an attitude, I bet." I also might think, if you skate badly, "That kid isn't disciplined, as her hair might suggest." If you skate well though, I'll think "That funny colored hair gives her that attitude boost she needs in skating." If your dress and your hair clash, I won't take off marks, but I will most definitely laugh in my head. I'm human.

As for a 9-year-old's hair cutting mistake, I'm sure the mom will do whatever she can to hide the bald spot, etc. And that's life. Again, I might laugh - and I'll probably think, "poor mom", but it's not going to affect your score. However, I probably will note it on my little sheet, especially on 6.0, simply because it helps me remember you...and because 6.0 is a system that judges you one against the other, it will help me remember.

I'm big on ponytails versus buns. That's an important aspect of figure skating - presentation. It IS about how you look. Again, I'm not going to put you last because you're wearing a messy ponytail, but it really doesn't add to your appearance. If you don't look confident and proud, a) you probably won't skate that way and b) if you do manage to skate well and another girl skates similarly and looks better, even if it is subconscious, she'll probably place over you. Why? She looks the part. I know it doesn't sound fair, but that's the way figure skating is. If you don't like it, you're in the wrong sport. Yes, skating is athletic, but it is also pretty and artistic. 
So which do I prefer? I prefer a neat and tidy bun with a scrunchy or matching hair piece. With gel. I hate seeing whispies flying all over the place. It's a personal thing, but in my opinion it looks like you didn't take the time of day to prepare yourself and look the part. If you don't care, why should I care? And yes. I know the pain of whispies. I have curly hair. It has been a painful, mucky skating career for me ;)

If you're not going to have a bun, please don't have a floppy ponytail with clips everywhere and bangs flopping in your face. Again, it's your choice, but it truly looks like you don't give a care - it looks like you rolled out of bed and showed up at a competition. If I have to get up and look nice, wear dress clothes, and groom myself appropriately, then you do too. If you don't care, why should I care?

I also really like creative, cute hairstyles. I'm not going to lie. They stand out. I can tell you about a girl I've judged at a competition in a little pre-preliminary event three or four times. Her hair ROCKS. It's in double french braids twisted into the side in a bun. There is ribbon weaved in. And I marvel every single time about how perfect her hair looks. Every time. Does it help her placement? Not necessarily. Did I consider her hair in her mark? Nope. Absolutely no relation. But does she look awesome? Yep. Do I remember her? Yep. Might that help her in the future? It could. Oh, and if you have a ponytail and you've curled it or done something cute, I notice that. I like that too.

And when using 6.0 for judging the younger kids - I'm going to write something down to remember you by. A floppy ponytail is not a good thing to be remembered the 20 seconds I have to compare you to the last 12 skaters, I can't read over every note I've written on every skater - but if I see floppy ponytail it'll probably be associated with a negative though. Just telling you the truth!!

So in summary? No, you're not going to come last because you have pink hair in a floppy ponytail. You're not always going to skate better because you look good - but my thought has always been look good, feel good, skate good. I think my biggest example of hair in the competitive world is Joannie Rochette versus Mira Leung. I'll admit off the bat that I am Canadian and a big Joannie fan, but I know you'll agree with me.

Who looks like the confident, strong Olympic bronze medalist? Who looks like the nearly-retired forgotten Olympian? 

That's what I thought. You can't possibly disagree.
Appearance doesn't make the skater...but sometimes it breaks them.


Anonymous said...

100% with you on this. My daughter, 10, likes to skate with bun all the time. She has very long hair. Ponytail just getting in her face in spins and jumps. With bun on she looks so much ready to skate. Great blog. Can't wait to read more.

Deb Chitwood said...

Great post! A nice hairstyle adds to my enjoyment (as an audience member) of a skater's performance as well.

I LOVE your new blog. It's a great addition to the blogosphere! How wonderful for parents to have a source of honest and objective posts on what a judge thinks!