So my daughter is a junior figure skater with TFSC, or Timberline Figure Skating Club. She’s passed Basic 8 level with the USFS Association and is now in Freestyle 1. She can do a double waltz jump but the scratch spin is the new bane of her existence. She’s graduated to the performing line in the annual ice show (St Patrick’s Day, 3/17/12, at Greenheck Field House) and the competitive synchro team — synchronized skating — although they haven’t competed in anything yet. She skates every Saturday morning and Sunday evening. There are times I have to go outside to warm up. Well, not NOW of course, it IS January in central Wisconsin!
Anyone wanting to get your little darling into this sport, let me break down the costs in real-life figures:
Group Lessons = 6 weeks for $75 (not including $15 annual membership to NATIONAL organization), 55 minutes
Synchro Lessons = $200/year (goes HIGHER in a competition year, with gas, travel, hotels, meals & competition fees)
Private Lessons = $20-$35/hour (and UP)
Costumes = $60/apiece (and UP) we joke about “a $ a sequin” which isn’t funny but might be true…
Flesh-colored body suits (extra insulation beneath a revealing outer costume) = $30-45/apiece
Mondors (those funny flesh-colored tights that go OVER the boots) = $20/pair (buy needle & flesh-colored thread to sew up the little holes in the practice pairs – keep one pair IN THE BAG until 2 seconds before a public performance and MAYBE they’ll stay intact until the music stops!)
Skates = $80 & up (used) and $150 & up (new) Another skating mom who’s daughter competed in the big leagues told me she once bought a pair of BOOTS for $1200 and they DIDN’T come with blades, she had to buy those separately. The guy at Goal Line and I had a huge argument about Tami’s newest pair of new skates. He was trying to convince me to buy the $350.00 top-of-the-line Jacksons on my middle-of-the-road $150.00 budget. He tried to convince me I was hampering my daughter’s progress. I wasn’t buying it. When she’s ready for Badger State Games and the Regionals, I’ll splurge on more expensive eqiupment. For now, on a weekend skater, we compromise. My family still has to eat.
Skate sharpening = $10-$15/pair each time
“Punching” (the act of expanding a specific spot on a skate that’s too tight, invaluable when you’re trying to eek a couple more weeks out of a pair your growing daughter is outgrowing) = $5/spot
Miscellaneous expenses = gloves, hair scrunchies, hair spray (to remove static cling from gauze & mesh parts of costumes), glitter spray/gel, makeup, sewing kit, scissors, first aid kit, flesh-colored tape (to cover itchy parts of inside costume), extra boot laces, long thin socks to wear under skates, cosmetic pads to cover blister-prone spots (they also make this gel-lined ankle wrap to cushion sore spots also)
Things to consider that the DON’T tell you:
Communication is important – like sending an email if something gets cancelled so you don’t drive all the way somewhere for nothing!
If there’s an ice scheduling conflict between figure skaters and hockey players, the figure skaters lose and you go home (at least in MY town, hockey is king)
Carpooling & hotel roommates are strongly encouraged by the real moms
Competition is only good when the girls are READY – no one wants to look stupid and come in dead last. It’s okay to skip a year or a competition. It’s okay to never compete at all. Progression and friendships are more important than medals. Let your daughter lead the way, don’t push her. Anyone see Dance Moms??? I do NOT want to ever be THAT MOM…
It should be about athletic achienvement and artistry and encouragement. Something to look forward to. If it becomes a chore, if it becomes about winning and beating everyone else, you might want to reevaluate things. These girls don’t just skate together, they go to school together, run into each other at the mall. You want them to bond, to go to the movies together, to have parties and sleepovers together. They’re still little girls growing up, worried about when to wear makeup and jewelry, picking out the right clothes, talking to the wrong boy. They have homework and projects and siblings and family stuff going on. They don’t need more pressure. Skating should be affirming and a challenge but never an obstacle.
Anyone with a kid in extracirricular sports, insert yours here and do an evaluation of cost, benefits and priorities. It’s not cheap. Do as much as you can, but remember that balance is the key. Don’t go overboard. You want your kids to have fond memories.