Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Grumpy High Level Coach Update

We have a Russian coach at my rink who is a high level coach. He's visited by up and coming skaters for a session or two about their technique or their program. Once (long ago) I heard Viktor Petrenko came to the rink to consult with him. So, very respected, very, very high level, and....a classic Russian frowny face.
Grumpy Coach as affected by
the horror of my skating
Anyway, he's my age or slightly older, and when I first skated past him leaning against the boards while he waited for his student, I put on my chipper face and said, "Good morning."  I mean, it was a reflex. I'm an old woman, he's an old guy. Something in my genetic code kicks in: Be nice to people your age.

He muttered something in Russian at me, and (I may be wrong) I don't think it was "Good Morning." Or anything even close to it. Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's the fact that I'm a perennial basic skills skater and my technique is so appalling that it offends the purity of his vision of figure skating.

In two other freestyles as I passed him the first time I'd reflexively say, "Good morning." Let me say, his response was not welcoming. After that, I quit.

Then shortly before I went to Lake Placid I was lap skating and thinking about my work. My expression looked like this.....
"The Glare"
I was absolutely focused on my skating, not thinking about anything but my skating, and I passed Grumpy Coach.

Without thought, I grunted, "Good morning."

Suddenly, a big smile crossed his face. "Good morning!" he boomed cheerily.


  1. If you want to cheer him up even more, dobrah oohtrom is "good morning" in Russian. :)

  2. Okay, he's just "cray-cray" (crazy). Either that, or misery loves company. You keep on doing what you do.

  3. Your blog makes me smile all of the time. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I think I can explain why the "grumpy coach" suddenly became much more friendly because I have to admit I do the same thing at the rink. When a skater (doesn't matter about their age) seems focused on their work, I really enjoy seeing that and it allows me to let out the more friendly part of me. Coaches and skaters are at the rink to do a job--true, I love my job but skaters/parents pay the coach to do their job which is instructing. Like Skatecat, I suggest that you continue to say hello but don't take it personally if he responds only with a head nod or noise.