Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Invisible Male Skater

My rink has about 7 adult men who skate on publics in black figure skates. Let me put this bluntly, men in their own figure skates out number men in their own hockey skates regularly, sometimes by as much as 4 to 1 on publics. I've been on the ice when the male figure skaters outnumbered the women figure skaters!

I call these men the Invisible Male Figure Skaters. None of the coaches teach them, and yet I think they really influence the younger boy skaters on the rink just by being there. Boys go to the rink for public and like to skate, and there's a grown man, or two or three or four in figure skates.  And their dads see our male figure skaters out there to. And these are all convivial male skaters willing to help or give a few tips to other skaters, including dads with their kids on the ice for the first time.  They're kind of like skating ambassadors.

I  Boys in LTS and who want to do spins and jumps can always say "I want to skate like Mr. X." And even if they never articulate this, black boots on grown men is something they've seen. Men doing spins, and spirals, and jumps are something they've seen too. That's more exciting than the forwards and backwards of hockey.

I think we've had an increase in the number little boys in figure skates on the ice in the last few years. I don't see them all the time but there's 3 or 4 little regulars on public, including one in junior high who just started learning to figure skate (working on back spins). Then there's 4 or 5  guys on freestyle who I seldom see. 

I can't prove it, but I have a theory. Our male figure skaters are like invisible role models to people who never see men in figure skates outside the Olympics. Boys who want to figure skate now have someone they can point to, and someone their dads can meet to talk about figure skating for men. It helps make men's figure skating less unfamiliar when there's someone you know who can tell you about it.

It's a kind of trope that figure skating is a 'girl's sport', but not at my rink! 

Thank you Mr. Invisible Male Figure Skaters for making our rink boy friendly! 


  1. We had quite a few session where men/boys outnumbered the ladies/girls.

    And we have more male coaches than female. I always wondered if that was typical or not.

  2. Our rink has some pretty awesome male skaters, too. I think they inspire both the boys and girls!