The politics of ice-skating.

The youngest daughter goes ice-skating and she really loves it. Whether she’ll become a world champion is open to some doubt of course, but she’s been having lessons three times a week and making progress.

Her coach is Galina Pachin, who is an international world class skater. To see a couple of the stars Galina coaches, look up Joanne Carter and Bradley Santer. Anyway, Galina coaches and the daughter skates at the Sydney Ice Arena… or at least she did until tonight.

The daughter went for her lesson at the usual time, but when we arrived to collect her we discovered that virtually out of the blue, the management at the rink had effectively sacked Galina with immediate effect! We knew that she and the managers hadn’t been seeing eye to eye for some time, not least because of the decision to cancel all early morning figure skating sessions forcing Galina to try to wedge all her pupils into whatever slots she had available which caused a lot of people a lot of stress… those people being the coach, the pupils and the parents!!

My opinion is that the managers have been incredibly unreasonable and have deliberately engineered this ‘crisis’ for reasons I’m not privy to, but I think it has a lot to do with Galina’s refusal to to allow herself to be treated either as a child or as a ‘staff member’ She runs *her own* coaching business at the rink and *pays them* for the use of their facilities. It shouldn’t be for them to dictate how she runs her own business!

Anyway, I can’t claim to have inside knowledge about exactly *why* tonight was the night the management decided Galina was no longer welcome to coach at the rink but I know what the fall out is for us… and that is chaos.

We decided long ago that changing coaches isn’t something to undertake lightly. Coach and pupil share a relationship which develops and matures thru years of close interaction so we have already decided to attempt to follow Galina to wherever the nearest rink is… if possible.

The nearest rink to us is Macquarie Ice Rink which is a short drive down the M2 motorway. On a good day it should take us 40 – 60 mins or so to get there and park so is substantially further away than the Ice Arena. The question that comes to mind of course is what happens on a *bad* day… and this is where it gets complicated.

In the mornings the M2 driving ‘east’ is a parking lot from 6:30 a.m. onwards. This would mean that to get the daughter to the rink, we’d need to be on the road at 5:30 a.m. *latest*. Well of this is a possibility and if we have to do it, we have to do it, but it would be hard to say the least.

Driving back wouldn’t be so hard because we’d be travelling against the morning flow, but even so we’d have the extra petrol *and* extra tolls to pay and neither are cheap!

Other rinks that are ‘available’ and not so far away are Canterbury Olympic Ice Rink which, truth be told, is a bit of a dive but is filled with enthusiastic figure skaters. This rink *really* cares about it’s skaters! Another rink not too far away is the Liverpool Catholic Club Ice Rink. I’ve never been there but have been told it is *very* well presented and pretty cheap to access… tho of course there is considerable travel time from here and more tolls to be considered.

The upshot is that currently, tho we’ve told Galina we’ll be staying with her if she can fit us into her new schedules, it isn’t going to be easy and may require attending two or more differing clubs in order to be able to meet the training regime the daughter is on.

Times will be tough until we can sort this out. I wonder if this is the jinx at work again?? 😀


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