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Thread: Looking back, was it worth it?

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    Looking back, was it worth it?

    For those who've been skating a while, are you glad you or your child made the commitment to figure skating that they did, particularly regarding the amount of training time required? Would you say it was worth it?

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    On the Ice Curlygirly81's Avatar
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    Looking back, was it worth it?

    Absolutely! It taught me great discipline and gave me a competitive edge. Ive very proud of my skating abilities...skating gives you a sense of accomplishment that you take into adulthood. Even though I've taken a few breaks.. I'm still figure skating in my late thirties bc it's my passion.

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    How are you defining worth it?

    I played cello for over a decade before college but didn’t continue and haven’t really touched it in years. Which considering my parents bought me my own cello, spent a small fortune for private lessons, drove me around the state to a demanding teacher who I hated... it seems like a waste. But I learned a lot from music lessons that go beyond playing an instrument. Learning to play cello was worth it even if I didn’t go on to play in college or become a professional musician.

    Skating is the same way. Yes there is a huge financial cost involved, yes it takes a lot of time but even if you skate for 5 years you still gain skills. (And let me tell you, being able to simply glide gracefully across the ice is impressive to people.) Skating is the rare sport that teaches you how to be productive on your own since most practice time isn’t spent in lessons. That’s a good skill to learn. And it’s enjoyable: is there anything better than a perfectly centered spin, a well landed jump, or just power stroking through freshly cleaned ice? But the question ultimately comes down to the individual and whether that they come away from skating outweighs the parts they dislike.

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    'I sing a tango that nobody ever sang and I dream' Ic3Rabbit's Avatar
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    I've been on skates since I was 3. 30 some years later and yes I am very glad that I pursued figure skating.

    There were many ups and downs and alot of financial stress involved with getting to the elite levels but it was all worth it. Figure skating teaches you many skills beyond those on the ice and for that I am also thankful.

    I've gotten to travel the world for competitions and shows, and experience cultures in a way you can't in a textbook, it also taught discipline and proper representation/pride for ones country.

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    I think you're going to have a sampling error with this question. I think that the people who are participating in a skating forum are going to feel like it was worth it. The others have already quit and aren't participating in a skating forum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VegMom View Post
    I think you're going to have a sampling error with this question. I think that the people who are participating in a skating forum are going to feel like it was worth it. The others have already quit and aren't participating in a skating forum.
    I quit and returned and I felt figure skating was a huge waste of money especially when I was little because of the investment my parents made vs the actual progress I made; figure skating's not that bad now because I pay way less money to train as an adult/collegiate skater. But I heard FS is like 4 times more expensive than the average youth sport so that money could have been spent on like 20 sports/year for 18 years.

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    I think the view may be different based on the individual's prospective. I think the skater will probably have a very different view from the bill payer/chauffeur.

    As the bill payer/chauffeur 10+years into it, I do question my sanity on allowing it to continue. On the very positive side, I can say that about everyone I have met through skating are super nice people.

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    IMHO, nothing (figure skating, piano, etc.) is "worth it" if the bill payer (usually parents) puts themselves into financial ruin by taking on excessive debt. Regardless of the child's abilities, it is important to plan for the future responsibly. We recently made the decision (along with other financial clean up, cost-cutting and budget re-jigging) to reduce significantly our skating expenses as we are not blessed with a limitless income.


    Is skating in some (reduced) capacity still "worth it"? Yes, I think so, but only as long as my child enjoys it. However, I don't feel that the thousands of dollars I spent were the best investment - we could have and should have limited the spending to more reasonable amounts more commensurate with our actual income levels.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SmallAminal View Post
    IMHO, nothing (figure skating, piano, etc.) is "worth it" if the bill payer (usually parents) puts themselves into financial ruin by taking on excessive debt. Regardless of the child's abilities, it is important to plan for the future responsibly. We recently made the decision (along with other financial clean up, cost-cutting and budget re-jigging) to reduce significantly our skating expenses as we are not blessed with a limitless income.


    Is skating in some (reduced) capacity still "worth it"? Yes, I think so, but only as long as my child enjoys it. However, I don't feel that the thousands of dollars I spent were the best investment - we could have and should have limited the spending to more reasonable amounts more commensurate with our actual income levels.
    I think this is also going to change based on where you are in life for perspective. Did your child go on to use their figure skating skills to work on a skating tour and see the world? Did they supplement their college income by being able to coach LTS or Basic skills? There's a young man in our club who is currently back to back on skating tours taking him to South America and Germany as well as many states. It was definitely worth it for him. We have a few girls in college able to supplement their income in college with LTS and Basic Skills coaching, which is definitely helping them. My coach is making a full time living from coaching that was initiated by her parents putting her in lessons at a young age. Conversely, if they get to the teenage years and drop skating entirely, it might sour your view on what you spent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nimyue View Post
    I think this is also going to change based on where you are in life for perspective. Did your child go on to use their figure skating skills to work on a skating tour and see the world? Did they supplement their college income by being able to coach LTS or Basic skills? There's a young man in our club who is currently back to back on skating tours taking him to South America and Germany as well as many states. It was definitely worth it for him. We have a few girls in college able to supplement their income in college with LTS and Basic Skills coaching, which is definitely helping them. My coach is making a full time living from coaching that was initiated by her parents putting her in lessons at a young age. Conversely, if they get to the teenage years and drop skating entirely, it might sour your view on what you spent.
    I still won't believe that the thousands I invested in skating (instead of investing in my retirement) are worth it, even if my child ends up gainfully employed by it or goes to the Olympics UNLESS that income somehow comes back to me to support my retirement needs. I'm not saying that I would not have invested any of it, but I would have spent a more reasonable amount to allow their continued enjoyment and progression. I don't want to work until I die and I want to make sure I don't become a financial burden to my family when I'm older. However, I think there is a lot that my child has gotten out of skating, I just don't think I needed to spend as much money to get the core benefits out of it,

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    'I sing a tango that nobody ever sang and I dream' Ic3Rabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nimyue View Post
    I think this is also going to change based on where you are in life for perspective. Did your child go on to use their figure skating skills to work on a skating tour and see the world? Did they supplement their college income by being able to coach LTS or Basic skills? There's a young man in our club who is currently back to back on skating tours taking him to South America and Germany as well as many states. It was definitely worth it for him. We have a few girls in college able to supplement their income in college with LTS and Basic Skills coaching, which is definitely helping them. My coach is making a full time living from coaching that was initiated by her parents putting her in lessons at a young age. Conversely, if they get to the teenage years and drop skating entirely, it might sour your view on what you spent.
    Thank you for being someone that understands.

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    I could not take lessons regularly until my late teens when I had a steady job. My mother thought skating lessons would be a big waste of money. She didn't really like me going to the rink with my friends either.
    My aunt used to say to her, "If it keeps her off the streets and out of trouble, it's worth the money."

    Skating mirrors life experiences. One example: The disappointment of not medaling in a competition is similar to the disappointment of not getting a job you covet. But you learn how to deal with these disappointments and work harder to reach a goal. Then you learn not all goals are attainable!

    So I do think skating is worth it for however long a child wants to pursue the sport. The most common age range I saw the younger skaters leave the sport was between ages 16 -18, if they had not placed in regional competition or ever made it to Nationals. That was usually the age when they started college or decided on another career. Of those I've heard about after they left training, some have very good professions not related to skating and others have had long careers skating in shows.

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    Definitely worth it.

    As has been said, I think you'll often hear a very different story from the skater and the parent. And don't forget, there are also the ones whose parents couldn't/wouldn't make much of a time or financial commitment and will forever wonder what could have been if they had.

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    My concern is less about the money and more about the time.

    To be a really good figure skater, one has to forfeit alot of other opportunities. You wonder about those lost opportunities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by concorde View Post
    My concern is less about the money and more about the time.

    To be a really good figure skater, one has to forfeit alot of other opportunities. You wonder about those lost opportunities.
    But that's with anything. Any choice means an opportunity lost. To quote Sylvia Plath:

    I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    But that's with anything. Any choice means an opportunity lost.
    Exactly! And that is why alot depends on your point of view. I view my skater's lost opportunities differently from how my skater views them.

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