May 21, 2011

Apathy: Ice Show Day 2

I get involved. You may have noticed this. I like to "fix" things. (Beware of people who like to fix things.) Therefore, I get extremely stressed out at things like underprepared ice shows featuring 135 small children and their nervous, overprotective parents.

My friends took me in hand yesterday and told me we were going to work on my apathy. St. Lidwina brought me liquor. (No, I didn't drink it. It's a mini-bar sized Dewar's, and it's sitting on my desk, reminding me to chill.) Skating Director supplied chocolate. My two coach buddies wouldn't let me exit my assigned area.

Went great. I had a good time, didn't end up in tears, everyone skated, other people had the freak outs.

What I always feel at ice shows is that if the coaches and volunteers mess up, the kids suffer, which isn't fair. It's not their fault that moms stick their noses in where they don't belong. It's not their fault that a coach is AWOL from a critical post. It's not their fault that the coaches only get minimum wage for doing this. Frankly, I wish parents knew this and would express their outrage to the city that their children are being entrusted to people who are not being paid enough, but this is not a fight that I can wage, let alone win (I've tried).

But while a single individual in a critical role can have a very negative effect on the entire effort, another single individual cannot fix it.

So last night it wasn't so much that I didn't care, as that I didn't step in. I still care. I just need to remember that I can't fix it by myself.


  1. The word you're looking for isn't Apathy, it's Acceptance. Acceptance that things are not always perfect, or precisely how we want them or think they should be. In the real world, obstacles like budget and time and skill get in the way of our ideals of absolute perfection. This is true for every show, anywhere, happening all over the world, right now. Real people, real performers, real troupers shake off the shit and keep going, with the audience never even knowing that a cue was off, or someone's prop was gone, or what have you. Bottom line, this is a pagaent situation. Any kid who ever hopes to have any future in competitive skating needs to learn to suffer the shit and shine all the same. Pre-Alpha girls with the funky number, to the Olympic Hopeful wearing glorified pajamas, this is the stuff mettle is made of. Anyone who can't take it needs to get out now, because I'm willing to bet that it only gets worse from here.

    Apathy? No volunteer is Apathetic. They are Passionate. The trick is to align your passion with reality. Godspeed.

  2. I get apathetic at my job. I think most people do at one time or another. For me, it's when I feel like nothing is working and I'm not making any difference or having any impact on what I'm doing (I work in admin).

    But you make a huge difference to dozens of kids every day. As long as the kids are smiling, you did a brilliant job! And if they're not smiling right that second, they and their parents will smile about it in the days, weeks, months and years to come.