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Author Topic: Tossies at big skating competitions!  (Read 341 times)

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Offline Newicemom2016

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Tossies at big skating competitions!
« on: September 03, 2017, 07:31:13 AM »
I have not posted anything in a while!  Lots of things going on, in our family.  But everything is great as far as skating goes, she continues to progress very quickly, and loves it more than ever.  You guys can laugh at me, if you need to! :o ;D We are going to a big skating competition as a family to watch.  My daughter and I always watch all the big competitions on TV, but we have never seen one live.  She asked me last night: " Mommy do you think I could be one of the girls that pick up the stuffed animals, and things people throw, after the skater is done with their program?  I told her probably not.  Than she asked me, well when we get there can you ask? lol :laugh: She is only 9, but she is very innocent, simple minded, and naive for her age.  Now my question for you guys, who have been around a lot longer than I have, is that a possibility?  If so, who do I contact, how do I go about it?  Again you can laugh, because I am clueless, and just don't know.  If I don't ask I will not know.  It's better to ask here, and tell her she can't, and there is no chance, than to have her be disappointed, and not enjoy the beautiful event that my husband surprised her with 2nd row tickets on her bday.  Thank you again, for all your great input and help. :love: :WS:


(Mod note: Thread moved.)

Offline AgnesNitt

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Re: Tossies at big skating competitions!
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2017, 02:55:38 PM »
I believe they're selected from the local skating clubs of the area where the competition is held.
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Offline mamabear

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Re: Tossies at big skating competitions!
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2017, 11:41:10 AM »
I think that's a great question.  I don't know about the large competitions in general but we did have a few skaters from our club that picked up the tossies at Nationals last year.  There was a try-out process and you had to be able to meet certain criteria (tying your own skates in a set amount of time comes to mind) along with being at a certain skill level.  I'm going to get things confused because there were skaters doing tossie pick-up, skaters in the opening number and skaters presenting medals but in each case they had signed up online, participated in rehearsals/training and there was a cost involved which covered the dress that everyone wore. 

If it's a large competition, they may have a website that provides information for volunteers and I would look there first.

Offline dlbritton

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Re: Tossies at big skating competitions!
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2017, 09:47:41 PM »
When nationals were in Greensboro several years ago, they had try-outs and you had to be at a certain level, I am thinking it was Basic 4, but may have been higher. Plus there was an upper age limit, which was actually fairly low if I recall (pre-teen or early teen I believe).
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Offline FigureSpins

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Re: Tossies at big skating competitions!
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2017, 09:25:17 AM »
The "Sweepers" are skaters from local skating clubs and they don't choose skaters at random from the audience.  (Insurance restrictions alone prevent that from happening.) 

You have to be a member of a skating club and/or the local Learn to Skate USA program for two reasons: 1) insurance; 2) advance notice.  If you're going to an out-of-town competition, "Like" the hosting Club on Facebook and contact them if the competition's some time out.  If it's in your area, join the hosting Club to be on the mailing list.  (Join now - most clubs offer a "Learn to Skate USA" membership that's inexpensive.)  My Club hasn't hosted Sectionals or Nationals, but the neighboring clubs that did host invited our members to participate.  The rink's skating director informed the LTS group students.  I think the registration forms were online (pdf) and available on paper at the rink desk.

For Nationals, they have try-outs several months before the competition.  (Once, it was about 5 months prior, another time it was 8 months.)
For Sectionals, they just took anyone above a certain level with no audition.  There was a fee for the dress and vest.
For Adult Nationals, the auditions took place about 2 months before the event.  There was a dress code and skaters provided their own clothing.
Adult Sectionals doesn't typically have sweepers or tossies.

The age limits are ages 8-13.  (Older skaters can be "Slushers," who patch the toe jump divots - only at Sectionals or Adult Nationals. At Nationals, the arena provides ice maintenance.)

One audition form stated Freeskate 1 or higher skaters only, another didn't specify a level, but they tested for one-foot balance on edges, so assume Pre-Freeskate level at minimum. 

At the auditions, the skaters must demonstrate excellent skating skills (stroking, turning and stopping.)  They're expecting balance on one foot, ability to swizzle properly (bent knees, control, power) and part of the audition had them skate to a toy, scoop it up and continue down the the rink.  Another drill was to skate to the toy, stop completely and then pick up and skate away quickly. Speed mattered, too. Toe pushing and breaking at the waist were frowned upon.  Listening skills were also vital - they can't have a skater who doesn't listen. 

Be aware that hundreds of skaters try out for a handful of sweeper spots.

A lot of personality and smiles were the key to making the final rounds.
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Offline Query

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Re: Tossies at big skating competitions!
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2017, 11:18:51 AM »
Aw. :drama:

Do you suppose that the famous skaters keep all the stuffed animals thrown to them? If not, and the kid's favorite skater has a page where you can post questions, the original poster could always ask if their child could have one of the ones the skater decides not to keep...

Though maybe I'm being naive.


Offline FigureSpins

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Re: Tossies at big skating competitions!
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2017, 12:54:39 PM »
I thought of this thread today - someone was asking why a competition limited the sweeper roles to 14 and under.  Several people pointed out that there are more other volunteer opportunities for adults than kids, but the adult who asked really wanted to be seen as a skater.  You could tell who the parents were vs. the skaters on the FB discussion.  The parents didn't understand the distinction and kept emphasizing how they wouldn't want to take a spot from a kid who couldn't be an ice monitor or sweeper coordinator.  Interesting discussion.

Most of the stuffed animals are donated to children's hospitals.  I've seen photos from personal visits, where skaters have gone to hand out the toys to the patients.

If it's the US Nationals, they have a Fan Zone set up with vendor giveaway booths and an autograph spot with a few hand-picked celebrity skaters.  People can meet the skaters there, or (if they're not busy) they can approach them in the stands when they're not skating.  They also have the US Championship Cup on display with all the US Champs names engraved on the sides.
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Offline icedancer

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Re: Tossies at big skating competitions!
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2017, 01:16:12 PM »
I know that when we had Nationals here in Portland in 2005 a couple of adults got to be presenters which was great - they wore the same costumes as the kids except of course Adult-sized!

Those sweepers actually work really hard and sometimes difficult hours - it is also cold down by the rink - I know that I wouldn't want to do it with all of that bending over, skating hard back and forth, back and forth - it is exciting but maybe for 10 minutes!

I remember the tryouts for the kids included having to scoop things up from the ice of different sizes - most of the skaters were pretty good skaters IIRC.

The Adults just had to persist that they wanted to be there too -

I was assigned to a registration desk for practice ice - I remember freezing to death in a cold open doorway for 4 hours checking people in at 6 in the morning - BRRR

It was fun and you get to interact with a lot of skaters but you have to be discrete and professional about it.  I remember some people got kicked off the volunteer team for chasing down one of their favorites into a dressing room or restricted area - that sort of thing was not tolerated!

The next time I volunteered was for Skate America in 2010 - I was ice-monitor for the ice-dancers and the Ladies - that was fun and I can tell you that the Canadians were absolutely the most polite of all of the skaters!  It was cold as I remember and also you are standing for what seems like hours -

Offline Query

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Re: Tossies at big skating competitions!
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2017, 03:13:27 PM »
So it is impractical for the o.p.'s DD to COUNT on being a sweeper - they could go through all the hassle of having the girl join the sponsoring club (if that is enough - maybe it needs to be her HOME club, or they favor long-time members), trying out, and still not be accepted. It would be easier, if the purpose is to get her audience attention, to place her in an ice skating show run by your rink or club, or in that of another nearby rink or club. Most of them take all comers for shows.

However, if a parent doesn't let a child try anything at which she might fail, there is only so far the child can go in skating, or many other things in life. Maybe it is better to help her enjoy trying, even if she doesn't always succeed?

BTW, if you want to get low enough to touch the ice, I think it is easier on you back to bend your knees instead of bending at the waist or curling your back forward. Or go into a very deep crossover, which takes you into a deep outside lean and strongly bent skating knee (but completely straight leg pushed under) that places your upper body very close to the ice. You can do it in a way that the bent knee is directly under your upper body, so there is no risk of falling over/ In this position too you can touch the ice with your hand without curling your back forward and making your back sore.

But - are potential back pains even an issue for a typical 9 year old athletic child?

Online Jf12

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Re: Tossies at big skating competitions!
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2017, 03:59:09 PM »
So it is impractical for the o.p.'s DD to COUNT on being a sweeper - they could go through all the hassle of having the girl join the sponsoring club (if that is enough - maybe it needs to be her HOME club, or they favor long-time members), trying out, and still not be accepted. It would be easier, if the purpose is to get her audience attention, to place her in an ice skating show run by your rink or club, or in that of another nearby rink or club. Most of them take all comers for shows.

However, if a parent doesn't let a child try anything at which she might fail, there is only so far the child can go in skating, or many other things in life. Maybe it is better to help her enjoy trying, even if she doesn't always succeed?

BTW, if you want to get low enough to touch the ice, I think it is easier on you back to bend your knees instead of bending at the waist or curling your back forward. Or go into a very deep crossover, which takes you into a deep outside lean and strongly bent skating knee (but completely straight leg pushed under) that places your upper body very close to the ice. You can do it in a way that the bent knee is directly under your upper body, so there is no risk of falling over/ In this position too you can touch the ice with your hand without curling your back forward and making your back sore.

But - are potential back pains even an issue for a typical 9 year old athletic child?

None of those methods would work that well- the kids need to keep moving so they are skating and picking up at the same time.  There's no way you could change direction as quickly as you would need to with either of those methodologies.  I guess that's why they get children to do it and not adults!!!

Offline AgnesNitt

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Re: Tossies at big skating competitions!
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2017, 06:17:41 PM »
There's a thread over on Facebook about some adults wanting to be sweepers. That was just silly. I could see adults as sweepers at an adult comp, but not at nationals etc. Let the kids get the thrilll.
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Offline FigureSpins

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Re: Tossies at big skating competitions!
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2017, 08:21:59 PM »
That's the conversation I was talking about - while the discussion-starter said they felt it would promote adult skating, my initial take was that they really wanted others to watch him/her skate. 

I wonder if the advocates know that they can probably skate in the Opening Ceremonies, which would give them even more exposure?
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Online Jf12

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Re: Tossies at big skating competitions!
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2017, 08:31:20 PM »
Maybe that person should look into being a NHL ice girl/boy.. those are all adults, but you might have to wear a crop top   :D

Offline icedancer

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Re: Tossies at big skating competitions!
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2017, 02:10:25 PM »

I wonder if the advocates know that they can probably skate in the Opening Ceremonies, which would give them even more exposure?

Also in the Gala at the end of the competition - we had adult ice-dancers, a Special Olympics couple and various other local skaters in the first half before the competitors did their exhibitions!