By Joanne Vassallo Jamrosz
For coaches and skaters, days on the ice are long. For coaches, hours are spent teaching the finer skills of jumps and spins. For skaters, it's time to listen to coaches' advice and master those skills.
Jamie Santee remembers her on-ice coaching days. She also recalled that despite the intense lessons, plenty of things made her smile.
So in 2012, Santee began a page for coaches to document fun on-ice interactions between themselves and their skaters. So began "A Coaches Chuckle-For-The-Day."
"I knew through my experience working with children that fun interactions would happen on any given day. I wanted to document and remember all of it, and I was pretty sure I wasn't the only one with stories to tell, so I decided to create a space for each of us to share and enjoy more of these precious moments."
The page on Facebook now includes 965 members sharing stories about their skaters saying the funniest things.
For Santee, many great laughs have been shared, but some stories especially stood out.
One coach teaching spins offered small prizes for her skaters if they could get their spins as low as their coach's.
"As she explained this, her student interrupted with, "will you get me a puppy?" Santee said.
Or the coach who was teaching her two skaters the Cha Cha.
"She told one of them to add Salsa to the dance and the other asked, can I be the chip?"
Another shared a Basic 4 class experience telling her students their spirals needed to be happy bananas instead of sad bananas.
"One of the kiddos said "well, I wouldn't be happy if I was a banana because someone is getting ready to eat me, and that would make me sad," Santee said.
The page created a way to share these fun interactions, and for coaches to connect with each other.
"No matter what rink we teach in, chances are that we have at least two things in common, we love kids and we love skating."
"Kids are awesome," Santee said. "Sometimes their honesty can make you think, whoa, but I love that they sure keep you on your toes. If you want to stay young forever, surround yourself with youth. Don't take life too seriously, and find a job you enjoy. Make all that happen daily in a giant box as an extra bonus."
She also believes the page works because it's a simple way to bring people together to share a laugh or two.
"What better way than through real-life storytelling," Santee said. "Sometimes life can get you down, and a good old chuckle can make everything ok again."