One of the high-level skaters at our rink is preparing for an upcoming freestyle skating test. If she passes, she earns the right to compete as a Junior in this qualifying season. If not, she stays at the highly respectable Novice level, which still culminates in competition at U.S. Senior Nationals.
This particular skater is unusually self-aware for a teenager. In general, this Momzilla believes self-awareness to be a good thing, as it makes for an interesting and thoughtful individual. However, self-awareness can also breed a somewhat neurotic athlete.
[Note: The preceding statement should not be taken to imply that all figure skaters do not possess some basic level of neurosis. Because they do.]
This particular skater's Momzilla hails from the quietly supportive branch of the species. Momzilla is present at tests and competitions, and is keenly interested in the goings-on of her child's training regimen. However, she fails on the pushy front. And herein lies the issue.
This morning, the charming young skater reported that her Momzilla offered her an "out" to her upcoming test, a stressful event to be certain. Apparently, Momzilla laid out the option to avoid competing in this qualifying season, if the skater chooses. According to the lessons learned from Joe Mantegna's turn as a chess Dadthra in Searching for Bobby Fisher, this is the proper parenting thing to do. As parents, even Momzillas must strive and strain to maintain balance for our children so that life retains an equilibrium with competitive sports holding a place in check with other aspects of growth and development.
But the real question here is: WWMD?
A true Momzilla, of course, would offer no such option. A passed test is the gateway to elite competition and new challenges. A failed test leads to the inevitable purchase of a new competition outfit to outdo the other skaters at the lower level, thus boosting Momzilla's self-fulfilling role in the young skater's efforts at a chance for competitive glory.
So what is the balance? Does this intellectual young skater need Mom or Momzilla? We know that too much of a Zilla thing is...well...not good. But what about not enough of the Zilla? At what point does a young skater's self awareness of the need for the Zilla result in the ability to raise the Zilla within? Will this young woman, in response to her mother's...mothering, be driven to early auto-Zilla-dom? And will the Zilla persist to her own children?
These are questions for the ages, to be certain. Perhaps I'll check back with answers in about 20 years.