That Gang of Kids

Otherwise Known As

The Unofficial and Quite Improper
Wildcat Skating Club of (Never Mind Where)
With A Few Kids Recruited From
(Never Mind Where)

Regard this as a story. Regard this as truth. Do what you want.

Once upon a time, there was a bunch of skaters (can't say where) who thought the system was too trashed to repair. They learned to coach themselves. Showed up at all each other's competitions. When they went. "It's too boring." "Too hard to win." "They don't respect technical niceties." Bought rink time. Borrowed it. Stole it. Practiced. Practiced. Let no one know they had skates. I remember one boy smuggling skates out of his locker to his car, trying to get past his brother. His brother would have laughed.

They had this little rule for admission. A quadruple lutz. No cheating. No futzing. Three times straight under competitive conditions. Artistically pretty. And if the judges wouldn't let them into competition to prove it, they staged their own. The pressure was quite frankly worse. I saw highly-ranked USFSA skaters run out in tears.

Officials said they had to represent a skating club at competitions. So they made one up. The Wildcat Skating Club. Rooked their parents into playacting as coaches, and skated. Until the Wildcat Skating Club got disqualified for something or other not filled out right. That was it. Couple of kids -- went by Kittyboy and Kittygirl -- bought their way into a more established club and went on from there.

Skating is a very status-oriented sport. Still, you'd be surprised to hear what these kids' parents did. How much money was flowing into the house. A couple of these parents actually would have found it easy to finance big-time skating careers out of their own pockets. Not blink. And still drive up in a decent car.

But no Wildcats.

If I told you what color the Wildcat Skating Team eventually adopted for themselves, it would make them too easy to identify. Let's just say this is a school that has never fielded a figure-skating team in its life. It grew to be the most hated color in skating. Nobody else would be seen in that color. They didn't have the doggone nerve. Apparently it was uncool to be able to skate well. Smiling didn't count. Just edges.

I think they would have liked Tonya Harding. If she'd ever learned to jump.

One of my favorite lines is that skating scores only go up to six because most judges can't count to ten. A Wildcat girl (it was about half and half) made that up. She threw a quad lutz at a competition. I was behind the judges. I saw no flaws. I am quoting the following remarks. Verbatim.

"She didn't do that." "We'll just mark that down to a double, see, and then she'll know what we're trying to teach her." "What lutz? I didn't see any lutz." "So we can disqualify her, then?" I am not joking. I am not joking. I am literally not joking.

That was when it became Wildcatter standard to land two quadruple lutzes in each competitive program. "Just to make sure they see it." Got to be cool to pretend you forgot. Throw it in at the end, hit your closing edges, and grin. Get that second one in. Make 'em hurt. I even saw it done in technical programs. I promise.

And they gave you three months to clean up your artistic edges after you made the team. Had to be a full point better than your technical. "To shut up the critics." Oh, how the judges hated that (particular color)!

Had a little problem. No money. Got an idea. There were a little over twelve of them. Keep the best and "rent the rest out to the Soviets, or whoever'll have 'em." When they had three major coaches agree that that first set of three boys and three girls could skate in all four Olympic disciplines (three pair teams, three dance teams, men's, and ladies') and pull a twelve-medal sweep, then they set out advertising the rest of the team. I actually saw a Soviet coach cry. Trying to recruit a second-team Wildcatter. For pairs. And the Kitties got very upset if they weren't atop the "US standings" at all times. Kittygirl'd throw a skate if she got silver.

I see only one skater currently whose edges are in shape (and this pains me terribly to say this) to even attempt a Wildcat-qualifying quadruple lutz. Even attempt. And it's not who you think it is. What a waste of edges....But I will make you this proposition. Pop three quad lutzes in competition with your coach being able to find no flaws each time (I advise intensive video review). Find a little boutique that served as the official outfitting center. It still exists. And I do believe someone there will still know who you're talking about. That particular store. No other. Thanks.

I have full authorization to say what I'm saying now. Remember the Reactivation Clause, guys? Anyone who saw fit could restart it. Even from outside the Wildcats, if the need was bad enough. I think it is. These kids need a challenge. And I think it's time. I'm reinvoking, guys. Do what you want to. I know you're out there.

I look forward to the day when the full complement of Olympic medalists in a given year has this color hanging in their closets. Once you're in, it's all right to wear it in costumes. Just be ready for some dirty looks.

As of now, the buzzer has sounded. Wildcat standards are back in effect. Let's see it, guys. Full technical expertise, plus artistic skills to match. Who has the nerve?

Within three months your artistic must be a full point ahead of your technical. And that's three straight competitions on that quadruple lutz. No flaws.

I think it'll look better than what you're wearing now.

Oh, this is going to be so much doggone fun......

Let's see. Let's just wait and see. Shall we?

Further History:

The Early Days
In Full Swing
The Later Years

Plus Wildcat Music and Other Fine Things, including
the history of the Flutz

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