Responsibility in a CS

by barbaragarn

This blog is prompted by a captain report I had after an all-level Community Session. We introduced the more relaxed CS games with the understanding that they would be a challenge to administer. 

Some quick background on the CS games:
Before we had all-level CS games, there was no JMS session where people of separate levels (Bob the ex-varsity skater and his newbie girlfriend, Sue–or Chad the newbie to bring his rink-rat neighbor, Dan) and people let us know they were ticked that JMS didn’t offer something for them. A CS also made sense to help in certain regions: with more levels to draw from, a CS means we can still have sessions in areas with low JMS populations.

So we started the CS and have had some nice comments… and some people who tell us they are ridiculous and we should quit doing them (raise your hand if you want to lock pros and cons in a room to battle it out and leave the rest of us out of it?). 
The CS games have been pretty popular and I’m still deciding what the next step for them is. But the CS games are here to stay.

My main concern back when implementing an all-level CS was that some upper level skaters would not “get it” and would be the ringers we all can’t stand–the hotdog on the ice whose dominating presence at open hockey makes us yearn for JMS. We have had some instances in which upper level players (usually brand-new to JMS) have been problems. 

The solution for that is simple: we can remove those upper-level ringers’ ability to participate in Community Sessions. With that, I thought everyone would play well in the sandbox, until I got this eye-opening note after an all-level CS in October.

There were about 4 or 5 collisions tonight (luckily no one hurt), mostly guys running into their own team players. It may be a good time to remind folks to keep their heads up, especially if they’re going into an arena with mixed skill levels. Personally, my awareness level is even more peaked during community skates because it is very unpredictable what other players are going to do when mixing levels. I think we had Levels 2 thru 5. 

Finally, it may be worth considering to inform lower level players to keep there heads up a bit more during community skates (due to so many collisions tonight) as well as letting them know they can’t run “bee-line” straight into others players bodies. They have to go for a poke check or veer off rather than run smack into folks. Speeds are higher during these mixed level skates and other players aren’t expecting to get bowled over. 

When starting Community Sessions, I only warned lower level participants to not get frustrated when outskated. But the note above made me realize how important it is the lower level folks concentrate on safety as well. 

Upper level skaters’ responsibility at a CS is to keep from being a ringer and dominating the game. But lower level CS players have their responsibilities too: keep that head UP! We understand you’re not as experienced, but this important safety element is behavior-based, not skill-based.

Let’s keep it fun out there!