Well the inline hockey thing was a complete fiasco. The night of the school skate, I talked with the manager/owner (we'll call him "J") quite a bit about which class we should put the boys in and with the information he gave me, we picked the inline hockey class.
J told me that the first three "practices" were actually used to teach the kids how to use the inline skates and most of the kids that showed up had never used inlines before (just like T and D2). Also, all the first-timers get a free pair of hockey inlines as part of the class fee. We show up the next night for the first practice and WTF?? It was complete chaos and insanity. There's over 100 kids there and they are all racing around the rink like little experts. There's so many kids that the place ran out of the free skates and my boys and about 15 other kids had to use the rental inlines. So many in fact that they didn't even have D2's size of the rentals and he had to use a pair that were a size too big.
The "instruction" on how to skate consisted of a guy in the DJ booth calling out instructions to the hundred + kids whizzing around the rink. After 20 minutes of that, they had all the kids sit in the middle of the rink and the parents stand around them and they told us what the hockey league was going to be like and that today they would have skating drills and on the next session (4 days later) they would start stick drills.
I walked to the front desk and told them we wanted our money back. I explained that this was NOT what J told me it was going to be and that we were leaving. The guy convinced me to wait until this practice was over before I made up my mind.
So Dave and I waited. They had the more experienced skaters around the outside edges of the rink and the new kids in the middle. After about ten minutes, they sent T to the outside kids. Really?? Yeah, I guess the fact that he could actually stand up on the skates constituted his promotion to the outside. D2 on the other hand.... I watched him struggle to stand up on those skates for 5 minutes. 5 minutes of him falling and falling and struggling and getting more and more frustrated, trying not to cry. There were so many kids, the teachers (all 4 of them to the 100+ kids) didn't even notice - it was brutal. I couldn't watch after awhile or I was going to start crying. To see my kids feel so frustrated and to be so helpless to help them - it was awful.
By the end of the practice, T was sort of getting it and that was only because Dave pulled him aside onto the carpet outside the rink and showed him how to skate a little. D2 came off the rink in angry tears and all that practice succeeded in doing was to make him HATE inline skating.
We got our money back.
It was so heartbreaking for me to see D2 so upset. He wouldn't look anyone in the eye and he was so downtrodden and you could tell he felt like a failure. T went over to him and patted him on the back and said, "It's OK, D2, everyone falls when they first learn. They fall a lot! It's OK." So sweet! D2 still wouldn't talk to any of us or look at any of us until a couple hours after we got home.
We told them that we would wait until Spring and get them some skates and teach them how to use them and then they could learn hockey. We explained that the class wasn't what the teacher told us it would be and we apologized for getting them into a class that was clearly meant for kids with some skating experience.
I've talked before about how I feel about letting kids start an activity and then just letting them quit if they didn't like it but this wasn't like that at all. This "class" wasn't a class, it was a T-shirt hockey league and not meant for first-time skaters.
The next night, we took them to a free intro Karate class and they freakin' LOVED it! So now they look like this...
The intro class was at a dojo that was going to cost roughly $200 a month (eesh!) so we signed them up at the Rec Center instead. The Rec Center class isn't as small or as organized but they are still learning and having an excellent time.
Raising little ninjas, Ruth!