Joey Mantia Technical Camp: Rollerland 8/22/10

In a major coup for FirstLoser, we’ve secured the web-exclusive first-look inside the Joey Mantia Technical Camp that was secretly held this past weekend at Rollerland in Fort Collins, CO. We know it’s just luck…the guys at WikiLeaks are busy with more personal, pressing matters.

This first-hand account was written by Horseypants, and is presented to you in its unadulterated format. If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know that this story would have made it out this week…although I’m working on my post as fast as I can.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m outwardly hoping there are some typos (in her section, pay no attention to mine here,) so I can promptly use them against her…


I had zero expectations of Joey Mantia. I really had no idea what he does. Ok, well, it had come to my attention that he goes really fast. Some nights between making dinner and putting the kids to bed I also heard talk about how he has won lots of races.

What I did know before this clinic: my family was really excited that “Joey!” was coming to our rink. And I knew to charge all my camera batteries because I volunteered to take photos/video. But I think this makes me the perfect person to do this review.

There will be no confectionery glaze that First Loser would have drizzled excessively over his writing, turning it into an overly-sweetened bundt cake of a post that nobody could stand to read. This is The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. From “Mom,” who you know does not stand for any crap.

The Good

They took to the floor like they were showing up for regular practice.

1. He arrives on time. This was my first indication that we are dealing with a professional, something that really warms the hearts of parents everywhere who have shelled out cash for kids’ activities only to find that a great “class” turns out to be led by a glorified babysitter. I admit my radar for this kind of thing was on high. As it turns out, totally NOT the case here…

LionHeart with Cheex

2. There were other world-class skaters with him–a definite bonus. Everyone else knew them. I was clueless. But they were really nice and also good teachers. Everyone got personal attention from Joey, but when the class split into groups, someone was there to help with each one. When a kid was a little slow on the uptake, someone was there to reel ’em in. Plus it was nice that one skater was a woman, so my daughter could see this as a sport for girls too.

FirstLoser with Sara Sayasane & Wouter Hebbrecht

3. It was an organized, logical and candid presentation. It made sense from beginning to end. I would say that Joey simply came prepared. He did all kinds of proper form stuff, and then got into starts and turns and “dry land” things that I am sure First Loser will be able to explain in another post. Most amazingly he got a bunch of kids who have been complaining all year about painful skate drills to do them with a smile upon hearing, “this is what I do.”

Joey Mantia gives SpeedDemon some pointers on her starts

4. Joey Mantia definitely has a charismatic knack for this clinic gig that goes beyond just being a famous skater. There was an element of “star power” at work, but that was only part of his appeal. I mean, he held the attention of 40 people, most of them youth skaters, for six hours! It was hard work but it looked like alot of fun too.

SpeedLord, Bont Bunny and SpeedDemon revisit nose, knees, toes Mantia style.

5. This was a magic moment for me: At the end, during a “Q & A” to wrap up, a seven-year-old boy (SpeedLord) asked kind of a funny question (though he was perfectly serious) about what to do when you are going into a turn and you can’t cross over your skates because you’re going too fast and it’s scary.

It was the kind of question I thought he was going to blow off, because it was so obvious that the kid just needed to practice his crossovers. But Joey thought a moment, barely smiled, and then I think surprised everyone there when he gave an honest and workable answer.

It was a very kind, respectful and classy move. Also it made me want to cry, it was just so sweet.

The 2010 Rink Rabbits World Team!

The Bad

My husband has finally met his match in terms of a workout. He is so sore. He can barely walk today. HEE HEE! Maybe this is not such a bad thing for me. I’m sorry but, it’s just disgusting how he never gets tired. And he’s always gloating about how many miles he’s skated and how fast, when my big accomplishment of the day is folding a Mount Everest-sized pile of laundry.

The kids, on the other hand, are totally fine. Bah-HA!

The Ugly

So, lunch…the guys at the rink did a great job shopping and cooking barbecue, but this late in the summer, burgers and dogs are just played out. Of course everyone ate and looked happy. Maybe it’s just the Martha in me, looking for a nutritious gourmet meal…at Rollerland. Probably a good thing for us all that I was put in charge of photo/video.

The Extra Special Thing

I tried to find another video to show you The Extra Special Thing. But I can’t…you had to be there. What I wanted to show you was how Joey Mantia makes skating look like ballet. Power and grace combined. It was really cool to watch. Even someone like me who knows nothing about skating could appreciate it. I’m really glad I was there.

I could have sworn his eyes were closed in this shot...

In terms of the clinic, for everyone to see Joey skate up close, and then have him break it down into totally do-able chunks, was awesome. It allowed the value of all the drills that the kids hate to become obvious. Now they know WHY it’s hard. Form does equal function. And the “Joey!” clinic equals a special day my family will remember.

FirstLoser post coming soon…

8 responses to “Joey Mantia Technical Camp: Rollerland 8/22/10

  1. SpeedLord's Mama

    Hilarious, accurate, and very well-written blog entry. I especially liked this sentence: “There will be no confectionery glaze that First Loser would have drizzled excessively over his writing, turning it into an overly-sweetened bundt cake of a post that nobody could stand to read.”
    I loved your mom’s perspective on everything from Joey arriving on time, to his charisma that kept the attention of young kids for *6* hours, to the sweetness of his answering a 7 year old’s perfectly serious question respectfully.
    This clinic far exceeded my expectations as well.

  2. SpeedLord's Mama

    And I love reading how you tease FirstLoser. Heh.

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