Saturday, January 31, 2009

On Ratings, Quotes, and a Ball of Yarn: Final Thoughts, 2009 U.S. Nats

Some things simply cannot be rushed… and then there are two key portions of the ISU figure skating season, which apparently cannot be slowed down, spread out, or anything in between.

Portion 1 is that breathless eight-week span between October and December known as the Grand Prix Series. It’s become a given through the years.

Portion 2 is trickier, as it has to volley around every 4 years to make room for the Olympics... and the other three years the various events in different corners of the world seem to trip over each other anyway. Last week, for example, saw the U.S. Nationals running simultaneously with the European Championships. NEXT week will already bring us the Four Continents Championship, with skating getting underway Wednesday.

Then a three week gap… before Junior Worlds cranks into gear.

Then a FOUR week gap before (Senior) Worlds.

So you see, there’s barely any time for me to dilly-dally between events! In fact there’s no time yet to even discuss Euros in any depth… I was hoping to in the coming week, but that’s before I realized 4CC’s were knocking at the door. So Euros talk will come later…probably in a couple of weeks. When we hit a lull before Junior Worlds.

Why not talk about it now? Because I’ve still got a steno pad page full of little notes I took throughout last week’s U.S. Nationals and haven’t shared with the class, that’s why.

So in no particular order, here are some final observations and my own sort of “awards”:

+ Most Embarrassed Spectator at “the Q”: should definitely be the lady (I think it was a lady; don’t mean to stereotype) who somehow managed to drop a ball of yarn over the barrier and onto the ice at the very start of William Brewster’s SP. If Seinfeld had ever done an episode involving Kramer attending U.S. Nationals, this is precisely the sort of thing that would have happened to him. Only difference would be that he’d likely toss himself out onto the ice too, like a kitten.

+ Most Embarrassing Mispronunciation by an Ice Network Announcer: Mark Mancuso, who needs to read
this article the next time he even thinks about saying a certain French composer’s name Day-BUH-see. Honte à vous!

+ First Quad Toe Landed Successfully at the Event: by my accounts, that honor goes to Shaun Rogers, who landed a beauty in the SP but ended up down in 12th by the time all was said and done. And once again we are reminded that, contrary to lingering belief, simply having a quad does not guarantee a skater much of anything.

+ Best Article Related to TV coverage of the Event:
This one in the Seattle Times, likening NBC’s work to an episode of Lost for all it’s time-traveling efforts during the men’s event. Me, I’d followed on Ice Network and wasn’t thrown by it at all… and being in TV production myself, I know NBC had certain choices to make once they had to deal with one of their marquee skaters (Weir) being in the penultimate flight. Still, I can really see how it could have been confusing for someone just tuning in by chance. You know, the viewers that skating badly needs to keep…

By the way,
this one from the New York Daily News is worth reading as well, but if you’re a huge fan of Scott Hamilton as a commentator, you should probably skip it.

+ Best Article About the Event in General: Any, and I do mean any, of Phillip Hersh’s posts at his
Globetrotting blog will do. I don’t always agree with what he has to say, but happen to be in full agreement with him regarding the Weir and Czisny “controversies”. My favorite little quote of his was in regard to bronze medalist Caroline Zhang, who “skates so slowly she risks being arrested for loitering.” Yikes! But my, do I love an accurate zing…

+ And finally, Best Quote From a Post-Event Press Conference: of course it comes from Weir, who tried to defend comparisons made between a Sick Johnny Weir and a Sick Michael Jordan by saying "It may sound like an excuse but you also have to imagine that Michael Jordan also has an entire team of people around him…I'm a single, sparkly boy standing in the middle of the ice by myself. I see no comparison between Michael Jordan and myself in that respect.''

With those words, friends, my younger brother and all the others that annually proclaim figure skating to be anything BUT sport took one soul-crushing step forward. Merci beaucoup, Sparkly Boy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Johnny Weir blaming his bad skating on being sick is getting a little old and tired. Ron Fox