November-December 2007, PS Magazine
Making dinner earlier this fall, (yes, I make dinner) a commercial came on for Planters Peanuts in which the Planters mascot is break dancing. My son, Ryan, say’s to me, “Dad, did you see the broken leg spin” to which I responded 'no'. My wife Jamie chimes in, “Did it count?” “Yes,” Ryan say’s, “he was definitely low enough.” “I don’t think he achieved the 2 full turns,” she says. Ryan replies, “I don’t know Mom…” I put down the meat, turned and gave my wife Jamie “the look”; you know, the one with one eyebrow raised and the head tilted slightly to the right. I was thinking that it might be a little early for her to be drinking…10 minutes later the commercial plays again. “I told you Mom, he made the turns” to which Jamie replies that he didn’t get enough upper body twist to get the core body change. At this point, I am thinking that IJS has made us all just a little too crazy. It has consumed the lives of many and I am not sure that we can recover. Another example; I was driving home from work this past summer and saw two bicyclists run into each other. One went flying over the handlebars superman style then tucked and rolled and came up with out a scratch. I’m thinking Level II, + one (he was a little out of control in the air!). I can’t go a day without cracking wise about someone outside of skating achieving some level of difficulty.
All joking aside, it has consumed us. Although many of us are frustrated with the system, it is here to stay and we had better get used to it. Think about it this way. During the late spring and summer, while the Europeans are resting, we are hard at work competing with the new and untested IJS changes. Thousands of American coaches, judges, callers, and skaters begin attacking the changes, pushing the envelope and seeking clarifications. When clarifications do come out, more often than not, they create more questions. When we do finally get it, the Europeans will start competing, all with the benefit of the “beta testing” completed by the North Americans.
Here are some changes I’d like to see:
• Make footwork a component and not an element to be “boxed.” As it is now, it is too labor intensive for the callers and too easy for them to miss something. And really, aren’t judges qualified to do this?
• Get rid of jump sequences altogether. Sequences are not difficult. Each full rotation jump in a sequence should be a box, period
• Limit the levels for spins in a program at the lower levels Juvenile should be made to do developing spins, i.e. sit change sit or camel change camel.
I’m just wondering…why is the elevated crotch in the face position illegal in ice dance but legal in pairs? If it’s offensive in one discipline, it’s offensive period.
As a final point, I wonder if the same people who pushed to have figures eliminated, are the same ones who believe that the IJS doesn’t work? I hear the complaints often about the poor quality of turns, brackets, counters, rockers, etc in footwork. One positive note; the current rules are forcing skaters to learn proper turns…just remember, for those of us who did figures, it took us thousands of hours over a period of years to get them right.
I guess what I’m saying is that this sport is making me crazy!