Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday Night Beer: Is Figure Skating a Sport?

The big news of the day locally is that Omaha will be the host of the 2013 US Figure Skating Championships. From an economic perspective, it's a "big, big" deal, attracting national prime-time coverage on NBC as well as bringing people to town to watch and participate. But from a sporting perspective, I guess it depends on whether you consider figure skating a sport.

And frankly, from my perspective, it's not a sport.  It's not that the competitors aren't in great physical condition; that's not the question. It's not that it requires talent; it clearly does. But it's more art than sport. The judging is subjective in nature, and frankly, that takes it out of the realm of sport. Doesn't make it less of a competition, mind you.  Just not a sport.  If figure skating championships were won on the basis of speed of twirls or height of jumps, or something that could be scored, we'd have an argument. When the result comes from opinions on "interpretation" and "choreography"...well, that's not a sport.  That's entertainment.

There is an effect on sports with this event.  UNO hockey will get a two week road-trip in late January 2013, and Creighton basketball probably will be forced to play road games for a week and a half, in all likelihood. I don't think the figure skating folks will want the ice being covered and uncovered for basketball, and the ice will need to be modified for figure skating.  (Raise the temperature and scrape off the markings, for example.) Good deal for Omaha, but not necessarily for the two main tenants.

Watching a little bit of the NFL Draft tonight, I was shocked to see both Blaine Gabberts and Jake Locker go in the top ten. Gabbert a little less than Locker. NFL executives stake their career on making these picks, so they had to see something that wasn't apparent when these quarterbacks played the Huskers. Frankly, it makes me wonder if an NFL team might make overtures to Pelini at some point down the line. Say what you will about the offensive collapses the last two seasons due to quarterback injuries, but the man knows defense. And if a football coach is worth $2.775 million a season, it's Bo Pelini in my book.

Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald threw his support to a switch in the NCAA hockey tournament, making the first round a best-of-three series on the home ice of the higher seed. (H/T: Goon) Looking at the attendance of the regionals, it's obvious the current format isn't working with neutral ice. Take a page from baseball and play it on home ice where the fans can watch. And a best-of-three series lessens the impact of a bogus call in overtime.  (Yes, Weasel fan: no matter what you say, those replays were inconclusive.)

Good news for Mike Denney and the UNO wrestling program to have a new home in St. Louis at Maryville University. What happened to UNO's wrestling program wasn't fair, but life isn't always fair. I understand the disappointment that UNO's wrestling supporters have felt, and hopefully this move will allow the bitter ones to finally move on. It may be cathartic to draw Hitler mustaches on pictures of Trev Alberts, but in the end, it just shows that your illogical and incoherent arguments against the changes at UNO are the result of anger.

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