This blog is a collection of my thoughts and experiences from ten years as a skate dad. For those of you sitting with your jackets in the bleachers, first I salute you, but second I want to give you an honest sense of what you are in for and what to expect. Ice skating is both a trying and a glorious sport, but it doesn't happen without the special group of folks who cheer, support, and console the participants. This is dedicated to you.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

- thoughts on scoring

My daughter and I have a conversation about the new ISU scoring method. It is a peculiar type of conversation, in that she is talking more about details at the same time that she is sounding me out for larger philosophical issues, and I am propounding a strictly performance (or performer's) attitude rating, in effect arguing that the scoring doesn't particularly matter one way or another from the perspective of souls.

We reach a bit of a middle ground where I am arguing that what the ISU mucky-mucks are trying to achieve is to create a certain kind of "environment", something that is in the best interest of the sport itself in the long run. I caution that we need to be careful that we don't set up false objectives: we run the risk of creating a system that coaches "coach" to, in the same manner that teachers sometimes teach skills to score highly on the SAT rather than to develop students who are most competent at learning on their own.

I also brought up the possibility of computers doing the scoring. I said that it would be unreasonable to expect a computer to rate the /artistic/ abilities of a skater, their expressions, their performance, their joy. But conceivably a sufficiently smart and environment-aware computer (visual recognition, music listening) could determine the "technical" merits of a skating program, after sufficient training.

So what do you think? Should scoring create anemic ladies who can quintuple Axel? Or should it create spellbinding performances?

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