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.

Monday, October 19, 2015

- score waits

Certainly I'm aware the pregnant scorekeeping pause between each program is as much a tradition of the sport as the soakers and the hair buns. It's not such a bother for the skaters themselves or for a parent who is only sitting through one flight. If you're an aficionado like myself though and plan to watch all of the junior Group A and Group B freeskates, it can be quite the frozen hardbutt hassle. Thirty skaters might take, what, around two hours if they skated end to end? Just about the perfect sitting time, like enjoying a feature length movie.

But given the scorekeeping and the ice cuts it takes more like five hours.  Come on, even standing up to stretch between flights and grabbing a bite between groups, nobody looks forward to five hours at the rink. I'm sorry, there must be a better way to tally the scores in between skaters that won't take so long.

Yeah, I have a couple of suggestions. The first is, why do the skaters have to wait for the judges to finish? Suppose we split the judges into two adjacent panels to judge alternating skaters? Judge panel A could judge the even numbered skaters, judge panel B the odd numbered. That way skater number two could start their program while panel A is still tallying up the scores for the first skater.  Yeah that complicates the "announcement" of the scores I suppose, but geesh with modern technology you could just have an inexpensive electronic signboard flash the name and score, and then send it over the rink's wi-fi to some sort of app. Simple enough.

Or here's another idea. Install smart image processing software with an AI attached to the technical camera and offload most of the scorekeeping to a computer. The judges can still override parts of it that look wonky and should still judge the aesthetic components.  It should take about 45 seconds to determine the score, seriously.

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