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26 March 2006 @ 10:53 am
Dressage, figure skating scoring, and tennis instant replay  
"Scoring in other sports is black and white, in or out. Learning HOW to swing or thow or catch or land a jump is an art, not just sport.

I think that americans can have a wonderful work ethic and often try harder rather than try smarter. We often have little traditional background before we seek to specialize so there are holes in the conceptual knowledge upon which we seek to sail our ships. The more concept and good theory, the easier the analysis of the horse, uses of aids, etc. The more about mere lines and obedience the more we need better horseflesh to fill our missing parts. And we MUST value the older generation in this sport as well, they have seen alot, they have eliminated alot of possibilites, they learn more effective ways and have grasped concepts which the impetuousness of youth ignores. Our psyche works well for this sport, our thought that it comes quickly does not. If we want instant gratification, this is NOT the sport/art.

I believe we MUST have a deep philosophy in our souls to do this sport, we have discussed that here before. I also believe it must be underlied by an ethical relationship with the horse. Both were debated hotly.

We question authority now days because we can, and to our advantage (in legal suits). It is often not about who is right, but who can manipulate the laws. Children are not taught to respect authority because it is simply to hard, it doesnt feel good to the parent. Welll in that respect the people who judge are the elders, the ones who must instill limits because the 'parents' (aka teachers/trainers) have blown sunshine and stroked. In the end, the stoking causes the demises of civilizations.

So people take personal responsibility and are willing to take the heat, some hide from it, some jump from side to side.

As a parent of kids who were actively competing at a high level in their sports, I do think that some childrens self-value comes from the winning, rather than the effort they put into it and how well they try to perfect their skills. This means that the child can then be controlled in any direction.

Worst of all they follow the winners. This means if their hero does drugs, they might, if they wear niki, then they should. One only has to look to the use of square saddle pads everywhere which merely started as a way to keep your frock coat tails from having to be laundered so often, or to flash nosebands (look like an auction rider from Germany), the unbraided forelock (of a stallion who would not allow it) or the straight elbows (following a national winner) etc to see that people follow what they think are elements of a winner.....they only see what is different and copy. Its a joke. They follow eye pictures, and we get to where we are today...where many people think an open throatlatch is necessarily above the bit, rather than a product of correct balance.

Sportsmanship in kiddy culture gets lip service. The works 'good effort' when they screw up, but NO explaination about how to improve or change. And lots of reward for a 'win' over another team. Well there is always better or worse, but effort alone isnt enough either. Personal review, changing effort, directed studie are the hallmarks of a learning improving human. And further many/most parents hand their children over to others because the job is too hard. They run from hither to yon to compete, but spend little time in discussions.

Good dressage, good dog handling, good anything is obvious. But you have to have points of comparison. If youve never seen GP, its all exciting. See more and you see the good and the flaws. The most clear illustration is that people with no knowledge see the problems in a clear way, esp those from other sports. Balance is balance, and tension is tension.

Dressage has had review of tapes (for days) as a way of judging. But at this point tapes arent 3 d. The good loses something, the bad isnt as bad. What we need are that all judges worry more about their sport/arc and how it continues rather than about TV coverage and perception. I find it interesting that what was growing very quickly is not, people would rather stay at home and ride than get numbers and no comments. Perhaps their values are changing.

The iceskating at the olympics was full of strength, but beauty and flow are gone. Technique is important for art, and in removing school figures which require control of edges which in turn make for fluid jumps, the jumps now are strength only. Add foot work to try and get control of the edges for the judges to see, but its now gratuitous. Within riding its that the horse must NEVER show ANY loss of balance/bearing/frame....welll this is impossible there is no such horse because of the fragile nature of balance....make it so and the horses are posed (and based on the work of someone who did dressage for a whole four years first....LOL).

Challenge in discussions, know how to defend your position based upon theory, and ride each day with improvement and quieting the aids as a guideline.

~Paula Kirkegaard"
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-the redhead-theredhead on March 26th, 2006 06:00 pm (UTC)
The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article that might actually apply to dressage. The article discusses how the USTA is going to be using instant replay as part of their scoring. The article goes on into details about the use of replay in football and the new rules for tennis. What was interesting is the following:

Quote:
WSJ March 18, 2006, p.A2 " Tennis Eners the Replay Racket"

Bringing technology to refereeing reflects a uniquely American distaste for the uncertainty inherent in sports. While an NFL game has a team of arbiters comparable in size to the Supreme Court, you won't see instant replays this summer at the World Cup of Soccer, a sport adjudicated by a lone on-field official.

"In the United States, it seems like a violation of your constitutional rights that somebody got the call wrong", says Paul Campos, a law professor at the University of Colorado. "In other cultures, one of the symbolic functions of sports is to present the unfairness of authority."
-the redhead-theredhead on March 26th, 2006 06:13 pm (UTC)
Why figure skating is not a sport
2/20/06 © Yahoo & Dan Wetzel

TURIN, Italy – Figure skating is not a sport.

Now, before you whip off your Risport and spike the blade through my aorta, please note that I think figure skaters are not just athletes, but remarkable athletes.

Figure skating requires strength, speed, stamina, dexterity, balance, timing, guts and just about everything other imaginable athletic skill. Certainly, more athletic skill than I could muster.

But figure skating is a competition, not a sport, and it has nothing to do with how difficult or entertaining it is. It is simply a matter of how the winner is determined. It is the same for gymnastics, diving, beauty pageants or anything that chooses a champion solely by human judging.

A sport needs to have a quantifiable way to determine a winner and a loser. There can be no debate about the scoring system. A ball must go into a goal or through a hoop; a runner must reach home or finish before the others. The winners run faster, jump higher, score more.

In some sports a clock is used to determine a winner, but the clock is not subjective. Besides, you can't have 53 guys racing down a ski hill at the same time. The clock is a judge, but it is an objective one.

Figure skating has none of this. Everything is about interpretation of success. It is about what the judge thinks, believes, feels. There is nothing absolutely quantifiable. Yes, the number of revolutions in a jump counts, but in the end if two people do the same jump, a human has to decide which one he or she likes better.

That is not a sport.

Figure skaters wear elaborate costumes in an attempt to appear more appealing, more flowing, more beautiful. The women (and even some men) wear makeup, they get their hair done, they wear jewelry, they play stirring music.

An ugly person would stand at a considerable, if not insurmountable, disadvantage in skating. Sasha Cohen would whip them every time.

As absurd as the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan drama that propelled skating into stratosphere was, it was based partially on the fact that it is a competition, not a sport. Harding was a powerful skater, possibly better at all aspects of skating than Kerrigan. But she was shorter, stockier and less feminine. Although Harding had defeated Kerrigan on occasion, she knew she was at a disadvantage against the taller, prettier, more graceful Kerrigan.

So she conspired with her boyfriend to have Kerrigan whacked in one of her skinny little knees.
In a real sport, this wouldn't have been necessary. Ugly people can win in track, in skiing, in the NFL, in soccer.

Beauty doesn't matter. Style doesn't count. There are no judges.

Some will argue that referees are essentially judges, determining who scores and who doesn't. But a referee is merely there to assure order and make the competitors follow the rules.

Yes, in most sports, the referee has the freedom to determine right and wrong by what he sees – a false start, an illegal advantage – but he is not determining the final victor. His assignment is to simply ensure fair play. The refs can't just say that while one team scored more points, they thought the other one was better anyway.

This creates a bizarre paradox where something like curling is a sport and figure skating isn't, even though to compare the level of necessary athletic ability is comical. But it is what it is. You have to be a stunning athlete to compete in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest but that doesn't make it a sport. There is one exception to this no-judges rule: boxing (or kickboxing, or other fighting sports). This is fine because a clear victor can be achieved with a knockout (no judge needed). The judges are only used when the fight has gone on so long that it has to be stopped for the safety of the competitors. If they keep beating on each other, someone could die.

Of course, the presence of judges is why boxing is considered the most corrupt sport. Other than that, no judge should ever determine a winner in a true sport. When you have that, whether it is ice skating, gymnastics or diving, you have a competition. It isn't any different than American Idol. It can be fun to watch, the athletes can be talented and tenacious, it can be a great competition, but it isn't a sport.

It just isn't.
Jkyuudou5433 on August 24th, 2006 03:36 pm (UTC)
Your basic premise seems to be, without a clear and objectively defined method of winning - it is not a sport.

I disagree with that for a couple reasons. In any sport, competition is ultimately with one's self, competing against others satisfies the ego and the masses, but mostly provides a learning experience. As a competitve martial artist and a marathon runner, both my sports are objectively judged. But winning doesn't bring a sense of accomplishment - it only brings a certainty of skill and acknowledgement of training.

After all, you didn't actually win, you won against another person who may or may not be performing at their peak; but you didn't compete against everyone. It is impossible to be able to say that you are 'the best' upon winning, only that you were the best at the geographical locale. Without such exhaustive competition as to compete against everyone, a 'win' is really meaningless, except for ego reasons. Much more important is the competition, the struggle, itself. Seeing and facing the opponant, learning from them - that is the only reason to compete. What a panel of judges or a time clock says is meaningless.

As they say, it is the interpretation of success. However, the article you mention above is the interpretation of success from an outsider looking in; a very different view, in my opinion, would be had from a true competitor. But it is naive of a judge or a reporter to assume that the point of competition is to compete. Sports are often about less material things; thing like the pursuit of excellence in body and mind.