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  1. #21
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    Very interesting thread. I especially enjoyed your comments, Aftershocks. As someone who is not an expert and really only followed figure skating at the Olympics until recently, I know from my own experience that I always thought of the sport as enjoyable, but also very old fashioned. I never went to a skating show because I thought the commercials made them seem hopelessly outdated. Most of the men seemed ...not feminine, but not macho either. They seemed to appeal to the over-65 crowd by playing up a sort of Disney showbiz aspect of skating. I'm talking about Scott Hamilton, for instance. I was not aware of many skaters at the time. I was interested somewhat because unlike a lot of people my age, I love the MGM musicals and have a soft spot for that kind of thing. So when Kurt Browning did Singing in the Rain, I loved it. But if you're going to try to sell your sport as entertainment, you can't keep pedaling the same thing decade after decade. You've got to be open to a variety of types of performers and entertainers. You've also got to be open to different kinds of performances. I was surprised reading Johnny Weir's description of the resistance that he, Melissa Gregory, and Denis Pethukov faced when they tried to skate as a trio. Why is that such an oddity in skating shows? And that number turned out to be a success. If skating officials can play up all those different personalities and encourage them to explore many different kinds of performances, it seems to me they'll get more people watching during competitions as well. Imagine the possibilities. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on Ice, artful and athletic. What boy wouldn't like that?

    As for attracting more boys to the sport, I think shows like Battle of the Blades can do a world of good. At least two hockey players from that show have expressed their newfound respect for figure skating. But more than that, I think it's going to take a sea change in the way North Americans think of figure skating. And I don't know if that's going to happen, as long as boys don't get experience skating so they realize how hard it is. It's the same thinking as ballet.

  2. #22
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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXtd7xq7URM Kurt as Kelly

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVnAVkMI_A4&feature=fvsr So much fun

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Sxtq...eature=related Classic

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIhB-My2_KE "Mesmerizing ..."

    Thanks Justathoughtabl, for citing the above great performances… I also had to include Kurt’s Brick House and Casablanca.

    The Fallen Angels performance by Johnny, Melissa and Denis was so different, engaging and creative. Their program having been treated with resistance by TPTB, is so typical and so self-defeating for the sport. A trio of dancers performing to great music and choreography is the kind of outside-the-box creativity that elevates the sport. Check out all the youtube comments (as well as the commentators’ words of praise).

    I agree with your above post – your observations offer lots of food for thought. In ballet during the 1960s, Rudolf Nureyev and NY City Ballet’s Edward Villella were influential in changing the way male dancers were perceived (as was Mikhail Baryshnikov during the 1970s). Villella is now CEO and founding artistic director of the Miami Ballet
    http://www.miamicityballet.org/edward.php

    "Villella showed that a tough brash kid out of Maritime College could turn into a major artist, and in doing so, changed the way men danced in America as well as the way male dancers were perceived."

    Makes no difference that Nureyev was gay and Villella was straight. What mattered was their enormous talent, the strength of their personalities and their virtuoso athleticism and artistry. What matters, I think, is transcending stereotypes so that sexual preferences are no longer an issue (hidden, ignored, ridiculed, challenged via macho pretenses, accepted under the surface but an uncomfortable topic to bring out in the open). Gender differences and sexual preferences truly shouldn’t be an issue in either figure skating or dance or in any field of endeavor.

  3. #23

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    I think it goes beyond just skating. Nearly all the "upper class" sports have been ridiculed at one time or another, including golf and tennis. Golf had Arnold Palmer to get it into the mainstream, and tennis had McEnroe and many others. There are now many ways for young people to participate in golf or tennis without a huge financial sacrifice, so a typical 7th grader probably knows many people who play.

    Unfortunately, that's not true for figure skating, so said 7th grader has no reference at all, or just a passing reference from TV.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justathoughtabl View Post
    Very interesting thread. I especially enjoyed your comments, Aftershocks. As someone who is not an expert and really only followed figure skating at the Olympics until recently, I know from my own experience that I always thought of the sport as enjoyable, but also very old fashioned. I never went to a skating show because I thought the commercials made them seem hopelessly outdated. Most of the men seemed ...not feminine, but not macho either. They seemed to appeal to the over-65 crowd by playing up a sort of Disney showbiz aspect of skating. I'm talking about Scott Hamilton, for instance. I was not aware of many skaters at the time. I was interested somewhat because unlike a lot of people my age, I love the MGM musicals and have a soft spot for that kind of thing. So when Kurt Browning did Singing in the Rain, I loved it. But if you're going to try to sell your sport as entertainment, you can't keep pedaling the same thing decade after decade. You've got to be open to a variety of types of performers and entertainers. You've also got to be open to different kinds of performances. I was surprised reading Johnny Weir's description of the resistance that he, Melissa Gregory, and Denis Pethukov faced when they tried to skate as a trio. Why is that such an oddity in skating shows? And that number turned out to be a success. If skating officials can play up all those different personalities and encourage them to explore many different kinds of performances, it seems to me they'll get more people watching during competitions as well. Imagine the possibilities. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on Ice, artful and athletic. What boy wouldn't like that?

    As for attracting more boys to the sport, I think shows like Battle of the Blades can do a world of good. At least two hockey players from that show have expressed their newfound respect for figure skating. But more than that, I think it's going to take a sea change in the way North Americans think of figure skating. And I don't know if that's going to happen, as long as boys don't get experience skating so they realize how hard it is. It's the same thinking as ballet.

    I think it is hard to promote skating as both art and sport at the same time. Sport demands uniformity otherwise how can you compare the athletes and score them fairly? If you are a competitive skater with an extensive support team who is spending $50K a year to skate you are going to do the jumps and spins that give you the most points whether they suit your body type or not. This in turn limits the music selections. Also what is the point of inventing your own moves if they can't be scored?

    Most of the innovative and artistic skaters were also involved with the arts (Cranston, Curry, Cousins). They in turn invited other artistic skaters (dancers and musicians) to join their tours. All of them were men and none of them were male role models. They also competed at a time when figures took up a good part of a skater's practice time. They were not pressured to include all of the technical difficulty that skater's are today. The difficult moves were the highlights in their programs, not the beginning, middle, and end.

    As long as you have costumes and music I don't think skating will be a "manly" sport, and afterall, sport is about the only thing the macho men have left. Very few jobs nowadays call for their talents.

  5. #25

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    Maybe the skaters who want to do their own thing should start youtube channels like Nicole. They could bypass the judges and rules, or someone else owning the rights to their performances. Skating fans watch a lot of stuff on youtube anyway.

  6. #26
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    What seemed to me like a great way to tell the world how great I was, was apparently just an invitation for everyone in my classes to make fun of me.
    If Brian Benton's everyday attitude is reflected in the editorial, his skating is not the reason that his classmates don't like him.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by heckles View Post
    If Brian Benton's everyday attitude is reflected in the editorial, his skating is not the reason that his classmates don't like him.
    I think you're reading too much into the direct quote from the editorial, the way it is written puts it in such a way that makes it a sharp contrast to him being made fun of for being a figure skater. It is just a way of making the reading more interesting and emphasizes certain points by using such contrasting elements, frequently seen in pieces of literary work.

    I seriously doubt he wore that t-shirt to school and started bragging about how good he was for competing at nationals... much more likely is that he wore the shirt because he was proud of his accomplishment, unexpectedly, however, his classmates made fun of him because he was a figure skater which is the point he was trying to make in the editorial.

  8. #28
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    Edited to add:

    icenetwork news feature dated 4/21/11

    http://web.icenetwork.com/news/artic...&vkey=ice_news

    Seems as if someone is catching on, as it's highly likely Scrufflet's #3 post in this thread inspired the above feature. We know Hersh comes to FSU to see what fans are thinking and to get ideas, so obviously other reporters and icenetwork officials do the same.

    Good to see this coverage by icenetwork in the U.S., since Battle of the Blades is not broadcast here, and can only be viewed on youtube by U.S. fans, which means it is unlikely to be seen by a mainstream U.S. audience. I heard about Laroque earlier this year in the FSU thread on BOTB, but I didn't know the aftermath of his experience with figure skating had led to the wonderful things he is doing to advocate for the sport.

    Quote Originally Posted by aliceanne View Post
    I think it is hard to promote skating as both art and sport at the same time.
    ... As long as you have costumes and music I don't think skating will be a "manly" sport, and afterall, sport is about the only thing the macho men have left. Very few jobs nowadays call for their talents.
    I don't think anyone is advocating for figure skating to be a "manly" sport. The point is that TPTB need to learn how to promote the sport, and how to promote the skaters, and the public-at-large need to understand that fs is a very difficult sport that deserves more fans and recognition for its unique history, qualities, and for its amazing athletes/ artists. FS should not be considered a "sissy" sport, and the focus should be on all the skaters, not just the ladies. The men's field is so strong and has such depth right now, so this is a great opportunity to take advantage of that and to promote the fact that the sport is made up of all kinds of people who are drawn to it because of the rewards of mastering the difficult technical elements and the huge challenge of developing as an artist.

    Just because it hasn't been done and may be difficult to do, doesn't mean that figure skating can't be promoted as both art and sport at the same time.
    Last edited by aftershocks; 04-23-2011 at 08:14 PM.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ltnskater View Post
    I think you're reading too much into the direct quote from the editorial, the way it is written puts it in such a way that makes it a sharp contrast to him being made fun of for being a figure skater.
    He chose to write that "direct quote"; the reader can choose to see him as a whiner who is upset that the world doesn't buy into his perceived greatness. The rest of his editorial doesn't make him look any better.

  10. #30
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    Yep, everyone has free will. Common sense, however, is often in short supply. While Benton's editorial might not make him "look better" than any of his peers, I'll bet he can skate better than any of them.

    Takes courage to speak out and stand up for your beliefs. Takes little energy, even less thought and no courage at all to heckle this editorial by a high school student, heckles. If that one sentence you cited sums up for you what Benton is talking about, then I think your "everyday attitude is reflected" by the lack of perspective and limited perception you exhibit in your comments. Sure, anyone can disagree with what Benton is saying, and back it up with their differing viewpoints, but that's not what you are doing, so far.
    Last edited by aftershocks; 04-24-2011 at 12:05 AM.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks View Post
    Edited to add:

    icenetwork news feature dated 4/21/11

    http://web.icenetwork.com/news/artic...&vkey=ice_news

    Seems as if someone is catching on, as it's highly likely Scrufflet's #3 post in this thread inspired the above feature. We know Hersh comes to FSU to see what fans are thinking and to get ideas, so obviously other reporters and icenetwork officials do the same.
    It's also "highly likely" the story was inspired by the stories in several Canadian media outlets that were in circulation before this thread even started.
    Who wants to watch rich people eat pizza? They must have loved that in Bangladesh. - Randy Newman on the 2014 Oscars broadcast

  12. #32
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    Yes, apparently Scrufflets had heard or read about Larouque’s comments prior to posting in this thread. It’s possible the icenetwork learned about Laroque’s comments via the Canadian media or through online sites, such as youtube, or saw them first in this thread. Or, the icenetwork may have planned to do another feature on Laroque (I think they wrote about his star turn on BOTB), but coincidentally the current feature appeared after this thread was started. There may or may not be a direct relationship. Great to see no matter the chronology or inspiration.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks View Post
    If that one sentence you cited sums up for you what Benton is talking about, then I think your "everyday attitude is reflected" by the lack of perspective and limited perception you exhibit in your comments.
    The rest of his editorial was much of the same. You're right that what you write may cause people to perceive you in a certain way. That's okay.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by heckles View Post
    He chose to write that "direct quote"; the reader can choose to see him as a whiner who is upset that the world doesn't buy into his perceived greatness. The rest of his editorial doesn't make him look any better.
    Fair enough, if that's what it came off looking as to you, but I took the way he wrote the editorial as more of how difficult skating really is rather than how much better he is than his peers.

    Fully agree with aftershocks... if you see the editorial as not making him look any better than his peers, then fine, but there is no reason to disregard the points he did make simply from that sentence. They are completely valid points (e.g. a point being what you originally commented on: his classmates don't like him because of his skating). If you do however disagree about the points he does make in his editorial, then go ahead and back them up, and then we can have a fruitful discussion about that.

  15. #35
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    If you do however disagree about the points he does make in his editorial, then go ahead and back them up, and then we can have a fruitful discussion about that.
    Do his peers actually say, "We dislike you because you skate"? If they say that, he might have a point, but we'll never know. Instead, he declares that his skating dedication is superior than another writer's dedication to lacrosse, even though that writer never mentioned skating at all in his work.

    http://voice.paly.net/node/26416

    Why put down another young man's sport in order to build up your own?

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by heckles View Post
    Do his peers actually say, "We dislike you because you skate"? If they say that, he might have a point, but we'll never know. Instead, he declares that his skating dedication is superior than another writer's dedication to lacrosse, even though that writer never mentioned skating at all in his work.

    http://voice.paly.net/node/26416

    Why put down another young man's sport in order to build up your own?
    He did not put down another's sport. Here is his quote that comments on the lacrosse article:

    "Nothing against our dear sports editor John Brunett and his recent “Wake and Lax” column, where he wrote of his morning lacrosse practices, but I can almost assure that skating ones are worse, yet I feel no need to write a “Wake and Skate” column."

    The fact that just because practices of one sport is/seems worse than another, does NOT make that sport any BETTER than the other! He is not comparing the sports themselves here, he is comparing the circumstances of the practices.

    He is simply stating that he feels what he goes through for skating is worse than what was described in the Lacrosse article. (This does NOT mean he feels lacrosse is a worse sport than figure skating and putting it down, if you are making extrapolations such as these, there is already a flaw in your reasoning.)

    Although he does not make any direct quotes from his peers, here is a bit of what he had to say about it...

    "...apparently just an invitation for everyone in my classes to make fun of me."

    "...it seems that some of my fellow students are still stuck with their seventh grade immaturity and still see a problem with the fact that I skate."

    "And that is why I am writing this — because figure skating is at least as much of a sport as baseball or football or any other of those activities where men (often overweight ones I might add) run around in tights."

    "For those of you that are unaware, I have been figure skating for 11 years now, and with that have been receiving criticism about it for about seven."

    First of all, these do not tell anything about how his peers feel about him as a person (i.e. dislike him - a personal feeling), rather, it is quite evident that they MAKE FUN of him because he skates, a clear difference. Actually, whether or not his peers like him or not is irrelevant.

    From the bolded quote, rather than you suggesting he is putting down other sports, he is actually trying to bring up skating as being recognized AS a sport that is just as tough. As many know, it is a pretty common misconception that figure skating is seen as an easy and a "sissy" sport (also the reason being why he is made fun of) and he is writing about how it ISN'T, which is the purpose of his editorial.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by ltnskater View Post
    "Nothing against our dear sports editor John Brunett and his recent “Wake and Lax” column, where he wrote of his morning lacrosse practices, but I can almost assure that skating ones are worse, yet I feel no need to write a “Wake and Skate” column."
    Why does he reference the Brunett's lacrosse column at all? Brunett's column was humorous, and he even laughed at himself. Both are things that Benton could learn. Also, Benton contradicts himself here, as he haughtily says he feels no need to write a "Wake and Skate" column, but that's essentially what he has written. ,

    And that is why I am writing this — because figure skating is at least as much of a sport as baseball or football or any other of those activities where men (often overweight ones I might add) run around in tights.
    Yes, pointing out the fatties in popular activities is a great way to get the public on your side. Does Benton feel the "need" to point out his overweight classmates as well?

    First of all, these do not tell anything about how his peers feel about him as a person (i.e. dislike him - a personal feeling), rather, it is quite evident that they MAKE FUN of him because he skates, a clear difference.
    Again, how do we know the actual basis of his classmates' complaints? Benton may want to blame his skating as the cause, but we don't know that's the case and if his column is an indicator, there's more to this than meets the eye. Benton comes off like one of those whiny "nice guys" who blame their niceness as the reason they can't get women, rather than focusing on whatever the real reason is.
    Last edited by heckles; 04-25-2011 at 01:03 PM.

  18. #38
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    Wow, heckles, you really seem to have something against this young man. Do you know him personally? IMO, your points are nitpicky to the extreme, and almost laughable in the way you are taking what Benton is saying in his editorial out of context. You seem laser focused on turning everything the young man is saying into something negative. Benton qualified his reference to the Brunett column on lacrosse. I would be surprised if Brunett takes any extreme offense from Benton's comments (unless you are Brunett). When Benton's comments are read within the context of his editorial, it should be obvious to any reasonable person that his intention is to illustrate how difficult a sport figure skating is, because the popular notion of figure skating is that it is a sport for girls and sissies, or not even a sport at all.

    Your statement that Benton is "pointing out the fatties in popular activities," is ridiculous. I don't think it is a stretch to say that some football and baseball players are overweight. Again, read in context, it is obvious that Benton is demonstrating how figure skating is as tough, if not tougher than the highly regarded, beloved (and perceived as more manly) sports of football and baseball. For you to make any mention at all of "overweight" in reference to Benton's classmates is further evidence of how your "everyday attitude is reflected" by your limited perception, lack of perspective, and puerile points of view. IMO, your critiques of Benton's editorial are baseless and gratuitous. FYI: Benton's editorial is not about his inability to "get women." Since you seem to think the editorial has anything to do with "getting" members of the opposite sex, perhaps that is one of your problems.

    ITA with ltnskater's points:

    Quote Originally Posted by ltnskater View Post
    He did not put down another's sport.
    ...He is simply stating that he feels what he goes through for skating is worse than what was described in the Lacrosse article. (This does NOT mean he feels lacrosse is a worse sport than figure skating and putting it down, if you are making extrapolations such as these, there is already a flaw in your reasoning.)

    ... it is quite evident that they MAKE FUN of him because he skates, ... Actually, whether or not his peers like him or not is irrelevant.

    ... rather than you suggesting he is putting down other sports, he is actually trying to bring up skating as being recognized AS a sport that is just as tough. As many know, it is a pretty common misconception that figure skating is seen as an easy and a "sissy" sport (also the reason being why he is made fun of) and he is writing about how it ISN'T, which is the purpose of his editorial.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks View Post
    Your statement that Benton is "pointing out the fatties in popular activities," is ridiculous. I don't think it is a stretch to say that some football and baseball players are overweight.
    Why does Benton point the overweight people out at all in this editorial? What's his goal here?

    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks View Post
    FYI: Benton's editorial is not about his inability to "get women." Since you seem to think the editorial has anything to do with "getting" members of the opposite sex, perhaps that is one of your problems.
    Never said he was trying to "get women". I compared him to self-proclaimed "nice guy" martyrs who don't want to admit the real reasons that people are staying away. Neither of us know what Benton's real social problems are if we can't observe him around his classmates, but his theory that they dislike him only because he's a skater seems too convenient.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heckles View Post
    Why does Benton point the overweight people out at all in this editorial? What's his goal here?
    If you have read the entire editorial in context, and you are unable to figure this out on your own, there's nothing further I can say that will help you understand.


    Quote Originally Posted by heckles View Post
    Never said he was trying to "get women". I compared him to self-proclaimed "nice guy" martyrs who don't want to admit the real reasons that people are staying away. Neither of us know what Benton's real social problems are if we can't observe him around his classmates, but his theory that they dislike him only because he's a skater seems too convenient.
    Neither do we know what any poster's "social problems", or lack thereof, might be. Benton's editorial is not about having social problems, although it may be "convenient" for you to think so. Again, there is nothing in the editorial to indicate that "people are staying away" from Benton, nor that his classmates "dislike him." I think it is clear that Benton is saying he is often teased for being a figure skater. I take the editorial at face value and I don't see any hidden ulterior motives. To the contrary, I think it is courageous of Benton to speak out and to stand up for the sport. Figure skating is a difficult endeavor that deserves to be valued, and better understood by everyone.

    But okay, apparently you either have problems with the editorial, with Benton, or with accepting the fact that many young men who are figure skaters often have to deal with teasing from uninformed, jealous, and/ or bullying peers.

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