What the Deuce: More Duplicitous Than Marrying Someone to Cross The Border

Thursday, February 16, 2006

More Duplicitous Than Marrying Someone to Cross The Border

The biggest sham of them all.

Sham (adj):

1. Not genuine
2. Having such poor quality as to seem false

Good Shams:

1. Sham marriage: A marriage primarily to circumvent some law. Typically used to get a foreigner a Green Card. Also used for tax benefits.

2. Sham schedules: Not a generally used phrase but mostly in reference to a sports team that has inflated its record against weak opponents ("K-State's non-conference schedule is a sham.").

3. Sham team: Very closely related to the sham schedule. Simply, what a team is when it plays a bunch of creampuffs only to be exposed later (see K-State in the the 1990s).

Bad Shams:

1. Figure Skating at the Winter Olympics

2. Figure Skating scoring

3. Figure Skating in general

Explanation of Categorization:

As a sports fan, teams that are deemed shams are great for a variety of reasons. For example, you can take advantage of the offending team's fans in gambling situations. These teams also give hope - Let's say team A is a sham (for whatever reason) and team B is scheduled to play the aforementioned team A. Team B's fans can take solace in the fact that Team A has probably played weak opponents and thinks its better than it really is. This logic is very much intertwined with schedules that are shams because its arguable that the number one reason a team becomes a sham is because it is playing a schedule that is a sham. Typically these teams are prone to losing big bowl games or have early exit in the elimination rounds of its respective playoff system. Unfortunately, these types of shams could be categorized as Bad Shams because if you are a fan of one of these teams and are unbaised enough to see it, you know problems lie ahead.

So how does figure skating figure into all of this? Figure skating is the biggest sham of all. In the Olympics, this sport is the biggest draw yet its scoring is arbitrary. Yes, there is a new system in place that gives the judges
guidelines on how to score a participant's performance, but a judge's subjective opinion is still heavily involved in determining who does well and who does not. This is quite different than say, Downhill skiing where the winner is the fastest one down the hill.

The other night while watching the Olympics with my girlfriend (hereby know as The Editor; she cleans up my mistakes more times than I can count). We watched a competitor fall and still get a score higher than another skater who successfully landed the same jump earlier.The next night, a Chinese pairs team completely botched its routine but still managed to win the Silver medal. Here's what happened:

The male skater attempted a throw with his partner in which she is supposed to make 4 complete rotations before landing. Only here, she didn't land the jump. She practically killed herself. The replays were brutal. Basically, she landed in an awkward split and was severely injured to the point where they had to stop the routine. The couple had to leave the ice and their Olympic dream seemed to be over....only that they came back onto the ice after she informed the judges she wanted to complete the program. Basically, they got a do over and ended up winning the silver.

I don't watch figure skating religiously. I basically watch it every four years and only to watch the competitors fall (especially the Non-Americans). I know its mean, but hey, I consider it being patriotic. Anyway, my point is this: In no other sport can a competitor leave the field of play until he or she feels better and then come back and win. Yes, I know there are exceptions like a football player getting injured and being replaced for a play, series or quarter. But the big difference there is that football is a team sport. Replacing an injured player is part of the game. Usually, in individual sports, that is not the case.

In golf, if Tiger Woods pulled a hamstring, he'd be forced to withdraw. He wouldn't be able to wait for 3 hours and then come back and golf. In tennis, a sport I played, a competitor can have an injury timeout but if the injury is severe, he is forced to retire. In fact, this happened to multiple women in the Australian Open this past January. In fact, I remember Pete Sampras throwing up between points during the US Open but having to play through it because of the risk of having to withdraw.

During this skating incident, it wasn't as if the skater fell, got up, caught her breath and started to skate again. She left the rink for five minutes after being down on the ice. Now I don't know what the rules are for figure skating but the fact she went down to an injury and left the ice should, in my mind, disqualify them. When Tonya Harding snapped a skate lace she had to lobby to the judges to leave the ice to get another lace and then compete. I believe she had a set amount of time to start her program before she was disqualified.

Ok, so if the judges didn't want to be so harsh, shouldn't they have penalized the pair severely for the incomplete trick and wipeout? After such a mistake, on a key part of their program, how could they have won the silver?

This should not be a medal sport in the Olympics, but just an exhibition. Unfortunately, its such a big draw that this will never happen. And with the IOC becoming more Eurocentric you can expect more "American" sports to be dropped before figure skating does (no baseball and softball in 2012).

Figure skating is a sham. A bad sham. I'll stick to helping immigrants like this one come to America.


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