Figure Skating: From the Boards

28 days and couting – Premiere week, 2010 September 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tara Wellman @ 1:38 pm

Let the count down begin!

About this time every year, it seems I find myself in limbo, waiting for the Grand Prix season to kick off, hanging on every ounce of news we get about the season’s top competitors, and just getting a taste of what’s to come with the Junior Grand Prix, club competitions, and even international events like this week’s Nebelhorn Trophy.

For me, this is the hardest part of the year!

That said, it is exciting to be close enough to that first senior Grand Prix event to start counting down. (Let’s be honest, though…I started counting down 2 months ago!) And today, we’re 28 days out from what is our Fall Premiere week – NHK Trophy. (Not Skate America? Nope. I’ll get to that in a minute…)

There are premieres all over television this week. And I, for one, was pretty stoked about some of them. As you could probably guess from my last post, I’m a Dancing with the Stars fan. So that was exciting. Following that premiere, though, was this fabulous show called Castle. I may be even more obsessed with that show. Without getting too far off track in telling you all about it, I think it’s great because it has such a perfect balance of relationship drama, impeccable comedic timing, and the ever-popular “CSI” vibe that is in probably 80 percent of the popular TV shows today. It’s brilliant. I was also pretty pumped for the season two premiere of Glee. While I came late to this game, I am a full on fan (“Gleek” is the term, I believe?) of this one. I think it fulfills my childhood (*cough* and adulthood *cough*) fantasy of living life as a musical. I mean, who wouldn’t want to just break out into song whenever you have something really important, humorous, dramatic, or revealing to say?! It’s fabulous, too.

Now before you think I’ve completely gone off course, I promise, I do have a point.

All the news about programs, music, choreographers, and coaching changes is like the pre-season previews. The promos, showing a glimpse of what is to come, yet not quite giving you enough to be satisfied. That’s how I feel right about now.

I can’t wait to get the season underway.

Fall is a very exciting time for not only TV fans, however. It’s a great time to be a sports fan in general. And that I am. While I’ve taken in a heavy dose of baseball and football lately, fall still isn’t quite complete until I get my skating fix, too. That’s why I spend hours online, looking for the latest news. Twitter has become my best friend in that area. Not only are many skaters themselves on Twitter, but other avid fans, webmasters, bloggers, and journalists are there constantly tweeting the latest news. I love it! And it all leads up to that first event – 28 days from now – in Japan.

Yep, that’s right. The first Grand Prix is in Japan. That just sounds strange. For as long as I’ve been into skating, it’s been Skate America that kicks things off. And as with any sports tradition, it’s a little odd to be changing it up. I consider myself a pretty reasonable person, however, and after the initial strangeness of it, I’m kind of excited about the schedule mash up. Tradition is all good and well, but it will be interesting to see things in a different order. It’s like your favorite Fall TV series being moved to a different time slot – it’s not all bad. It might actually fit into your schedule better. Plus, you might just get to watch a new show in the old slot, and maybe you’ll love it, too. Then you get two fabu.ous shows back to back!

The new schedule shouldn’t change much…except that typically by NHK time, programs are a bit more fine-tuned and polished. Now Skate America will have that edge. The flipped schedules will provide different looks at the different competitions, which should be interesting.

Also interesting (for lack of better word) is the coverage that skating will get, at least here in the US. We skating fans know that the sport has fallen in popularity in recent years. But I have to say, the lack of TV coverage isn’t helping. It’s not being given the spotlight it deserves, just as other fall sports. Sure, it’s not “mainstream” like football or baseball, but how is it supposed to gain new fans if people are never exposed to it?

The Grand Prix season coverage was announced this week, via Universal Sports. And they sure did a nice job of making it sound like you’re getting a ton of skating coverage. Problem being, it’s on Universal Sports, or on line at or, both paid subscriptions. I have cable TV, but I don’t get Universal Sports. NBC isn’t willing to put the events on the main network, so while there may be a lot of coverage available, it’s not available to all those who would be tuning in. (And they wonder why ratings keep slipping…)

Now, I actually enjoyed the icenetwork coverage last year, because of the sheer amount of live streaming that was offered. But watching on my laptop in the middle of the night is a far cry from watching on my big screen, with event coverage that actually looks as high-quality as the skaters who are competing.

But that’s just me. What do you think? I don’t know that I have an answer to the situation…but maybe you do! I’d love to hear what you think about the TV coverage, or lack of, and the transition to mostly on line viewing.

I’m sure it seems like I’m rambling on, now. But the fact is, Premiere week is coming. And just like there was plenty of chatter pre-Dancing with the Stars and pre-Glee, I’m all about the chatter pre-NHK. It’s what makes this limbo stage bearable! So, bear with me, and help me count down the days. It’s almost here, friends! We can make it just a bit more.

Then let’s hope the premiere lives up to all the build up!

Meanwhile, here’s a video of one of my favorite performances from last season, Mirai Nagasu from the World Championships. Enjoy!

Until then…


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