Okay, I admit it. Novice Pairs scares me and normally I avoid them. I probably should have this time too. This is the first pairs level where the teams are doing real tricks like you see on tv with the higher level skaters. Their lifts go above the guys head (well, theoretically), they do a split twist, they are doing side-by-side double jumps, etc., etc.
And it often goes horribly, horribly wrong.
Like today when the teams in the third group kept almost killing each other in the warm-up. Not on purpose. They just couldn't get out of each other's way. And one team, the one team I was curious about seeing because they are local and I remember the guy from when he was a singles skater, had the most disasterous warm-up. They couldn't do anything right and it got the point where I was upset enough that I wanted to yell out "stop trying to kill your partner and get off the damn ice!"
But I didn't because I try not to be a crazy woman at skating events. But pretty much that was the only thing holding me back.
Then, during the actual skating, the team before them had a bad fall. They were doing a lift and she went up but not very high (though it seemed like that was actually on purpose). But then she did something, I'm not sure what, and suddenly the whole lift wasn't balanced any more and they both fell. Not only that, he came this close to skating over her hand. When she bounced back up, she was holding her cheek and I could swear she was going to stop skating. But she shook it off and they went back and finished the program. It was messy with lots of falls but they finished. (Way to HTFU!)
In the "Kiss and Cry" she had ice on her cheek so she really did hurt it.
Then the team that upset me came out and I was so scared. But they were actually not too scary. The guy who couldn't lift her or throw her in warm-up did those things just fine and their only falls were on her throw jump and she also fell on the side-by-side jumps.
I have no idea what the issues were. (Just because one team member falls doesn't mean the other team member wasn't at fault.) All I know is that my heart was in my throat for their entire performance (because of the warm-up) and afterwards I ran up to the concourse and had an alcoholic beverage.
Seriously, I did. I was that upset by the entire event. And not just these two. They were the last two teams to skate and had the most obvious problems, but that doesn't mean other teams didn't get my heart in my throat as well.
And, no, I'm not going to name them. If you were there or watching on Ice Network, you know exactly what I'm talking about and, if you don't, well it's not important. The point is they drove me to drink, not who they are.
I do have to say one of the teams not only didn't scare me but actually skated like a real pair. That's pretty rare at this level. That team was Christina Zaitsev and Ernie Utah Stevens. They are in fourth place.
To finish off the evening and me and my head, we had Junior Men. I was familiar with none of them. The first skater impressed me and he's in first (Timothy Dolensky). The second skater impressed me and he's in 4th (Lukas Kaugars). After that it was the usual mix as these skater do their short program in random order. I also really liked the skater who ended up in third, Timothy Koleto and the 5th place skater (Phillip Warren) who skated to Stevie Ray Vaughan doing a Jimi Hendrix song! (My kind of music, baby.)
Okay, my readers who are in the know are now thinking... Nathan Chen, why aren't you talking about Nathan Chen? You know the guy in 2nd by .05 point who is winning everything.
I have to admit, I had mixed feelings about his skate. I hated the choreography of his program and his shiny copper shirt threatened to give me a headache. Plus his ice coverage was not good because he's tiny and has no power. But his technical content is amazing. He's got all the same goods as the other Junior Men when it comes to jumps and spins even though he's 12 and they are more like 15-20. So how do you grade that? It's a dichotomy.
As we left the arena, it started to rain. Way to go Mother Nature -- stay dry when we're indoors and only rain when we have to go out. And my head hurt. But not nearly as bad as it did at WDW so I think I'm going to make it through the week especially if I hide for most Novice Pairs tomorrow and don't attend any practices. I also figured out how to charge my phone so I should be better on the Tweeting. Much to the dismay of some of my followers who are used to me never tweeting and only about triathlon. Sorry! It will over in a week, I promise.