I recently outlined the Scott/Tessa/Skate Canada situation to an attorney friend in order to give it a real world taste test. So Atty Doe's eyes wouldn't glaze over when I brought up figure skating, I hit the Skate Canada piece of it hardest. She's media savvy - everybody in a major city or media market brands these days, everybody uses web tools and social media to focus their message, everybody has an internet presence and decides what it is they're selling and what to leave out that's not in their best interests. Everybody pays attention to ethics, particularly where the public sector is concerned, and knows where the line is even if they have no ethical compass because nobody wants their organizational ass in a sling.
All of this isn't just a game for public figures.
It's just coincidental AD was an attorney - she's a sophisticated person and well-connected. Also civic minded so I was anticipating a "that's fucked up" about Skate Canada's getting its hands dirty in the Scott and Jessica hoax. I said doesn't all this raise questions.
AD said: "Yes it raises a question - what the fuck is wrong with you Scott and Tessa!!"
I was actually floored. I was like - what about the SC stuff? She was shrugging that off - I guess that kind of dirty isn't news to an attorney in her sector. She was all "What the fuck is wrong with them!"
This is a woman who spent another portion of our conversation telling me about a sports star with a major market professional sports franchise whose personal life is kept on the dl so the (beer-swilling, face-painting, tailgating) demographic never finds out about it. But the athlete in question plays a real sport. He's not called upon to talk about breakfast tacos, relationship quizzes or whether his teammates are a part of him but he only thinks of them as friends.
Scott and Tessa's deal she thought was a freak show. Which it is. But I'd thought the basic algorithm made sense - public figures, private lives, fake private life to protect real one. Just the execution is all kinds of fucked up.
Nope. She thought the whole thing was fucked up - facebook, Jessica, the whole deal, in view of Scott and Tessa's current personal situation, over and out. They're sick.
She even said sorry, they made the choice. The second you lace up the skates, that's part of the deal. You don't shove it off on everyone else because you don't want to cope with it.
There was not even an "I get it, but" going on with her when it comes to this.
So I reached for the only analogy I could think of. Pageants. I said - you know the whole pageant circuit, you know that world. The intensity and obsession inside a narrowly focused environment to where common sense turns upside down and all perspective goes down the toilet. There's no reality check because real world air doesn't get in. It's an environment that breeds crazy.
THEN the lightbulb went on.
So Skate Canada figure skating at its heart is like this world:
I think the analogy actually is valid. Figure skating in Canada is a national sport populated by a teensy, insular, parochial community with a blinkered worldview and neurotic priorities, self-referential and self-obsessed. It's a Christopher Guest movie. And unfortunately, that applies to the officials in charge of it. The premise of how they do everything is warped, and proceeds "rationally" from there because they completely lack any ability to determine the essential sanity of their assumptions.
I believe even the most entitled, overfamiliar, intrusive fan occupies more of the real world than some of these figure skaters and Skate Canada's personnel. Their skater obsessions are entertainment or fixations. If they got checked, they'd redirect. The crazy is Skate Canada, not Skate Canada managing the crazy of the fans. Skate Canada is plain crazier.
Unlike the pageant circuit, Skate Canada has access to sophisticated, knowledgeable media advice and so do the figure skaters. They go the do-it-yourself route because they have massive egos inverse to their capabilities, and they don't want to relinquish control, personal visibility and perks.
There's also a clear obsession with micromanaging the personal while being unprofessional slobs on the business side.
There are regional high schools with better managed pr than Skate Canada, but that requires that the school principal and school board and the rest of the personnel aren't bent on promoting themselves at the expense of the school, aren't power-tripping, honestly want effective pr and also are accountable.
And really, the pageant world is healthier. It's doing its best with what it has. Skate Canada turns its back on obvious resources. Its ineptitude is a choice. I think it's funny if totally insane that these huge egos went and did it themselves and did a worse job than your average middle schooler going on the internet to promote a fund raising drive. But then it's likely the middle-schoolers had a clearer agenda. Skate Canada is a little hamstrung by its directors' personal agendas.
It's not going to be a real sport - not to hockey loving men, not to the mainstream - til they get the weird out. Mainstream your weird, Skate Canada. You're an outlier.
The very fact that the Scott/Tessa/Jessica thing was planned and dear God, executed as it has been up to and including the family viewing parties showcasing Jessica at competitions, baby holding, Xmas faking and make-out feigning - shows a not-ready-for-prime time mentality. No wonder important sponsors can't cope with it.