Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chumps Camp

HPC 2012

There it is.
The reason Barb has scrums, and has the "reporters" crowd the personal space of the subject, is to get the reporters/subject together in shots like this and convince us how impressive and high level everything is.

There's no legitimate reason for scrum staging at a regional training camp where the lapdog media has to get credentialed before getting access.* They're not ambushing anybody, this stuff is scheduled. Who the fuck schedules and insists the media arrange themselves in a scrum.  That's a contradiction in terms. Barb does. It's her one idea. She's fixated. I'm sure the media would rather have a few chairs and so would the skater, but then the logo board would need to be lower and wider and it's all about the SC logo.  And the twitpics would be less important-looking.

Let's clarify scrums via looking at wikipedia:
A media scrum is an impromptu press conference, often held immediately outside an event such as a legislative session or meeting.[1][2] Scrums play a central role in Canadian politics[3] and also occur in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. The same term is now also used for similar gatherings of journalists in the United States.[4]
Other definitions include mob and ambush. Here we have a bunch of flunkies doing what Barb told em to do (or one of Barb's flunkies directed these flunkies).  Those reporters are so intent on getting the truth about Patrick Chan's new short program we can hardly see the marionnette strings in their backs.

So, the fact that Barb insists on fake scrums at High Performance Camp is super lame and an embarrassment. I can hear the other skating federations snickering, especially members of the federation due south and the guys and gals at  What a classy operation Skate Canada, the biggest federation in the world (I think that's among Debbi Wilkes' boasts during her tenure) has become, mimicking The Learning Channel's Toddlers & Tiaras erzatz low-budget reality show nonsense.

Key elements are "impromptu" and "outside." The scheduled press opportunity above is staged for maximum ridiculousness in scrum form, even though Patrick Chan is not only inside the venue, but positioned in front of Skate Canada's logo board, and the media is not a mob, but a a few invited, credentialed members of the media who had to show their fucking credentials before they got into the building. 

Dube and Wolfe aren't at HPC. Who dumped whom? Who is injured? 

I wonder if blogspot has a poll feature. If it does, maybe I should set one up for that subject.

 I'm not expecting an announcement until SC decides on the spin and then delivers it. An improvement over Jessica and Bryce telling the world the real reasons they split and SC spending the following season re-writing it to flatter/victimize Jessica.  They will want to get the SC version out first this time. (If it's not something like tendonitis or sudden onset long program flu.)

It's very hard to tell from Jessica's various social media presences if she's actually in competitive shape, because she never looks in competitive shape, so who can tell. All throughout the Olympic season she looked in worse shape than she'd looked the previous season. That said, she doesn't look in competitive shape.

Oh update - PJ Kwong tweets this:
Just confirmed w/SC 'ppl who come to the HPC are expected to be at a certain point for readiness and they weren't there yet" re dube!wolfe *
I am SHOCKED. All of those pinterest words to live by about fitness, you get out what you put in, I don't dream, I work were just pre-emptive spin (sort of like when Jessica made like the Happiest Girl In The World prior to letting it be known she'd cut Bryce loose.).

As anyone might have predicted. Paul and Piper have been assigned the role of Skate Canada's Alex Shibutani imitations, with Skate Canada's propensity to completely miss the point on display.  To wit, Paul and Piper are mostly waxing excited and hyper about all things Skate Canada.

How much does Skate Canada suck when it uses skaters to promote the organization instead of the organization to promote skaters?
*Let's face it, the media isn't falling over itself to go to Mississauga and those that do either drew the short straw or are fans/groupies as well as journalists. They're on SC territory so you can't scrum INSIDE the venue. Scrums happen in no man's land and not for figure skating. So, in keeping with SC's primary public relations policy of "let's pretend the opposite is true" Barb tries to stage the impression of fevered and pressured media interest in their figure skating team. And while scrums aren't unknown in other sports, the media interest in the sports that have scrums is genuine and deployed for genuinely high interest events.

**If we're meant to believe that's the reason and not either uncertain partnership status or injury, let's consider what "not there yet" would have to mean.  Jessica and Sebastien got the three twist in the latter part of the season last year and did a serviceable job of execution. Jessica's programs with Sebastien are basically the programs she skated with Bryce, slightly dumbed down (her programs with Bryce were always pretty bare bones, but at their best a foundation of speed and power, plus hitting more elements than their Canadian competitors kept them in the mix). So what's not ready?


  1. from @skatingpj: Just confirmed w/SC 'ppl who come to the HPC are expected to be at a certain point for readiness and they weren't there yet" re dube!wolfe

    1. I was updating with that while you posted the comment.

      Seriously - how can you not be "there" yet?

  2. Maybe poor Jessica is so heartbroken over losing Scott that she just couldn't get up off the couch and train new programs.


    1. Maybe a year without any sham perks left her without incentive.

  3. If either Dube or Wolfe are injured, why not just say so?

  4. I hate Barb's stupid scrums. I hope this year we'll be spared.

    1. Nope - that photo of Chan is from this year. Scrums are on, and Gilles Poirier are wound up to be the personality darlings of SC. They're very excited - about everything!

  5. The only thing Barb is fixated on, is middle aged to senior aged rural females (also Billy Graham - Jesus apparently). She is virtually unaware of the younger generations and the predominance of social media.

    Barb handles the media like it is still 1975.

    One day, 99 percent of Skate Canada's fan base is going to die of old age. That day could be within a few years considering the current rate at which they are adding new fans.

    How did Debbies campaign to convince the public that male figure skaters are just like leather clad, motorcycle driving gang members work out? Are the Skate Canada events full of male NASCAR fans now?

    1. I agree, they seem completely inept at attracting anyone younger than about 40. If I was a little girl, I would totally buy what the USFSA is selling.

      Two things about the whole attract male fans fiasco:
      1) How impressive/athletic a sport is has almost NOTHING to do with whether people will find it appealing. There are (A)team sports (B)speed/endurance type sports (running, swimming etc) and then there are (C)what I call the "pointed toe" sports. I find all three jaw-droppingly impressive, but I only love C. I enjoy watching (B) during Olympics but (A) I can only stomach if Canada's in a medal contending situation or if I'm at a live game, and even then I zone in and out. Even with the hot guys. The hockey fans that surround me (male and female) are the exact opposite - they live for (A), they enjoy watching (B) at Olympics and (C) no thanks. It doesn't mean they are clueless as to how athletic the latter is, they just find them boring, and that's totally fair.

      2) If, and it's a big IF, they had any chance of attracting team sports fans, they will NOT be the guys turned on by motorcycles and NASCAR and hockey brawls. Hockey CAN be a beatiful, intelligent, elegant game. The fighting is mostly for show, not integral and it's on the way out. Idiots like Don Cherry talk about a game that no longer exists and hasn't for years. The best candidates for truly appreciating the qualities of the artsy sports are the bookworms who study the game and know all the stats, who value a player by how well he skates and value a team by how cohesive and beautiful their plays are. The ones who love sappy baseball movies and Ken Dryden books. They are the ones who will GET why it's friggin amazing, the things the skaters can do. Will they still be interested enough to become avid fans? Unlikely, because sports is not one category where you're drawn to all types equally, just because of their inate sportiness. But I appreciate hockey a lot even if I find the actual games a snoozefest. I can appreciate a beautiful goal, ^THESE types of team sports fans can appreciate a beautiful jump or twist or whatever. (Dance can be a slightly harder sell but not impossible).

      And LOL at D/W - trying to imagine any other team/skater not showing up for camp and it be a "well, they weren't ready yet *shrug* "

    2. They've got no game. I think they believe they can imitate what the USFSA did without changing what SC insists on doing, which is the exact opposite of what the USFSA does. SC is about visibly restricting access and promoting the organization itself, as a logo and generic entity, which is pointless. But they know the USFSA stuff is popular, so they figure they can imitate the USFSA tone without changing how the SC p.r. functions, and that is simply idiotic. And it goes without saying if they wanted to change the p.r. tone and how it functions they couldn't anyway, because they are inept and unqualified. Even the dated gambits aimed at an older demographic are employed dysfunctionally and incompetently; SC isn't not doing much to engage even the older folks. The core, older fans generate their own enthusiasm; it has nothing to do with Skate Canada.

      SC wants to protect the Promote SC First hierarchy at events like HPC. There's nothing that can be done with pr given that misbegotten priority. And SC is a failure at the top. Perhaps that's why they insist on promoting SC the organization over the skaters themselves, although why they think highlighting the logo and repeating the phrase "SC" gets that accomplished is a mystery.

      Those running the media piece do seem to over-identify with the organization, which makes me think a few of them have absolutely ironclad job security and see SC = me (certain directors). And I have no idea what they believe the logo is selling, or what it symbolizes.

      As for Dube/Wolfe, I'm not kidding when I say I hope the team is kaput or one of them is injured, but why not say so? I hope that they're not being enabled because Jessica spent an entire summer parked on pinterest and otherwise sitting on the fence, all ambivalent about training and going forward, while refusing to call it quits either, all the while framing it as the real her that ought to be respected, with her own, viable reasons, throwing up as many pins as she could painting herself as a dedicated athlete. If SC has enabled this, that's insane.

      It's possible SC hasn't decided on the proper spin for Dube/Wolfe. It's possible Jessica decided to quit (or Wolfe did), and then minds changed, and that's why they're not ready. It better fucking not be "why not take the damn summer off because I always figured I can pull it together in four weeks and what's the point of all the boring training and HPC when I'm just going to end up having the same season I always have - half-assing it through the prelims, stepping up for Canadians, then half-assing again, running out the season's clock for 4CCs and Worlds." If so, she has a point. After a certain amount, training and preliminaries are wasted on Jessica. She has about one competition in her a season, and that comp isn't until January. What's HPC going to do - give her and Wolfe feedback on the exact same program done the same way that Jessica's been doing since 2006?

      In 2010 Jessica claimed that due to Bryce's injury she'd trained the most she ever had for a singles competition - usually it was a couple of weeks.

      I really want to see what this "not ready is about."

  6. I do appreciate that pjkwong and others are posting tweets from HPC, but come on, this picture:

    I think it was two years ago, the girls were lined up in the exact same pose. Can't find the picture right now, but I'm sure fans remember it. So far the same and the expected: scrums, a can-can photo, lots and lots of G/P, almost zero V/M, lots of SC logo.


    apparently this year's keyword is going to be "emotional"

  8. It's plenty clear at this point that SC doesn't care about what's reality based. If their initiatives were required to be reality-based, many at the top would be unemployed.

    Debbi loves key words. The skating itself is just a blank until she tells us what it's evoking and cues us how to respond. That's her job.


    "At different times throughout the day, the skaters were brought to the lobby and made to stand in front of a screen to address the media in a group known as a "scrum."

    MADE TO, so basically the skaters, and probably the media (as well as the fucking fans) would rather have had it be more dignified and refined and a sit down deal rather then the fucking mess as per SC makes me soooooo angry, i want them to get their shit together SOOO BAD because it is really starting to piss me off how poorly everything is "thought" of and constructed.

  10. This is not a planned marketing strategy to be different than the Americans and visibility restrict the athletes to promote Skate Canada itself. It is no marketing strategy. Unadulterated incompetence, with the top Canadian athletes trained by the competition to win Gold medals nobody sees.

    I wonder why the Canadian TV networks don't use their political power to stop the madness?

  11. Sounds like PJ thinks the scrums are stupid as well. Yet another reason to like her. Scott looked annoyed as hell yesterday when surrounded by the reporters.

    1. Scott can do what he wants, even at HPC. If he put his foot down about scrumming, they'd do something else. He's not a baby, he's an adult athlete. I think Lysacek would say something if he thought an element of Champs Camp were managed wrong (I know he wasn't at Champs Camp; my point is he had no issues, at Scott's age, dealing with people like a grown-up, instead of deferring to them as if he wasn't one himself.)

    2. He does seem really pissed, but who knows about what exactly.

  12. Ahaha PJ goes rogue, love it!

  13. "......lots of SC logo".

    If that's not a snap shot of how bad things have become or what! "Stare at the new sinking Maple Leaf logo people, not our star athletes. It cost half of our marketing budget. We actually payed someone to design this abomination and the auditors are asking what the hell we were smoking".

    PJ, although social media savvy, still promotes from a bygone era. Relative to Canada Skate, she looks good, but relative to cockroaches, worms look tasty.

    1. it is a government funded organization.

    2. I was kidding. As mismanaged financially as they've been permitted to be, one would assume they'd gotten a bye on the auditor thing. Maybe the auditor is a crony, cheapo, no threat to turf of folks above him/her type like the rest of the national director appointees.