On My First Adult Nat’l Championship

May 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

Adult Nationals was an unforgettable week, even if the two skates themselves were forgettable. This man-child made it into Salt Lake City with an hour to spare before his first event and by the time he left, he made it back to San Francisco International a few pounds heavier, sanity intact. He now has a longer list of skating friends and family to visit in the future, some clear goals heading into April 2016, and a 4th place medal to show for his effort. Sorry slugger, 4th place medals doesn’t get you sprinkles on your ice cream cone.

3rd person references and self-deprecating humor aside, let’s see if I can put into words how weird 2015 Adult Nationals got in Salt Lake City.

If it gets a little too weird or there’s too many words,

 You’re Grounded, Young Man

Could you fault this Average Joe for sleeping in, making it to his 9:00AM PST flight to a layover in Phoenix before heading to Salt Lake City by 4:30 PM PST, all while saving 20 bucks?

The flight from San Francisco to Phoenix, AZ is easy breezy. Lunch and layover in Phoenix, AZ is easy breezy. Boarding for my aisle seat from Phoenix, AZ is easy breezy. Take-off from the runway is easy bree- let me stop you right there.

Hi there, this is your captain speaking. Salt Lake City Airport is experiencing to 80 mph gust winds. Planes already in the vicinity have been in holding patterns for an hour and any flights still headed there are being redirected elsewhere. Thank you for your patience, folks.

panic_medium

This guy… But wait, there’s more.

Hey, uh, still your captain here. We know you’ve been waiting here in taxi for the past 20-30 minutes but Salt Lake City airport is closed for the evening. I deeply apologize for the inconvenience but we’re going to have to cancel your flight. We’re going to take this baby back around and take you folks back to the terminal.

Weather, 1. Me, 0.

It turns out the canceled flight not only strands a competitive skater, but it also strands my Salt Lake roommate’s skating coach, whose competed internationally and a skating judge who was on track to judge in this past Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. It’s like a start to a bad joke.

Now grounded in Phoenix, yours truly, coach Adrienne D. and judge Richard D. waited an hour in line at American Airlines customer service to find out that due to canceled flights – weather, you only get discount vouchers to coupons, no outright free stays in hotels or free food vouchers. 10 hour drive from Phoenix to Salt Lake City or stay in Phoenix for a night and tackle the insanity of the competition the next morning?

We decide to remain hooked on Phoenix and take the 10:30 AM flight to Salt Lake City the next morning. Exit row, Group 1 boarding, my possessions aren’t gate checked. That’s the good news, the dessert. Cool, give me the the veggies. It lands in Utah at 12:45 PM, 1 hour before my first event of the week. Sweet baby Jesus, that’s cutting it close. No practice ice, no time to feel the ice prior to the competition warm-up, only enough time to get dressed, do a warm-up on the floor.

Richard D. makes sure I wake up on time and get some breakfast in my system before the flight, and coach Adrienne makes sure Uber takes us from the airport to the University of Utah campus all in one piece.

wWOEm7V

First Event – Adult Bronze Men Freeskate 1/3

Reunited with my coach, Robin White, we execute our game plan in the warm-up. Where to start, where to place everything, where to finish, the nitty gritty. Jumps look good. Spins are a little shaky but multiple attempts later, they appear fine. Footwork sequence hasn’t let me down since I first nailed it in Belmont/San Francisco in January. My 5 minutes of ice time are done and I have to wait until it’s my turn, last of the entire event. Thank Michelle Kwan I’m not going first.

Each person ends up skating for a minute and 50 seconds but that goes by warp speed when your turn’s coming up. Some people can watch other people in their group skate, some people can’t. I’m watching, pacing back and forth. No one falls, this is a killer group I’m working against here.

The judges work on a 6.0 scoring system, so they’re not giving you point values for each and every single thing you do. They look at the whole performance, how you completed (or didn’t complete) your elements, the in-betweens, out-betweens. If they need a tiebreak, they’ll decide based on shirts and outfits.

Oh shit, it’s my turn.

The announcer doesn’t butcher my name in the introduction, sweet. The music officials have my music, bingo. Get my game face on, it’s showtime.

First spin goes well, first jump, the single salchow goes well, aww yes.

Transition into the first jump combination, the single lutz-single toe. He’s on his outside edge and…

Gravity, 1. Me, 0.

I popped straight up and didn’t rotate and, splat, didn’t do the combination. Cool, let’s get set up for the next jump, a single flip and maybe another jump on the end since I didn’t do the first combo. Turns, turns a little too much and still tries to tap for the flip…

Dikembe-Mutumbo-Cereal-Block-Geico

Gravity, 2. Team Cereal Box, 0.

I fell again, and didn’t do the make-up combination, but gotta keep going. One combination left, a single loop-single loop. Left foot in front of the right foot, arms checked… AND I DIDN’T FALL. It also didn’t look pretty but whatever, here comes the bread-and-butter footwork.

Salt Lake City is 4200 feet above sea level. There’s, like, not a lot of oxygen up here. Two falls into the program, I’m late in my music, with about 15 seconds to go and complete my footwork sequence. My lungs and legs are feeling a burning sensation (you should get that checked out, bro), my body’s freaking out, and I’m mentally freaking out.

Twizzle, edges, three-turns, rocker, back power threes, figure skating word, figure skating word, figure skating word, oh shit music’s ending, have to cut it short (you lose points if your music ends and you… don’t). I’m done.

There’s sweepers, these little girls who skate around the ice for you and pick up the various goodie bags strewn on the ice while you acknowledge the crowd. I’m tired and attempt to stop a bag of chocolate from getting past me like a soccer goalie … and I whiff. Splat, swan dive on the ice.

T49pxhq

Physics, 3. Me and Michael-Bluth, 0. Let the sweepers do their job next time.

Good first skate, I guess? I’ll take a fou- Wait, how did I get 4th place?

Second Event – Adult Bronze Dramatic 1

Ladies and dudes are grouped together. It’s pretty dresses on one side and … my plain shirt and tie. This event’s not really about who can jump or spin their way out of the building. It’s about who can show off their skating skills the most.

The announcer doesn’t butcher my name in the introduction, sweet. The music officials have my mus- no, they don’t have my music. The music officials misplaced everyone’s CDs, so let’s all look for our back-up copies. Turns out, I only have one back-up copy and I didn’t have it, my coach didn’t have it. Holy crap, I don’t have my laptop here to make an extra CD and I only have it on my phone. Duh, they can plug the auxiliary cord into the phone but… will they bend the rules, forget the principle like they forgot where they placed the music, and play the music off my phone?

The ice monitor, the dude who makes sure you’re there when you’re supposed to gets the green light for me to use my phone. Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight. Was I going to do it justice? First jump and second jump…

First and second spin…

theofficenooooo

Nope, didn’t spin in circles for long enough. Didn’t fall but the judges weren’t impressed.

obamanotimpressed

5th place. Sounds about right.

Life Lessons

Some takeaways from this weird week:

  • Bring 10 copies of my competition music
  • More conditioning doesn’t hurt… well, it hurts, but still have to do it
  • Get more consistency on, you know, everything
  • Expect the unexpected, especially with snow and sandstorms

I got exposed at this competition, not with any wardrobe malfunctions but with conditioning, foundation and technique. My goal for next year is the next level up, adult silver and work hard on and off the ice so I’m not the guy who brings a knife to a gunfight.

Special Thanks

  • To my roommates: Maureen and Brandy, you guys got from the hotel to the rink and back, with meals and laughs in between. Maureen, you made sure I wasn’t stranded alone in Phoenix and also made sure I survived Salt Lake City. I’m awesome? No. YOU are awesome.
  • To Coach Adrienne: Thanks for making sure PHX to SLC went as smooth as it could go. Also, sorry for eating your pizza without asking.
  • To my Skating Club of San Francisco friends and family: You ladies and dudes who see me skate in practice supported me while I skated up in Salt Lake City. I feel loved and each and everyone of you skated great.
  • New members of my skating family: Glad I met you guys. Competed against you guys and now you guys are lifelong friends. Funny how that works.

thefigureskatinglawyer

On the National Championship

April 4, 2015 § Leave a comment

National championship. Little less of this.

Little less of that.

BAH GAWD A TRIPLE AXEL. HE’S DONE IT. GIVE THAT MAN A BISCUIT.

Something more like this.

Figure skate so hard, Tonya Harding wants to fine me. But first she’ll have to find me.

We’re ten days away from the 2015 USFS Adult National Championships in Salt Lake City, UT. If you told me six months ago this is where my coach and I would be, with two more chances to bring home championship gold, I would call you crazy. But things changed for the better, skates, skating skills, outlooks and mentalities. Here’s why I feel good about doing what Brian Boitano would do and becoming a figure skating champion.

The Coach

It’s been three plus years since I got back into figure skating. It’s a love-hate relationship sprinkled with early morning practices, double runthroughs and her generally shaking her head throughout the practice. She’s put up with me skating to Monday Night Football, for God’s sake.

But coach Robin White’s confidence in me to do what she asks (jumps, jump combos, spins, edges, you know what I’m saying?) has rubbed off on me physically and mentally. Physically, in being able to do the moves. Mentally, in being sure of myself that I can do the moves. We joke a lot about this but I look like a figure skater. When I quit the sport, it won’t be because of her. The teamwork made the dream work.

The Sectionals

Pacific Coast Sectionals. National semifinals. It got weird in North Las Vegas.

I skated. I fell. Yeah. I brought home two medals. Uh huh.

Most importantly though, at my first big adult competition, I felt like I belonged. A lot of folks from San Francisco came out, either because they were skating or were cheering on fellow San Francisco skaters. It felt good to show up and have good skates in front of my friends and second family. Ran into coach/skater/skating parent Natalie Shaby, who cheers on every Cal skater. Ran into people who worked the Union Square Holiday Ice Rink. Surreal but fun experience.

I got down to Pacific Rim and Phil Collins. Looking forward to doing it again.

The Goals

As far back as a year ago, I had a crisis with figure skating.

unhappykid

Sure, I practiced a lot. Sure, I was jumping and spinning. I just didn’t really know why I was doing it. Ended up having a heart to heart conversation with coach Suzy Jackson, who molds figure skaters into Olympians.

beatahandracharlessinek

Ended up being an hour long conversation talking about life, skating, then life again before the Suz came up with the magical solution: talk to your coach, your coach knows you best.

So I talked to my coach,  and it took us awhile but we came up with some concrete goals to work towards. It seemed silly then to suggest that I’d be in a position to skate for championship gold but for the past year, I’ve been skating with a purpose. It doesn’t make waking up at 5 or 6 in the morning less stupid but I know the work I’m putting in is leading up to good things.

Whether that means gold medals or making lifelong friends before this season’s over, well, we’ll see. But… ¿por qué no los dos?

thefigureskatinglawyer

On Silly Ways to Get Into Skating

June 3, 2013 § 1 Comment

The recent topics on this blog have taken a serious tone, lacking the levity to enjoy what the site usually offers. Let’s lighten it up and explore a topic I haven’t touched on yet: how I got serious about skating.

Didn't purify myself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka though.

Didn’t purify myself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka though.

I learned how to figure skate in 2003. My repertoire of skills then included skating forwards and backwards, forward and backward crossovers, and… that’s it. I never participated in a competition or passed any tests to get out of figure skating kindergarten. After about a year in, I quit until almost the very end of my undergraduate career.

Wait, What? You’re a Figure Skater?

Second semester of my senior year, I went to a Cal Figure Skating team fundraiser and skated with friends. I skated away thinking, “Hey, I totally have enough time to learn a ton of jumps and spins, skate in two competitions, and make it to Nationals…”

BREAKING NEWS: We made Nationals.

BREAKING NEWS: We made Nationals.

In Spring 2012, that’s what happened. I clumsily learned how to barrel down the ice and complete five jumps, two spins, and an elaborate pattern of maneuvers straight down the ice. I clumsily learned to like the aesthetics of a Boeing 737 and Denver International Airport, going back and forth to and from the Colorado airport three times in a semester. I clumsily skated to Monday Night Football and clumsily accepted the hardware that came with skating against no one at my level.

Competition, blouses.

Competition, blouses.

Cool, that’s how I became the collegiate figure skater that I am today, plus or minus a few pounds. The thought of getting back into skating actually occurred a year earlier than that on SF MUNI, my ride-or-die method of getting around town.

Wait, What? You Met Dana King?

The epiphany to become a figure skater could not have occurred at a more bizarre time. Bizarre as in on an underground train going 30+ mph for 1.5 minutes.

Yeah, the door isn't supposed to do that...

Yeah, the door isn’t supposed to do that… but do you?

The balance. The mental toughness. The facial and emotional expressions necessary to give a gritty, successful performance on the ice. Sure, there are safer times and places to stumble upon your destiny of axels and Olympic appearances, but if it happens when you’re in a fully-packed, moving train car, you gotta do it.

S00per smart.

S00per smart.

Rather than someone pressing the button to stop the train, the ~300 commuters in the train car enjoyed the complimentary air conditioning, the distance away from the open door, and the driver’s punctuality with the schedule. I mean, seriously, why stupidly risk your life standing by the open door of a moving car, when you can stand safely at a distance judging those standing by the open door? But seriously though, WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN, WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN? Here’s what now-retired and then-news anchor Dana King’s positive words on the scene. wait a minute, they’re not positive at all…

The consequences of having this figure skating epiphany at that time? A suspended driver for not locking that door, cameo appearances by Supervisor Scott Wiener and aspiring cameraperson Alexander Merenkov, and a delayed commute for those looking forward to getting down on Friday. Brutal.

Way to go, guys.

Way to go, guys.

Postmortem

  • Supervisor’s gonna supervise. Scott Wiener still represents District 8 of San Francisco.
  • Alexander Merenkov is still taking videos of Bay Area public transportation.
  • I don’t know if the driver still drives for SF MUNI.
  • Headphones d00d, hope you’re doing okay, bro.

bro

  • As for me? Skater’s gonna skate, have his edges down, and learn how to do axels. Still searching for that full-time job though. Go Bears and happy Monday!

thefigureskatinglawyer

On Post-College Malaise

May 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

It’s taken a year since graduating college to secure part-time work and full-time jumps and spins on the ice. During the year when I was unemployed though, going on Facebook was overwhelming when friends were getting job or scholarship offers. Was I the only person in my graduating class without a job or an acceptance letter from a good law school? Was I the only person not landing a single axel, let alone triples? What would Brian Boitano do?

Courtesy of the South Park wikia

He’d probably defeat some grizzly bears to save the maidens fair.

Congratulations!

OMG, YOU GOT THE JOB, YOU'RE AWESOME. Fuck... that mean's I'm not awesome.

OMG, YOU GOT THE JOB, YOU’RE AWESOME. That Facebook sound chamber.

Those first few months leading up to graduation and the first six months after, friends certainly should announce good news regarding the start of their work careers.

Whether that means accepting a two-year Teach for America commitment in another part of the United States, a research assistant position at a leading trauma hospital or academic institution, a scholarship offer to a top law school in New Haven, or getting a job offer somewhere in downtown San Francisco, friends have earned the right to have their hard work acknowledged.

As a person who has worked before, I could relate to friends now that they are working or on their way to higher education. It was cool being surrounded by people with nothing but upside. I went through the motions of wishing congratulations, despite the fact that it underscored my abundance of insecurities and lack of a job.

It's like you never stop stumbling.

It’s like you never stop stumbling.

I got jealous but I understood that the spotlight at the moment was for my friends, not me. On one hand, congratulations to all my friends. On the other, are they going to leave me behind?

I See Them Rolling, I’m Hating

A number of rejections from potential positions compound the frustration from not having a job. Combine that with my friends’ successes and I’m contemplating about this extended state of wtf-is-going-on I’m in.

Haven't had to throw things after being rejected yet.

Fortunately, haven’t had to throw things after being rejected yet.

Will I lose my friends because they’re accomplishing more than me? Will I be looked down upon because I cannot get on their level? Why is it that I cannot get on their level?

I also got around to questioning why I was still figure skating. I reached plateaus in what I’m learning and took lengthy breaks from the sport. Meanwhile, skaters I know pass tests with ease, make easy money through coaching, landing difficult jumps and other technical elements. Figure skating got less fun for awhile when I’m repeating figure skating first grade.

Coming to Terms With Failures, Etc.

Really though, it’s what I make of these failures that really turned it around for me. This mental change wasn’t for anyone else but myself.

While I do not have a job at the Habeas Corpus Resource Center, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, or McKenna Long & Aldridge, those experiences applying and talking with individuals at each office have allowed me to secure future interviews, especially the one I just completed with Berry Appleman & Leiden. I did not have instant success looking for jobs or getting the right LSAT score to stay in California, but the success is coming along now.

Look at me having my cake and trying to eat it too.

Look at me having my cake and trying to eat it too.

Rejection from jobs, relationships, and basketball (HIBBERT TURNED AWAY BY LEBRON, HAVE MERCY) sucks, and I let myself stew over it a few months too long before doing something about it. I elaborated on useful skills I have for potential jobs on my resume. I got confident talking about why I’m a great fit for potential jobs. I chose to work part-time in the meantime while looking for my start in the legal industry. I got serious about skating after jury duty and got back to the basics.

It was an extended exercise in persistence, talking out these emotions of jealousy, and eventually getting out of the post-college malaise I had been in. You know, as long as I didn’t rashly act upon that jealousy, my prospects are looking bright. That wasn’t the case going into early 2013, but I’m glad that I’m currently doing well for myself.

Boom.

Pretty Rick A. digs it.

Also, why am I getting mad at teammates and skating club members who have skated for the majority of their lives? The skaters have practically come out of their mothers’ wombs and hit the ground skating. Those skaters have put in the time and hard work that the sport requires of them, and that earns my respect. I’m about to get that lutz and move on to trickier things in skating. That’s what Brian Boitano would do, right? I also enjoy covering intercollegiate skating here at Cal Berkeley.

beemowave

Give Beemo a shovel because Beemo digs it as well.

***

Jealousy is just another emotion but don’t be mad that people around you are succeeding. Be happy for them, ask them for help when you need it, and open up so more people know when you succeed. Stay driven, work hard, and get a little lucky. Your success is written in the stars, a million miles away. Speaking of getting a little lucky, take it away, Pretty Rick A.

thefigureskatinglawyer

Bay Area Sports: May 2013

May 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

I can spot that frowny face from a mile away. You are sad that the 2012-2013 figure skating season is about to come to a close, and the Winter Olympics figure skating doesn’t happen for another eight months. You still have to turn that frown upside down. A few months after the San Francisco 49ers courteously declined to win the Super Bowl, the rest of the Bay Area professional sports teams are in their winning groove during their respective seasons.

We're relevant again? Pants off, dance off.

We’re relevant, eh? Pants off, dance off.

Hockey

The San Jose Sharks are currently in the National Hockey League playoffs, nursing a one-game lead over the Vancouver Canucks in their seven-game 1st round series. The toepick-less hockey skating brethren play the second game of the series in Vancouver before the teams fly back to San Jose. Best-case scenario, my favorite violent ice dancers figure out how to navigate around playoff choking hazards and raise the Stanley Cup.

What is a toepick? It’s the “teeth” of the figure skater’s blade, allowing them to not only jump, but potentially do damage to innocent bystanders’ faces in the event that the skater falls.

Patrick Marleau, eh?

Patrick Marleau, eh?

Baseball

The San Francisco Giants are 16-12, losing a few games they probably should’ve won in April (thanks, Tim Flannery, thanks, Tim Lincecum, thanks Matt Cain). Gerald Demps Buster Posey, the $167 million man followed up his 14-game .214 start with a ten-game hitting streak, which raised his batting average to .291 before going hitless on 5/1 in Arizona. Brandon Belt, he of poor body language and giraffe-like awkwardness, has become a late-inning, pinch-hitting savant and a better hitter as of late, following up his robust 6-for-43 start of the season with timely hits and clutch defense only an awkward giraffe can provide. Pablo Emilio Sandoval is in the best shape of his life.

UAL1806, the only plane strong enough to handle the weight of a championship team, left Phoenix and arrived in San Francisco International in the wee hours of May 2nd. The Giants will prepare for their nine-game homestand against the Dodgers, Phillies, and Braves.

Over in the East Bay, the Oakland Athletics are keeping pace with the Giants at 16-13. The bottom of Josh Reddick’s face occasionally sees daylight.

Pablo Sandoval is slim, eh?

Pablo Sandoval is slim, eh?

Basketball

Skeptics would probably attribute Golden State’s series win over Denver to things Denver did not do, not things Golden State did. By the powers vested in Stephen Curry’s ankles though, the Golden State Warriors are headed to the second round of the NBA playoffs since 2007, when Baron Davis did dirty things to the 2nd seed Dallas Mavericks and promptly stopped against the Utah Jazz. The Warriors say goodbye to the Denver Nuggets and head to San Antonio. There, the Warriors begin their series with the Spurs at the AT&T Center, where any notion of Golden State fun goes to die.

David Lee tore his other hip flexor tendon when he administered countless rounds of high fives during the Warriors’ Game 6 win over the Nuggets. Coach Mark Jackson is mum about his status. Meanwhile, 3-point specialist Draymond Green did quite well in his first playoff series. I hope Kent Bazemore got a tad more creative with his cheerleading celebrations at the bench over yonder.

But Steph Curry's ankles, eh?

But Steph Curry’s ankles, eh?

American Football

Coach Jim Harbaugh knows that nobody could possibly have it better than us, except for maybe Trent Baalke. The general manager of the team is responsible for drafting playmakers in the 2013 draft, players that will keep the 49ers in position to contend for a championship for awhile. Giving no shot to any other NFC team to compete for a Super Bowl win? Disgustingly selfish of the San Francisco 49ers.

Marcus Lattimore, eh?

Marcus Lattimore, eh?

thefigureskatinglawyer, eh?

Kina Grannis in San Francisco

February 2, 2013 § 4 Comments

Belated congratulations to senior Laney Diggs (St. Moritz FSC), junior Jay Yostanto (SC of New York), juvenile Dinh Tran (SC of San Francisco) and junior pairs skater James Morgan (SC of Boston) on their appearances at the 2013 Prudential US Figure Skating Championships. Good luck to you skaters as you train for your future competitions.

I haven’t updated the blog in two weeks since Nationals/European Championships and there is a lot of information to write about, ranging from the American skating progress at the world stage, its rivals out in Europe and Asia, and American skating at the collegiate level. There are more basic topics to go over, like the anatomy of a figure skate, the jumps other than a triple axel, perseverance through frustration in the sport, and what to do at an ice rink, all before the 2014 Winter Olympics rolls through Sochi, Russia.

Beyond the realm of figure skating, there are law school topics to discuss, from other overlooked aspects of the LSAT to drowning in acceptance letters, from finding out how to arrange visits to doing research about the law school (so… you’re saying some law schools aren’t even in the same city as the undergraduate campuses?). More in a bit on law schools.

***

In the meantime, Kina Grannis will perform at Verizon’s Lunar New Year Celebration in San Francisco’s Union Square on Saturday, 2/2. According to her twitter account, she will perform around 4:30 pm. The event begins at noon, ends at 6:00 pm, and admission is free for everyone of all ages.

I’ve enjoyed Kina Grannis singing live during the SF stops of her World In Front of Me and In Your Arms tours, promoting her fourth album, Stairwells. Winning the Doritos: Crash the Super Bowl contest and earning a record deal with Interscope Records, she has since left Interscope, became an independent artist, and appeared and performed her singles “Valentine” and “In Your Arms” on Good Day LA and the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

You may know her through her TV appearances or through Wong Fu Productions, where “Cambridge” and Paul Dateh’s remix of “Stars Falling Down” respectively features prominently on “Strangers, Again” and “When It Counts.” You may know her through her music videos for “Valentine” and “In Your Arms,” the latter a stop-motion video that was produced using 288,000 jellybeans and took two years to make. You may know her way back when nobody else knew who Kina Grannis was, not even her family.

If you don’t know Kina Grannis though and you’re near downtown San Francisco, give her indie/pop music a try. She’s definitely worth a listen.

Slap me if I'm wrong.

Slap me if I’m wrong.

***

I’ll be making a trip out to the Washington D.C. area to visit a good friend and visit George Washington Law, Georgetown Law, and University of Maryland Law (maybe) next weekend. I’m looking forward to hanging out in D.C. with my friend and checking out law schools by Foggy Bottom.

GIGGLING ABOUT FOGGY BOTTOM? WHAT ARE YOU, FIVE?

GIGGLING ABOUT FOGGY BOTTOM? *********! WHAT ARE YOU, FIVE?

thefigureskatinglawyer

Quick Hits: Early Sunday Morning

January 20, 2013 § 2 Comments

2013 US Figure Skating Championships sponsored by Prudential Real Estate will be held in Omaha, Nebraska. It’s a shame that many skaters were injured and could not participate in the competition. High-profile withdrawals include Alissa Czisny (dislocated hip) and Evan Lysacek (healthy but not in competition form since incurring sports hernia). Another high-profile withdrawal includes All Year FSC (Carson City) senior ladies skater and Pacific Coast Sectional Championships winner, Vanessa Lam, disclosed by USFSA in a  140-character statement on Twitter.

USFSA rulebook states that if any of the top 4 finishers in the sectional competitions must withdraw from the national championships, the first alternate/5th place finisher from the withdrawing skater’s sectional may take their place. The fifth place finisher from the 2013 Pacific Sectionals?

What do you mean my team's not koala-fied to go to Nationals?

Shut the front door.

UC Berkeley/Cal Figure Skating’s Laney Diggs. Diggs replacing Lam isn’t quite Brady/Bledsoe (lacks perspective and time), Harding/Kerrigan (lacks knee bruises and figure skating scandal), or Kaepernick/Smith (Kettlechips? Kappersnack?). Receiving word of Lam’s withdrawal from USFSA officials Saturday, Diggs accepted the opportunity to make the most of her fifth Figure Skating Championships experience (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010). She has less than a week until she performs her short program on January 24th at CenturyLink Center.

Meanwhile, Skating Club of New York skater and 1st year Golden Bear Jay Yostanto skates his short program in Sunday’s first junior men’s event. Best wishes from here to the Golden Bears on the national stage.

NFC Championship Game

San Francisco 49ers are in Atlanta to face the NFC top seed Falcons for the right to play in the Super Bowl. San Francisco will employ its nickel defense, with defensive backs Dashon Goldson, Tarell Brown, Carlos Rogers, Chris Culliver and Donte Whitner joining damn good coverage linebackers in Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, lining up behind a scary defensive line of Justin Smith, Aldon Smith,  Isaac Sopoaga and Ray McDonald. This starting 11 will be tasked with not only stopping Atlanta’s potent pass offense revolving around Roddy White, Julio Jones, Harry Douglas, Tony Gonzalez and Jacquizz Rodgers, but keeping in check Michael Turner and the run game. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who won his first playoff game last week against the Seattle Seahawks will try to shake his reputation of not being clutch.

Colin Kaepernick leads the 49ers offense against a Falcons’ defense that will play less man-to-man than the Packers. Atlanta will have fearsome pass-rusher, John Abraham back from injury and at its disposal to harass Kaepernick into rushed throws and rash decisions. But Kaepernick will have Frank Gore and Anthony Dixon to help lead the rushing attack and stymie Abraham, as well as wide receivers Randy Moss and the emerging Michael Crabtree, whose emergence has coincided with coach Jim Harbaugh’s naming of Kaepernick as starting QB. Will the 49ers be able to exploit the Falcons’ D just like the Seahawks, with Kaepernick finding tight ends Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker at the intermediate levels? Might be tough if current Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan spots the errors, fixes them, and creates a formidable obstacle in the 49ers’ Quest for Six Titles.

49er fans are: ☑ Having it, ☐ Not having it

49er fans are: ☑ Having it, ☐ Not having it

Stray Observations

  • Michelle Kwan’s wedding ceremony happened Saturday. Cool beans.
  • NHL started its abridged season Saturday. New Kings fans finally have reason(s) to wear their Anze Kopitar jersey.
  • Golden State Warriors ended their three-game losing streak by posting a 116-112 victory over the Hornets in New Orleans. Jarrett Jack put on his big boy pants and did everything short of piloting the team home to Oakland, scoring 25 points and dishing 12 assists.
  • The Giants avoided arbitration with Buster Posey, agreeing to a 1 year/$8 million dollar contract. This opens up a window to sign Buster Posey to a long-term contract for a s**t ton of money.
  • Posey also met Yogi Berra in New York, where Posey attended an awards dinner put on by the New York chapter of BBWAA, receiving his 2012 NL MVP award. Buster Posey was: ☑ Having it, ☐ Not having it
  • Sergio Romo took a lot of leverage from the Giants. He stands to make 4 million dollars a year in a longer contract or… he’ll take the Giants to arbitration for a 1 year/4.5 million dollar deal. Oh dear.

Three-day weekend (MLK Jr. Day on Monday) may allow people to get Colin Kaepernick’s name right.

On second thought, maybe not.

thefigureskatinglawyer

Quick Hits: Friday Edition

January 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Pioneer Open Preview Pt. 2

Cal has the final tune-up and two more months to figure out their optimal high and intermediate team maneuver line-ups. Team maneuver warm-ups consist of two minutes, stroking and skating around early (crossovers are fine). Each skater for their respective teams in each of the six elements receive a minute warm-up to practice the element before having one chance to perform the element. Each skater is limited to performing two of the six elements. If one skater performs more than two elements for their team, those extra elements are not scored. No wonder why this part of collegiate skating is tough to describe to people who don’t do collegiate skating.

Six elements required at each level.

Six elements required at each level.

Ice dancers Sean Sunyoto, Gina DeNatale, Samira Damavandi and Teressa Vellrath will skate the third dance according to their respective ice dancing levels. Hopefully, they don’t require skaters to do the optional dance.

collegiateicedancing

Successful performances at the Pioneer Open will guarantee the Golden Bears a spot at Intercollegiate Championships. Hanover, New Hampshire. A shot at the defending champions, Dartmouth Figure Skating Club. A shot at Delaware FSC and Boston U. I hear they offer even bigger trophies for first, second and third.

Cape Air sounds pretty comfortable.

Bigger trophies are always cool.

Candlestick Park Fun

Justin Smith is expected to play in the divisional round game against the Packers. He has had two weeks to recover from a torn tricep muscle but looks to recapture his All-Pro form to contain Aaron Rodgers. Otherwise, Aldon Smith will have a tough time getting penetration into the backfield. Where has tight end Vernon Davis gone, though? He actually hasn’t gone anywhere but his production has dropped off since Week 10. Is it because coach Jim Harbaugh switched quarterbacks? He’s got six catches for 61 yards since getting no catches in Week 12 against New Orleans. Meanwhile, Delanie Walker has had 13 catches for 246 yards and two touchdowns in the same period of time.

colbertnope

ESPN NFC West blogger Mike Sando, with the assist from ESPN Stats & Info does some great analysis on the disparity in tight end production here. Maybe Vernon Davis has just cooled off from his quick start to the season. I don’t entirely know either why he hasn’t figured prominently in the offense, but in any event, with a depleted wide receiving corps after Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss, Walker and Davis will have a prominent role in the offense. Whether that involves pass-catching or blocking for running backs Frank Gore and LaMichael James remains to be seen.

In any event, you can imagine PG&E getting their act together and making sure the lights don’t go out again. Ed Lee’s got another championship parade to attend.

With special guest, Eugenio Velez.

With special guest, Eugenio Velez.

Pants Advisory

In case you ride BART into San Francisco on Sunday, 1/13 and you have no clue why people aren’t wearing any pants… well, I’m sorry.

Get that MRSA all up in those briefs.

Get that MRSA all up in those briefs.

thefigureskatinglawyer

Quick Hits: Tuesday Edition

January 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

As of January 7th, 2013 2:00 PM PST, the Golden State Warriors have allowed fans to keep wondering what Kent Bazemore would do. The shooting guard from Old Dominion has a contract that becomes guaranteed on Saturday, January 10th. Despite being very close to the luxury tax line, the team would not be saving much money by waiving Bazemore, saving only $400,000 this year and $800,000 next year. Bazemore remains one of the reasons why the Warriors are fun to watch, from his defensive prowess to his celebratory antics on the bench. Just in case you forgot:

Now look at Kent matching Blake, silly for silly.

The Warriors (22-11) play three of their next four games at home in Oracle Arena. Playing Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday and Portland Blazers on Friday, they will then travel to Denver to play the Nuggets on Sunday before flying back to Oakland, CA to play the defending champion Miami Heat on national television next Wednesday. The team goes as Stephen Curry’s ankle and hot shooting goes.

***

Alissa Unchained

alissaicenetwork

Alissa has four minutes to save the world.

From what I know, the A in Alissa is still pronounced, there are no derogatory words in figure skating, and Ice Network feels witty. Anyway, one of the United States’ best hopes for skating hardware in high-stakes competition talks with icenetwork.com. Topics include how it’s been a trying season for Czisny since incurring a torn labrum in her hip, what programs she’ll maintain or change and when she hopes to compete again. Hopefully, along with Ashley sWagner she can have a successful 2013-2014, having an impact on the standings at US Nationals in Omaha, World Championships in London, Ontario, and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. You read the full interview here.

Czisny’s coach decided to have her skip the NHK Trophy Grand Prix assignment in order to get more rehab time. She’s gone to the basics to get back to skating shape, hoping to recover her 2010-2011 form as the seventh best ladies skater in the world. Best wishes to the 25-year old skater as she fully recovers and sets her sights for Nationals.

Labral tears have sidelined and currently sideline some prominent athletes, including Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard.

***

Smith Brothers from Different Mothers

Speaking of injuries, it seems like for the divisional playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is still siding with Team Colin Kaepernick, rather than former starter and no. 1 overall pick Alex Smith. Alex started at quarterback when the 49ers beat the Packers in Week 1. In the first game of the season, the 49ers rushed 32 times for 186 yards to wear down the Packers’ D while playing in nickel coverage on defense, bringing out five defensive backs to keep the Green Bay passing attack off-balance. The 49ers dared the Packers to run and they couldn’t, only mustering 45 yards between Cedric Benson and arguably the best quarterback in the league, Aaron Rodgers.

We managed to do that in Week 1?

We managed to do that in Week 1?

The 49ers defense has lacked Justin Smith in the past few games, giving up lots of yards and points. He demands so much attention from the opposing offensive linemen, which frees up Aldon Smith to wreak havoc. The defense had three sacks in Week 1. Combine all this with a serviceable David Akers, his three field goals and three extra point attempts and you have the recipe for a victory against Green Bay. However, Justin Smith suffered a torn tricep and Akers has been nowhere near the same player before his injury earlier in the season.

How much of a role will Vernon Davis play? Will the lack of depth at wide receiver hurt the team? Will Ricky Jean-Francois be a serviceable replacement for Justin Smith during the playoffs? Is Colin Kaepernick the answer? Well, I guess we’ll find out soon, won’t we? The Quest for the Sixth Title starts on Saturday, January 12th, 5:00 PM Pacific.

49er fans are: ☑ Having it, ☐ Not having it

49er fans are: ☑ Having it, ☐ Not having it

***

Arbitration hearings are in a month and Buster Posey will get a lot of money.

Buster Posey is: ☑ Having it, ☐ Not having it

Buster Posey is: ☑ Having it, ☐ Not having it

thefigureskatinglawyer

What Would Kent Bazemore Do?

January 3, 2013 § 1 Comment

6’5″ (~1.96 meters) rookie shooting guard Kent Bazemore of Kelford, North Carolina plays for the Golden State Warriors. Despite winning the Lefty Driesell Award as the nation’s top defensive player in 2011, Bazemore went undrafted after his collegiate career. He signed a two-year contract with the Warriors. When given the chance, he will provide clutch celebrations and defensive stops.

You may not know him or what the Golden State Warriors do but if you’re mired in a slump, Kent Bazemore’s cheerleading techniques may help you get back on track.

Look at Kent acknowledging a made 3-point shot.

Look at Kent acknowledging a made 3-point shot.

Now look back at yourself.

Now look at Kent matching Blake, silly for silly.

Now look at Kent matching Blake Griffin, silly for silly.

Oh, you blinked. Now, Kent magically turned his warm-up clothes from white to blue and flexed his muscles.

kentmuscles

Suppose you need to un-slump some slumped shoulders, accept an average LSAT score and/or feel like you have some vague idea on where your life is heading. Let Kent Bazemore: Old Dominion alum, D-League superstar, and resident cheerleader lighten things up at a Warriors game near you.

thefigureskatinglawyer

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Random Musings category at jd candidate who figure skates.