It's figure skating season once again, and it's time to review my favorite part of that particular activity.
No, not the skating. The writing.
There's nothing quite like the coverage of figure skating. It's almost a parallel universe to normal sportswriting. It's just not enough to tell about what happened. How a program is performed counts almost as much as what goes into it.
Let's take a story on the women's final at the U.S. championship in Spokane. I don't mean to pick on the AP writer, since all of the skating stories have these elements. But here are a few quotes taken from the story, and you can try to figure out where else this might appear:
"She has great speed and uses her edges better than most. But her presentation could still use a little work. She had some nice moments to 'Galicie Flameno,' clicking her hands like a Spanish dancer at one point. But she didn't have nearly the fire or sass flamenco numbers deserve."
" Skating to music from 'Sabrina,' she did Audrey Hepburn proud. She was classy and elegant, from her beautiful lines to her gorgeous black dress with white trim."
And from the other day: "Her footwork was nice, and matched her music from 'Snowstorm' as nicely as her lovely light-blue dress."
It's probably not fair to complain that Peyton Manning's outfits don't get reviewed like that. After all, he is assigned to wear a uniform.
Such matters of presentation are important in figure skating, which at least has gone from something resembling mere dancing on ice to a demonstration of athleticism in the past several years. However, that set of priorities for viewing the sport probably would disqualify me from ever writing about it. Me thinks it won't miss me, and I won't miss it.