Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sour Grapes are Only Good for Whine

After Thursday night's success, Evan Lysacek drew some nasty comments from the Russian he beat for the gold.  The Russian - Evgeni Plushenko - went so far as to accuse the judges of prejudice.  Apparently because Lysacek's program wasn't as 'difficult' as Plushenko's, he didn't deserve the gold.  Umm... right.  Now, I still haven't seen either skater's final performance, but to me, it sounds suspiciously like sour grapes.

Let's look back to Shaun White's snowboarding run.  Executed flawlessly, it was a winning run.  But let's say, White tried his Double McTwisty 1260 and bobbled the landing or, heaven forbid, did a faceplant.  Trying something difficult isn't what made it a winning run.  Nailing the tricks - both for show and for sport - was what earned Shaun the gold.

Plushenko thought the Japanese skaters were more deserving than Lysacek because they at least 'tried' a quad.  Umm... even the guy who tried it and failed?  Apparently success isn't the indicator... just trying is.

By that manner of thinking, I should already be published.  Hell, I tried. I've been trying for years.  But I don't want to win just because I tried.  I want to succeed.

Further tying this to writing, let's think about the tricks we have in our bags.  Mechanics, Storytelling, Plot, Character...  You're writers.  You know what goes into your work.  The authors who 'get the gold', so to speak, nail all the tricks.  The ones who don't win are usually not quite as good in one or more of the components of being a good writer.  If we all got a medal for trying to do the hard things, everyone would be published.

Sure, sometimes someone slips through in the writing biz.  We've all read books we thought weren't up to snuff.  But the smartest of us don't bitch about the achievements of others.  We just keep our heads down and keep working on producing that gold medal worthy novel.  (At least, that's what I'm trying to do.)  It never pays to point to someone and whine about how that person is unworthy.  It just makes the person whining look bad.  :cough:koreanshorttrack:cough:

Like I said, I didn't watch the final skating programs.  But my visual inspection doesn't matter anyway.  I'm no judge.  Personally, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a 165.51 program (Plushenko) and a 167.37 program (Lysacek). From my perspective, it's a lot easier to tell the difference between 1st and say, 10th.  Easy.  Jeremy Abbott fell.  The subtle nuances of the turns, twists and jumps are lost on me.  Whether any of them do a quad or not is secondary to the artistry of the sport. 

Plushenko insists the judges put more emphasis on the show than the sport, but as a simple spectator (and according to the rules), judges are supposed to look at both aspects equally.  Maybe Lysacek's show portion was just that much better and overweighed the Russian's sport portion.  Either way, the blond dude lost.  That's that.  No whining allowed.  Better luck next... well, four years from now.

From what I heard at the beginning of the Mens' Figure Skating short program, Lysacek is an animal when it comes to his passion.  He said it himself (and I'm paraphrasing 'cause I can't find the quote): "No one will ever be able to say they work harder than I do."  That's why he won the gold.  Not because someone was prejudiced against the Russian - who won the gold in 2006, btw - and not because someone put more weight toward the show than the sport.  I also think Evan's win comes from his true love of figure skating.  And no amount of gold can ever compare to that.

So, as authors we just have to keep putting forth all the effort we can into our passion.  Some of it's show and some of it's sport - 50/50 just like skating - but if all the components don't come together, we don't win the gold.

And if we don't win, we really only have ourselves to blame.


  1. Plushenko needs to man up, plain and simple.

  2. Good connection to writing.

    I used to do figure skating, so I can honestly say that I understand the Russian being upset. I'm not saying he deserved gold, but there does need to be some changes in the judging. What he was arguing was that his trick should be awarded more points in the scheme of things because it was hard. The American's trick wasn't as hard, but got the sameish number as the harder trick. Make sense?

    So I understand the Russian's point... however, I do agree with Kristen. I think he should man up and not be such a sore loser. He should be proud of his silver.