November 2009

Just this past weekend, my family and I drove back to Lake Placid to watch Skate America. It was an amazing competition, and Team USA had great results. Rachel Flatt had an outstanding long, landing seven triples, and Ryan Bradley brought down the house with an engaging program where he still managed to land two quads. Now that’s entertainment for you! It was a long five hour drive each way from Boston, but it was so worth it to get the chance to watch such great skating.

It was also a good opportunity for me to understand how fervent the fans are in Korea and Japan. Kim Yu-Na was the seeded lady in this event, and it did not go unnoticed by either the Korean Skating Federation or the Korean media. Apparently the Korean consulate in NYC paid to charter buses to bring in Korean fans to cheer her on. Also, there was a film crew taping every second of her practices.

Although it is great to have an enthusiastic fan base (and I certainly love a crowd), she is only 19 years old, and it seems like a ton of pressure to have the entire aspirations of South Korean sports fans on her very-slim shoulders. That said, she is so fast she is really fun to watch!

Of course, I wouldn’t be Ross without a signature embarrassing moment, would I? In Lake Placid, Julie Schmitz, our USFS Team USA liaison asked me to help out with filler video material. They set up a mock dating game, with prospective Mrs. Miner Number 1, Number 2 and Number 3. I had to come up with questions. So my question for MM#1 was – do you like the Red Sox? The answer was yes, so she was still in the running. For MM#2, it was – what’s your favorite ice cream flavor? She answered chocolate, which is OK with me, so she was still in the running. For MM#3, I had to put in a plug for my home state ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s, so I asked – which do you like better, Ben & Jerry’s or Haagen-Dasz? She liked Ben & Jerry’s, which would have made it a difficult decision, at that point. Unfortunately, MM#2 piped up that her father owned Haagen-Dasz, so I really put my foot in my mouth. I picked MM#1, but everyone said I should have gone with the ice-cream heiress!

So looking forward to the competition in Tokyo in two weeks – I understand the tickets for the last three days of the competition sold out in the first ten minutes! The arena holds ten thousand fans – bigger than the Herb Brooks 1980 rink at Placid, far bigger than the rink at SC of Boston – almost like the Fleet Center. I love an audience! More after Tokyo!