Posted by: Dave | February 18, 2010

Sow Cows and Beer Commercials

Like 99% of the rest of the American male population, I skipped the Olympics’ men’s ice skating competition and retired to an early slumber.

Much to my irritation, my wife woke me up some time around midnight to tell me that the American, Evan Lysacek  had edged out the Russian, Evgeni Plushenko, for a gold medal.  Yawn.

I try to get excited about ice skating.  But despite little Scotty Hamilton’s full throated exuberance when he exclaims, “He nailed the Lutz, he nailed the Lutz…!” male figure skating evokes no passion in me.

Maybe it’s because after witnessing countless Winter Olympics, I still don’t know what a Sow-Cow is, or how to distinguish it from a Lutz or a toe loop.  For the record, a Sow Cow is actually a Sal chow, and was named after its inventor in 1904.  You can learn about Sal chows by entering Sow Cow into Google, which tells me I’m about as informed as the rest of the human population on the subject.

That is why my guess is that men’s ice skating has the lowest viewer ratings of any night of the winter Olympics.  The predominant consumer of sports entertainment is men, and American men, like it or not, do not have an appreciation for a sport unless is involves body contact, pain, blood, or a ball of some sort.   Otherwise, it needs to include females in skimpy outfits.

Additionally, most of us like to watch a sport we may have participated in at some point in our lives.  That is why I’ll stay up late to watch downhill racing.  I have actually stood at the top of a double diamond trail and attempted to make it to the bottom without killing myself.  Like downhill racers, I have experienced face plants and had ski poles impaled into my rib cage before careening helplessly down the side of a mountain.  

But the last time I went ice skating, I wasn’t trying to attempt a  Sal chow or a Lutz, I was trying to muster up the courage to ask a cute red cheeked blonde for her hand during the couples dance.  Nothing would be more wonderful, I imagined, than holding her hand while we skated to “Betcha By Golly Wow,” by the Stylistics.  I kept my eyes on her while I practiced my turns all night, even getting to the point that I was turning by crossing one foot in front of the other, until the last couples skate of the evening approached.   As the rink disc jockey announced that the couples skate was approaching, I summoned up the courage to request her hand, but alas, she declined. 

No podium for Dave that night.   

The Summer Olympics folks noted a ratings problem and took action. They replaced prime time yawners, like synchronized swimming and rowing, with women’s beach volleyball (and it has nothing to do with the skimpy bikinis and hot bodies of the competitors).  It’s because all of us, at some time or another, have played beach volleyball.

So I have some recommendations for the Winter Olympics people, and NBC in particular, who is rumored to be losing $200 million on the event, and would probably welcome the advice.

Women’s ice skating outfits are skimpy enough, but we do need to make men’s ice skating a little more interesting.  Men’s ice skating should become a contact sport.  The contestants should enter the rink as paired opponents, like boxers, and would be graded not only on their ability to perform their maneuvers, but also their ability to prevent their opponent from executing theirs.

The music, of course, would complement the aggressive nature of the sport, and the judging criteria of artistic merit would be replaced with “strategy and tactics.”  Imagine the excitement of kick boxing in ice skates and foppish outfits. 

NBC could augment little Scotty Hamilton’s narration with color commentary by, say, Lawrence Taylor.  

The commentary would go something like this:

Hamilton:  “Looks like Lysacek is about to try the Triple Lutz…”

Taylor: “…or he could be faking a Sal chow to get Plushenko out of his toe loop early…ooh! what a great body slam by the American!”  

Hamilton: “…Plushenko can still do a Sal Chow to help his points. “

Taylor:  “Yeah, as soon as he picks his teeth up off the ice.”

Hamilton: “…and the American’s music selection of “Walk This Way” is so much better than “Smoke on the Water.”

I can just imagine the beer commercials.



  1. This was a great article. Absolutely hilarious and spot on! Bravo!

  2. You know, some of us have to put up with watching downhill or extreme…whatever, to be able to enjoy watching the women’s AND men’s figureskating. Come on, Mo! We should be able to sit and enjoy the grace and abilities of those who have abilities that most of us can only wish for.
    Just found your column. Sorry this is late. Nobody ever tells me anything!!!!

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