Saturday, February 4, 2012

Weekend Gymnastics Report.....

I've mentioned before that college gymnastics has some strange characteristics. Wins and losses don't really matter, you can win and go down in the rankings or lose and move up, and a gymnast who is #1 in the nation on an event can drop to #66 with one bad routine this early in the season.

A couple of weeks ago the UGA Gym Dogs had a win that felt like a loss. We defeated a team by a pretty good margin (.375) who has only beaten us twice in the modern era (but that team is also on the way up under a dynamic new coach), but we only had one score of 9.9 all night long. Our reigning national champ on bars had what was for her a disastrous routine, and one sophomore who had fallen in an earlier floor routine and said that WOULD NOT HAPPEN AGAIN.... fell again on the very same element. So while we walked out with a win, the score was nothing to write home about, and we actually dropped in the rankings, while the team we beat moved UP. Weird.

This weekend the Gym Dogs suffered a loss to the #1 team in the country, but it felt like a win. We had five scores of 9.9 or higher (including a 9.925 on bars that probably should have been a 10, not that I'm biased or anything, and a 9.95 on floor that should have been ... something less), and we posted a HUGE road score of 196.95. Scores posted away from the home arena become important in three weeks, when the national rankings go to a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) instead of a pure average of all scores earned.

If you don't care how an RQS is determined, you can skip this paragraph. They take a team's top six total team scores, three of which must have been scored away from home, drop the lowest one, and average the remaining five. That's why strong away scores become important. By the time RQS starts, we will have just barely had four away meets, and we already have one score we would like to drop. That's why posting a big score last night was a big step in remaining in the top 10 nationally.

In addition, my FANTASY gymnastics team finally managed to break the 197 mark. I am participating in a game called SimGym with several other women all over the country. We had a "draft" back in December, in which we went through 16 rounds, drafting actual NCAA gymnasts from teams all over the country to make up our fantasy teams. (It was tempting to choose only UGA gymnasts, since I'm most familiar with them, but other folks beat me to some of them.) If you would like to pause here and tell me "get a life," I don't blame you one bit.

I have 16 members of my fantasy team, and each week I have to decide which gymnasts I'm going to put in on each event, along with 3 alternates. Scores are taken from the actual scores those gymnasts receive, and scoring is done just as in actual meets, taking the top five scores from each event. It's frustrating because I don't have the luxury of knowing exactly who is actually going to compete in any given event in any given meet. It's almost a certainty that if I choose not to put a girl in on my beam line-up, for example, she will go 9.9 or higher, and I can't count her score because she wasn't in my line-up.

Yes, I realize my problems are great. For some of them I am considering professional help.

College gymnastics is just one more reason I'm thankful for the internet. Meets are almost NEVER televised live, but more and more schools are offering live video streaming of meets, and live scoring updates are available from every meet going on across the country at any given time.

That means one could have ten or twelve computer windows open, following four or five video streams and four or five more scoring streams.

Speaking in a purely theoretical manner, of course.

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