Freestyle On TV: The ESPN Sportscenter Segment

ESPN covered the FPA World Championships as part of its 50 States/50 Days tour. Washington State was represented by freestyle. Yeah, that’s right. Little old us!

ESPN Teasers (3.5mb avi file – right click to save)

ESPN Segment (9.1mb avi file, right click to save)

On Tuesday, the ESPN producers decided they wanted to focus their story around Dave Lewis and Arthur Coddington (that’s me!) as the defending Pairs champions. This surprised me since I figured the tournament would just be background action for Sportscenter and the worlds competitors wouldn’t really get to show freestyle to the world.

The opposite was true. They filmed some b-roll and the Arthur/Dave segment on Thursday, then broadcast Sportscenter live from the competition field on Friday. Word was that the producers were very happy with the footage they got. Though no freestyle was visible during the live news broadcasts, the prerecorded piece aired several times, including teasers.

Shelley Smith interviewed Bill Wright, Dan Magallanes, Dave and me. The audio guy wrote down all our names, then the editors proceeded to misspell Dan’s last name. No fair!!!

For the interview, we sat by Greenlake on a little patch of fake grass, with reflectors softening the light on our tender faces and microphones snaked underneath our shirts. We had to halt production at one point because a duck walked behind Dave Lewis. Bill Wright faced the toughest interview since Shelley Smith is a childhood friend of his. We never heard Bill’s answer about what he was doing in the closet at Shelley’s house that day…

Dave gave the best soundbite of the piece, calling freestyle “the best thing ever.” When Dave told Shelley that his favorite catch was the double spinning barrel gitis, we all looked at each other and chuckled – now Dave would have to actually catch one of them. The pressure was on, but Dave actually had no trouble grabbing his favorite catch for the cameras, and ESPN ended up using the catch for the teasers to the piece.

Cultivate Peace, Play Frisbee: T-Shirts Still Available

The Hunger Site stepped up as the lead sponsor of the 2005 FPA World Championships, creating the tagline “Cultivate Peace, Play Frisbee” for the event. They are an organization devoted to generosity, and we appreciate the generosity they showed our sport this weekend.

Event t-shirts are still available. For each sale, they will donate 25 cups of food toward eradicating hunger worldwide. So you not only get a great t-shirt, you make the world a better place.

2005 FPA Worlds: Expanded Complete Results

The final score in a competition never tells the full story. Knowing that Tom Leitner and Dave Schiller scored 71.9 in the Open Pairs final does not tell you how difficult their moves are, that they went dropless or that their performance was electric.

I have a mental shorthand when looking at Total scores. If a team is over 70 points, they did something special. They played well and the judges really liked it. A score in the high 60’s means the team played a solid but not quite epic routine. Strong finalist teams usually score at least in the low 60’s. Semifinalist teams or higher ranked teams that had a bad day may turn in scores in the 50’s. Scores under 50 indicate either a lower ranked team that is still putting all the pieces together, or a mid-level team that had an off day.

The story does not end with the Total score, though. Each Total score is made up of Difficulty, Execution, and Artistic Impression scores. Some teams specialize in one of the categories. Other teams are generalists, scoring solidly on all three categories. Sometimes one category will be the most important in one round of freestyle, but not important in the next. For instance, if conditions are good and all the teams play cleanly, execution is a wash. Difficulty and Artistic Impression become the deciding factors. If all the teams play at approximately the same skill level, Execution and Artistic Impression become more important. A team that knows its strengths can try to showcase those strengths, work on its weaknesses – or both.

Below are the results of the 2005 FPA Worlds with category scores broken out. There are many stories hidden in the numbers. Which ones can you find?

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