That was the match play “score” (PDF) of the men’s NCAA competition last weekend.
Illinois 430.600, Minnesota 420.650 was the traditional score. … Under the new 5-up, 5-count format, actually.
A brave and interesting experiment. Congratulations to coaches Justin Spring and Mike Burns for giving it a go.
Ono No Komachi flew out to see the experiment, posting impressions on Uncle Tim – Match-Play Reviewed: The Long-Time Gym Fan’s Perspective
A quick summary:
• one competitor competes at a time
• head to head competition entertaining
• match point strategy
• possibly more engaging for the average spectator
• competition was too long
• traditional scoring was not displayed
• To keep meets a reasonable length, it may be necessary to run two events simultaneously
• show F.I.G. scoring to the audience
• give fans information about the past performance of the gymnasts
Even if nothing comes of this experiment, the Illini have given the sport men’s college gymnastics hope and optimism – two things it sorely needs. For that and the willingness to take risks, they should be commended.
Uncle Tim also posted a report from WAG fan Alison Melko:
I’ve already been to a decent chunk of women’s gymnastics meets during my 4 years here at the University of Illinois, but the only time I’d seen our men compete was during the dual meet against Iowa a few weeks back. …
I’ve seen larger crowds at gymnastics meets, but I honestly can say that I have never experienced such a unified and excited crowd at a gym meet.
Normally at men’s meets, when a score is posted, there’s usually a scattering of applause and maybe a few cheers. I’ve overheard other students talking to each other, wondering if a 14.100 is a good score or if it means we’re in trouble. …
I’ll admit, it was strange for me to not see scores posted at all, but the grand majority of the crowd didn’t seem to have any problem with it.
… People didn’t have to get caught up in a scoring system that made no sense to them – they were simply able to sit back and enjoy the difficulty, beauty, and originality of gymnastics. They were more easily able to engage themselves with the performances and feel the thrill of competition. There’s no guarantee that another meet like this one will ever be put on again in NCAA gymnastics, but to spread the love and enjoyment of the sport, I hope it will.