By Lynn Rutherford
They are Billy, Dave and Enrico – an accountant, a banker and an architect who are best friends. In figure skating circles, they’re better known as “The Boys Who Score.”
You may have seen them at a U.S. Championships, or maybe a Skate America. They’re the three guys who tally up their own scores after each man and lady skates, and then show the results to the crowd, using either their notebooks or flip-up charts.
It’s a tradition that started at the 2004 Skate America, held at Pittsburgh’s Mellon Arena.
“That was the first time we started displaying the scores, mainly because we wanted to show we could add the scores up before the actual number [is announced], and it’s relatively close,” Billy said.
“It was popular with the people around us, and we said, we’re going to do this every time.”
They don’t do it to rank skaters, and they aren’t aspiring figure skating judges. Devotees of Michelle Kwan, they realized – after the five-time world champion’s silver-medal performance at the 2002 Olympics – that they not only loved Kwan, they also loved figure skating. Combine that with the International Judging System (IJS) and the Boys’ love of numbers, and a passion for scoring was born.
“We weren’t sure if officials were going to like it, or if people around us were going to like it,” Dave said. “But everyone really did, and that’s what’s been fun, the reactions.”
“Normally, when they agree with our scores, they’re really vocal to say they agree,” Enrico said. “If they disagree, we generally don’t here that much about it. If we do, it’s ‘I have a different score; why do you have that?’ It comes from a questioning viewpoint.”
So, no brouhahas with any opinionated figure skating fans sitting in their section?
“Every once in a while, we will hold something up and someone will say, ‘No, no, that’s not true!’” Billy said. “That has happened but it’s normally in good fun, I think.”
“Sometimes, people will even say, what do the boys think? What do the boys think? And they’ll look for us,” Enrico said.
The Boys’ scores for the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships trend a bit lower than those awarded by the nine official judges. Example: Jeremy Abbott, who gained 90.23 points for his short program in San Jose, earned a high of 87.45 from the Boys, courtesy of Enrico.
“That’s because we’re giving out IJS marks; at nationals, the scores tend to be a little higher,” Billy said.
So what do they think of world champion Patrick Chan’s 302.14 score, earned at the 2012 Canadian Figure Skating Championships?
“We want to go on YouTube and check out those Patrick Chan performances,” Dave said. “I think our scores would have been, combined, at least 30 or 40 points less.”