Friday, January 26, 2007

Ode to the X Games

What to watch this weekend in a quiet, cold and depressed New England?

How about Winter X Games 11?

Before we get to Winter X 11 let’s take a look at some of the defunct events that won’t be showing up on ESPN this year.

Moto X Best Trick – Yeah, dirt bikes + jumps + snow = bad news bears/broken bones.

Snow BMX Racing – This one was pretty cool too bad it had to do go. It had some great non-life threatening crash potential

Skiboarding – Totally lame. Like inline skating crossed with skiing, seems a little bit like a wanna be sport (not that I could ever do any of the stuff they do)

Ice Climbing – no real comments, I’m calling indifference.

Super-Modified Shovel Racing – undoubtedly the coolest f’ing sport you’ve never heard of. Highest crash potential, the “shovels” look like spaceships, why did they get rid of it I’m not sure but I’m so glad that I just looked it up and I’m going to youtube to look for videos now. (no luck on the videos…sorry)

On to Winter X 11…

Tonight we’ve got Snowmobile SnoCross round one…ok not really that excited about that one. I’m not from Rumford, ME snowmobile racing doesn’t do it for me…but we’ve also got Men’s Skiing SuperPipe, which does do it for me and since we’ve got no snow here I’m jonesin for some skiing.

Simon Dumont (fellow New Englander) threw down a 91.00 in his second run of qualifying and beat out Tanner Hall (88.00), last years champ, to take the top spot heading into the finals. These two are clearly at the top of their games and of the sport. The next closest qualifier was Peter Olenick at 77.33.

After watching Dumont and Hall go off last year, this year’s final should be a battle. Expect some sick spins from Hall and some un-Godly airs (22+ feet out of the pipe) from Dumont.

p.s. both Dumont and Hall had some ridiculous crashes two years ago. Here is Dumont’s (He broke his pelvis in three places). Here’s Hall’s (both ankles, broken).

I’m a big ski fan so I’ll be excited for SuperPipe and SlopeStyle but I’ll also be watching Skier X. This race is like motocross on skis. It’s equal parts Super G and slope style. It’s like if they took regular ski racing and made it cool.

I have a deep appreciation for these guys and gals because I skied in a very small Skier X race in NH last year. I was incredibly frightened at the speed of the race and the size of the jumps (or hits if you will) and this was a chump race at Pats Peak. These people are a little bit nuts and they’re not even throwing 22 foot airs like Dumont.

Another set of events I’ll be watching is Snowboard SlopeStyle, Boarder X and Snowboard SuperPipe. Snowboard SuperPipe has to be the marquee event of the Winter X Games. You’ve got Shaun White, who is ‘action sports’ next Tony Hawk type athlete. After he took the Olympic Gold in pipe last winter he solidified his position as such.

White has the same household name that Hawk does. The Birdman brought skateboarding to the mainstream, thanks largely to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and the X Games; he really has to be one of the most recognizable athletes in America, in name and image.

I would put Michael Jordan at number one and Hawk at number two, at least in terms of my generation. I think Shaun White has that same feel to him. I know I’ll be tuning in to see what the Flying Tomato throws down at the Winter X Games just like Tony Hawk was a huge draw for me in the Summer X Games.

My point being that guys like that are exciting to watch and draw in casual fans, especially people my age that grew up imagining they were playing in game seven of the World Series or the Super Bowl but also pretending to skate, board or ski in the X Games. Plus the X Games theme music comes from the very end of Closer by Nine Inch Nails...gotta love that
Nope no mention of any Boston teams, Simon Dumont is my New England team this week. See I really am ok with last Sunday…it just took a week.
p.s. my "Jack Bauer Joke" just got read on the air on WBCN...yes I rule...thank you Adam 12. Alright it's not my joke I found it on the internet but it was still funny...unfortunately I didn't win anything.
p.p.s. Here's the joke. "Tony was once shot in the neck, rushed to the hospital, underwent emergency surgery and was back on the job in just a few hours. Jack still can't believe that pussy went to the hospital first."
Enjoy the weekend.

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