Wow. X Games. OK, that’s a wrap. Having witnessed and visually consumed all 13 in one manner of speaking or the next I can say this was kind of a let down. No, actually strike that. It was a total let down. Due to the high profile status and the dollars that track the athletes into and out of the X Games it has become “the” marquee event for the mainstream to globally consume action sports. If you ask any skater or BMX rider they could give two shits less but the truth is they’ll all be watching. Why do we watch? We know that something big might happen and when you have a passion for the things you do … you want to bear witness to the action and did I witness. I saw a man nearly die, another led to is crashing demise and others, countless others chase down TV time. As I’ve said before with the good comes the bad so let’s dive right into it all…
He’s Still the Tomato
I think I am the last remaining hold out that does not believe in this kids hype. I think Shaun is a great guy and he’s on top of the world. A few great years, pro skate and snowboard endorsements coming out the wazoo and in his early 20’s he’s in full on party mode.. Not to mention he slays every half pipe he comes into contact with. So why when he’s skating does it feel like I am watching a mother f*cking gymnastics routine? Maybe he is too effortless. Maybe it’s his big flowing style. There is nothing wrong with any of those but it doesn’t feel like I’m watching skating. His lines between skating and snowboarding seem so similar. I can throw out any number of excuses: he doesn’t do lip tricks, his style is awkward or his line is too snowboard-like. The bottom line is this: pick one thing and do it well. If you are going to skate, then skate. If you are going to snowboard, then snowboard. This doing “both” … just isn’t working.
One Shining Scary-Ass Moment
Let’s be very clear here: Jake Brown should be dead. A fall like that it’s go nothing regarding skill or technique that keeps you alive. It’s sheer blind, dumb luck. Right now Brownie is the luckiest man to be alive. He snatched the luck away from somebody else and they are paying the price that is for sure. What made the matter even a bit creepier is that it happened live. What pushed the “Douche Chill” factor to 11 on a scale of 1-10 is that fact that ESPN kept trotting him out as if to say “See, the little Aussie F*cker lived! We aren’t liable for sh*t!” Actually, it was just weird. We were all happy he lived but honestly there are a few slams I try not to revisit: Miller at Upland, Ben in the loop, Bob jumping into the Grand Canyon and of course now Jake Brown. I’ve never fallen as hard as those guys but I’ve taken some good falls. No need to stir up the bad memories but an anonymous source put it best this weekend “It scares me that ESPN Execs cheer when a rider crashes super hard”. Get well soon Jake and we hope to see you ripping soon.
Please tell me Cara-beth did not get screwed out of a gold medal and Hawkins got one because she tried a McTwist. Note, I said “tried” and not “pulled”. That would be even too much for me to handle. I can’t even begin to digest how messed up that is. Then again ESPN is notorious for giving athletes leeway to get it done ala’ Tony Hawk’s 900 in San Francisco. I will say this ladies you should just bring Matt Dove to every competition he might actually be good at keeping it legit, if he’s not burning bridges.
I’m going to say Skate Street was good. Not great, but that can be corrected. I mean Felix, Muska, Hosoi all on the mic solid. Reynolds, Koston, Cole, Appleyard and the lot just throwing down a bunch of bangers. Solid. After watching it in person in 2006 and then watching the webcast I doubt I’ll ever go in person again. I saw more amazing tricks sitting at my computer with a tasty beverage in 30 minutes than I saw all last year.
Start Your Engines: Motocross racing, rally car racing, Supermoto
I really have no idea what happened here or why they are in the X Games. Can somebody please call bare foot water ski jumping, bungee jumping and adventure racing. They are about to have company really soon. I doubt it because motocross brings in more money than BMX, skate and surfing collectively.
Again, no complaints. Surfing on real waves in Mexico. Again, broken record time, is there a reason we can’t have skating on a real street?
Double Back Flip
This was blogged about, hyped up and we were all let down. Scott Murray didn’t let us down. Nope he lived up to his end of the bargain. Granted, who knows how smart he is for trying a trick on national TV he only landed twice but that’s neither here nor there. Nah, it was weird and a let down hearing the announcers know just how close this guy was to breaking himself off. Again, applauding execs, carnage…you do the math.
So some overall closing thoughts for ESPN and then we’ll never talk about X Games again, at least until winter. Here we go. Skate and BMX street/park. Put ‘em on a real street. Make it happen. If you can drag a bunch of surfers to Mexico to be on real waves you can block off a street in the Valley. Not that hard. Really. By the way skating or riding a vert ramp isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Move it indoors. No wind, no sun, less fatigue. Better skating and riding. speaking of things indoors at least tape delay the Mega Ramp. If you are going to raise the risk factor to a point where their safety is questionable … put it on tape delay. While we are on the topic of tape delay nice to see the guerilla cam finally show up. More of the guerrilla cam stuff. You guys actually did that well. Only it came about four or five days late. So that’s a wrap on the X Games. See you in Aspen and then EXPN might actually update their site a few times between now and then.