Some random personal randomness from the X Games in Aspen |

Some random personal randomness from the X Games in Aspen

Barry Smith

ASPEN — The announcer was pumped. Fully pumped. Dude. And from atop the Moto X jump he let us, the not-so-pumped crowd, know that in just a moment he needed us to “generate about 60 seconds of mayhem” because there was a “TV thing” going on.On his cue, the cameras lit up and the crowd went all mayhem-ismal.In what I decided was the true spirit of “alternative” sport all the individualism and stuff I only generated about 15 seconds of mayhem. Hey, I make my own rules, man. I might have been able to squeeze out another five seconds of mayhem if the free samples they handed out at the Mountain Dew tent had been a little larger.I don’t know, I kinda like to spread my mayhem out a little, make it last all day. As extreme sports become more and more accepted into the mainstream, I can’t help but feel a tug of pity for the Olympic athletes whose sports will certainly be squeezed out in the next few years to make room for the new. Sorry, up-and-coming javelin hopefuls. You have my sympathy, shot putters. Hammer throwerswell, you must have known your days were numbered when you started. It seems a bit ironic that the X Games is touted as a non-smoking event. No one seemed to pay too much attention to that rule, and rightly so if you can’t stand at the foot of a mountain, about as outdoors as you can get, and have a cigarette, then where can you? Also, when it comes to extreme activities, wouldn’t smoking pretty much top the list? Statistically a far more risky pursuit than hurling yourself through the air with a snowmobile in tow. And speaking of corporate sponsorship, I guess I wasn’t paying close enough attention, but when did fast-food tacos become synonymous with incredible athletic activity? Every big sporting scene needs to have some sort of foam headgear associated with it I understand that but I don’t see the connection between wearing a giant foam rubber taco on your head and, well anything. And I like tacos. I’m not ashamed to admit that I watched the men’s snowboard superpipe finals an amazing event which was walking distance from my house while sitting on my couch, next to a fire, wrapped in a blanket. Each time the camera panned the rosy faces of the fans braving the subzero temperatures, I thought, “There but for the grace of God freeze my balls.” As the motorcycle, complete with rider, gracefully rotated backward through the air, pausing midrotation long enough for the rider to remove his hands from the bike, then his feet, then take a sandwich from his pocket, take three bites, rewrap the sandwich and replace it in his jacket, take a swig of water, brush and floss his teeth, check his cell phone messages and then complete the rotation, gently touching back down on the snow, the kid standing in front of me turned to his friend and said, disgusted, “That’s IT!?”And I thought I had mayhemgenerating issues. I see his point, though life is so much cooler in video games. While ambling, eyes to the ground, with the crowd from one event to the next, I went to wipe my nose on my glove, and as I did so looked up to see an ESPN camera about 3 feet from my face, pointed right at me, with the camera operator actively focusing on my nasal clearing.At that moment I remembered the statistics I read earlier in the week, about how the X Games is being broadcast live to something like 8,000 countries in three different solar systems. With the entire planet glued to my every move, I executed a smooth frontside 720 lien wipe, followed nicely by a switch Mctwist 540 snot transfer down the side of my pants.Unfortunately, my glove snagged my pocket on the way down and the judges docked me accordingly, which ruined my chances of advancing to the finals. But 2005 will be MY year!Barry Smith, an Aspen-based freelance writer, moves his lips while writing this column, and hopes you do the same while reading it. E-mail him at or visit his Web page at

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