Note to self: Celebrate after you cross the finish line.
Snowboarder Lindsay Jacobellis started her victory party in the Snowboard Cross just a wee bit too soon, grabbed her snowboard in midair with a twist in what snowboarders call a “method grab,” and then unmethodically grabbed a seat full of snow when she landed, a move known as “losing the Olympic gold medal.”
Oh well, winning isn’t everything, as Bode Miller says.
Snowboarding is the new kid on the Olympic block, with “Snowboard Cross” the latest addition to the wide world of Olympic sport, also known as “desperate for ratings.” Snowboard Cross is a hybrid of snowboarding and motocross without a motorcycle, a four-person downhill demolition derby similar to what we used to do as kids standing on Flexible Flyer sleds, minus the helmets, of course.
Unlike ice dancing and half pipe snowboard, there are no “style points” in Snowboard Cross; you just have to cross the finish line while standing on your snowboard, a fact that apparently slipped Jacobellis’ mind. What do you expect in a sport that had to apply for a THC exemption when it hit the Olympics? Then again, marijuana isn’t exactly known to be a “performance enhancing drug.”
Nobody knows for certain when snowboarding was invented. Anthropologists generally trace its origins to a ski resort in Colorado where a terminally bored 14 year-old skateboarder was forced to endure a two-week luxury ski vacation with his parents. Desperate for excitement after being ejected from the hotel lobby for practicing his grinds on the edge of the registration desk, the kid took the wheels off his skateboard, strapped on a pair of ski boots, and was doing Fakie 900’s by mid-afternoon and speaking a nearly incomprehensible form of English. When asked about it later, the kid said, “That was totally sick, dude,” which meant he really liked it.
Snowboarding is more statement than sport, more attitude than action, a revolt against the straight-laced “establishment” represented by conventional downhill skiing. There is no greater thrill for snowboarders than to slash a perfectly powdered run leaving what looks like a Chicago side street in the middle of winter. Compared to skiing, snowboarding is easier to learn, especially the falling on your rear end part. Unlike downhill skiers whose uniforms are spray painted to their bodies, snowboarders wear baggy clothing to pad their iPods when they land on their butts, which is often. They also have a tendency to wander off the beaten trail, a move called “poaching,” which often results in what is commonly known by the authorities as “search and rescue."
For those who you who aren’t connoisseurs of the snowy sports, I offer you a few simple analogies to help you connect the dots. Snowboarding is to downhill skiing as:
skateboarding is to surfing
PC is to Macintosh (couldn’t resist)
Dick Cheney is to a skilled marksman
Bode Miller is to Jean Claude Killy
contemporary Christian music is to Bach’s B-minor Mass
praise worship is to historic liturgy
Jessica Simpson is to Albert Einstein
evolutionary biology is to particle physics
go carts are to Formula One racing
rap is to jazz
white Zinfandel is to Cabernet
Hopefully, you get the point.
Let’s get serious. When it comes to white hot fire on ice, non-stop, massive, sick, gnarly, X-treme winter games action, there is really only one serious contender: