Saturday, February 18, 2006

Snowboarders

I've been watching the snowboarders at the Olympics. I'm not a big sports fan, but I'm a long time snowboarder.

I keep hearing everyone scream about Lindsey Jacobellis hotdogging at the last minute and blowing her gold medal snowboard cross run. She's getting ripped a new one, by the press. Here's a pretty representative example:

BARDONECCHIA, Italy -- Lindsey Jacobellis had gold in her reach. Then she reached for her snowboard instead.

She had a chance to step on top of the medal stand, wrap herself in an American flag and hear "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Then she went for one last roar from the crowd, stupidly trying a flashy trick when all she needed to do was slide down the hill.


These guys don't know thing one about boarding.

I've been boarding nearly as long as this poor kid has been alive. My first board was one of the big Burtons that looked like a surfboard without the fin, with one flat end. Look down at the pic. See that 1989 board on the far right? Yep. My first board.

Image hosting by Photobucket I've boarded a long time. I'm definitely not Olympic class, and never was. When I started, it was damned hard to find ski areas that even let boarders ride the chairs up the mountain. We perversely took pride in that.

So when I tell you what I'm about to tell you, understand that it's because I've loved this sport since its beginnings.

I respect Lindsay Jacobellis' attitude toward snowboarding much, much MORE--not less--for doing what came naturally and grabbing that edge, in the air, at the end of a terrific run. That right there gave her away as truly a boarder's boarder.

Way to go, Lindsey. Be proud of yourself, kiddo--I cheered when I saw you do that. I was frankly stunned and saddened that I hadn't seen a boarder do something similar until that point.
With that simple trick, you embodied what this sport is all about, and why I still love it.


Piss Off, Big Sports Media Guys. You have no idea.

18 comments:

Jen said...

I have to agree with you, Mac, even though if you were to see me, you'd KNOW without a doubt that I'm probably one of the least athletic people around. *s*

I don't get it that the press has been giving her such a hard time about it. Hells bells, (1) she's human and (2) she did a damn good job!

She admitted in an interview last night that she might have goofed in doing that, but she was still extremely happy to win silver. Kudos to her. :)

E is for Editrix said...

I've never been on a snowboard in my life, but I'm from a family of snow-sport fanatics. My youngest sister is a wicked snowboarder. I myself have been watching the skiing and snowboarding in total awe.

These people are the BEST in the world, and we give them crap for having a hard time or messing up a little here and there? I just watched Bode Miller screw up but keep his balance on ONE SKI going downhill at god knows how many miles per hour.

People can say whatever they want, but these athletes got this far, and that's a million times more impressive than anything I'd ever do on skis. (Unless you count falling down. I'm really good at that, and have photos of the bruises to prove it.)

Mac said...

The thing about boarding is that showboating--if we have to call it that--is intrinsically part of the sport. It had its beginnings as an in your face, I'm-having-more-fun than YOU'RE-having sport for misfits, surf and skate bums and thrillseekers.

I've been dismayed, watching the Olympics deaden that spirit, and try to portray, regulate and rigidify boarding into something both more conventional and more exclusive.

This is why the X-gamer types thumbed their noses at conventional sports venues, for so long.

Lori said...

I have to agree. I've never had an opportunity to try snowboarding and undoubtedly I'd fall flat on my face if I did, but sports, all sports, should be about the love of the game, the thrill of the competition, and just about having fun, even when you're competing at world-class levels.

Hats off to her for appearing to remember that.

Jean Marie said...

Okay, fine, I'll weigh in on this one, Mac!

First off, I grew up in S. Cal where all the cool stuff was invented! I lived in Pacific Palisades and was on the beach/bodysurfing constantly. Skateboarded. Skim-boarded. My brother used to make them. I'd take 'em. Skied at Mammoth. Learned to race downhill. Total blast! And then along came boarding.

I've always been a skier-can't anymore. My nieces and nephews all board and are great at it. One nephew just graduated from Stanford, 2 time NCAA water polo and nephew 2 is following along. Athletic family. It's in the family credo.

Boarders and skiers have had a rivalry-a healthy one. Separate runs and all. Not in the beginning though. Boarders liked to run across skiers tails-not nice etiquette! on any mountain! Long way from there.

I'm all for enthusiasm in celebrating victory. I just wish Lindsey had waited 2 more seconds. When she looked over her right shoulder, just before she went up and grabbed the edge, she didn't see whatshername and thought she was safe.

That being said, the media needs to quit hammering her. They're being way unfair. As usual.

Ms Ironic said...

Yes, that was absolut fantastic what she did!

(And the reason, why I say that is - I am swiss and so WE won!)

And by the way - I am not doing snow sports. I was married with a snowboard teacher, but the only one I learnd about boarding is - it hurts.

Mac said...

Ms. Ironic, congrulations to your Swiss shredder, to! All of those young women are amazing.

Jean Marie said...

I'm just glad they added boarding to the Olympics, it's a lot of fun to watch.

All those women were awesome!!

Sara said...

Mac- It broke my heart to see Lindsey biff the landing and take a wipe out. I've done my fair share of boarding and skiing, but I'd call my self a boarder before I'd admit to skiing ;-) My whole problem with the hotdogging at the end is that this isn't the pipe, it's cross, which means speed. You never see a speed skater (substitute skier, bobsledder, luger, whatever) pull a trick at the end when they're winning. They stay in "Olympic athlete mode" until the finish line, then party. I wasn't surprised to see her do it, but it did remind me of how young she is and how much pressure everyone puts on these kids.

doc-t said...

Well,

I suppose if Lindsey's goal was to show people what a boarder's boarder is like, then I what you say makes sense.

If what is done in the olympic games isn't what lindsey considered "snow boarding" and she wanted to show them what it was, then perhaps she did that.

If she wanted to give the world a glimpse of what real snowboarding is... perhaps she did that, and she can be happy with her performance.

I can appreciate that "showboating is part of the sport when it is not in the olympics. But is showboating something the olympic judges can quantify? Should they quantify it?

You see, these judges have to be given a strict set of rules or guidelines by which to judge and score by.

Perhaps lindsey should have found another means of lobbying to get showboating back into the olympic games.

I admit, I'm not a snowboarder. I've never even been snowskiiing.

But i have competed... Football, baseball, and Kick boxing.

Showboating was never a good thing. It took your focus off of winning. it suggested you were so cocky (and cocky isnt always a bad thing) that there was no way you could ever be defeated. You played the game, you played the best you could, you played it till it was done! Always till it was done.

I always thought the goal in an olympic competition was to win the medal. To get the gold.


I hope, if Lindsey did not want the gold, she told her coach and the people who supported her that her goal was not to win the gold but to show the world what a boarder's boarder is..

then they were NOT dissappointed.

but if she told them she was going to do what it took to win the gold. She failed.

Simple as that.

.:J.r.A.:. said...

This post kind of reminded me of Kelly Clark in the Superpipe. She didn't win a medal, but she made women's snowboarding history. She goes big, she goes fast, she takes chances. She fell at the end of her last run, but what she had already done was amazing. She went for a big 900, the biggest ever seen in women's competition, but couldn't stick the landing.

“No medal for Clark, but she takes a leap forward for women’s riding.”

Snowboarding (and many other sports) rely on innovation and creativity for progression. If people just stick to the book to get a medal or title, no one gets anywhere. Some of the snowboarding culture comes from rejecting standards and "the mainstream".

The women of snowboarding are pretty awesome...They act like a team, and seem truly happy for each other.

~J

Mac said...

J-yeah, you got it. Doc-T, what I'm saying is that it was a legitimate way to lose the gold, not a fuck-up loss. If she'd landed it, no one would have said a thing, because whether its about speed, back-country, pipe tricks, or old fashioned carving--boarding isn't like any other way to do those things.

So, yeah. Maybe the Olympic judges need to figure out how to factor in style points.

doc-t said...

mac,

I never said it was a fuck-up loss...

I know people have a tendency to read between the lines. but in this case... don't.

I know almost nothing about snowboarding...I did not watch the event... I did not see what she did.

did she do a great job? It definitely seems so... she won a silver!

did she push the olympic envelope and show peole what the 'real' sport of snowboarding further. According to what I read here, yes she did...

my point was.... was that what she was there to do, and did the people supporting her know that, or did they think she was there to win the gold.

I use to kick box. (a lifetime ago) and there were certain rules I didnt like. Certain directions the sport was going that I didnt like. but when competing, i was there to win, and i followed the rules.

I mean no disrespect here.

Mac said...

Hey, Doc--absolutely none taken. :) I thought perhaps I'd expressed myself badly--but even so, disagreeing with me is hardly the same as disrespect. Hell, ask J. I taught her to snowboard. She disagrees with me all the time about stuff.

Welcome, by the way. I'm always grateful when people take the time to comment. So, thank you. *grin*

Frank Baron said...

Um, how many times did you fall on your head Mac?

Just askin'....

;)

.:J.r.A.:. said...

Frank....I'm pretty sure I can vouch for at least one good face plant on Mac's part...

And the things we disagree on tend to be along the lines of what time I should wake up and feed horses in the mornings...or how many hours straight you can play CIV3 and still be a semi-productive member of society... :D

I remember us talking about how the falls make you feel like a snowboarder...make you feel like you tried something...took a risk...and thats what its about. Snowboarding is unique because of these qualites you've all mentioned. It's just different than some other sports.

~J

JL4 said...

I was looking for a chuckle or a smile. Thanks for providing that for me everyone.

Anonymous said...

Is there a men's snowboarding team too?