re-post, because the world needs to know how annoying ESPN is right now

Let me start off by saying I have a lot of respect for the Shaun Whites and the Tony Hawks of the world who can do ridiculous things with a skateboard/snowboard/whatever they’re using to pull off these stunts.  But that’s all they are.  Stunts.  Tricks.  Dare-devil acts that ESPN tries to cram down our throats as “sports” with events like the Winter and Summer X-Games.  They’re not just sports to the big corporations looking to profit off of their popularity, they’re EXTREME sports.  Give me a break.

Between the Winter and Summer X-Games, there are 32 current events and 19 that have been removed for one reason or another.  I’ve picked out a few of my “favorites” (ie how the hell is this a sport?).  The following are actual events, I’m not making this up:
Current events
Moto X Best Whip

Past events

Skier and Snowboard X (EDIT: removed this year)
Downhill Skateboarding
Bungee jumping
Barefoot Waterski Jumping
Skateboard and BMX Vert Doubles

I googled best whip.  I watched a couple of youtube videos.  Still trying to figure out how the competition is judged.  I did some more research and apparently they cancelled the Skateboard and BMX Vert Doubles because of all the injuries that occurred.  I guess it was too extreme, but the rest of these past events are just ridiculous.  Bungee jumping?  How can someone “win” at bungee jumping?  ESPN really needs to stop trying to legitimize these events.

I just watched some snowmobiling event where these guys go off a couple of ramps on their way down a hill and perform a few tricks on their run.  One guy flew off his snowmobile and landed flat on his back after a 20 foot drop.  Ouch!  I call it a failed stunt and you’d think the judges would probably just give him a low score.  He’s currently in 1st place.

Now injuries are common in sports, but every year I seem to hear about someone dying or becoming paralyzed in some type of X-Games related accident.  I’m not trying to be insensitive, especially in light of the passing of extreme skier Sarah Burke, but something’s gotta give.  In the days before the X-Games (which started in 1995) you had your Evel Knievels and Eddie Kidds jumping buses and pulling off death-defying stunts.  What they did isn’t far off from what we’re seeing on ESPN every summer and winter.  These extreme sports are dangerous and people are getting hurt.  Excuse me for not wanting to see someone fall several stories in a failed stunt.

It’s not just the absurdity of the events and the high level of danger that turn me off of the X-Games.  I really can’t stand the branding/advertising that goes along with the whole event.  Chris Lilley’s depiction of extreme sports in the series “Angry Boys” mocks contests like the X-Games and exposes them for what they really are- week long commercials trying to sell products to impressionable young kids.  In the show, Tim Okazaki is a straight 16 year old Japanese-American professional skate boarder.  In order to maximize his profitability, his mother Jen Okazaki decides that Tim’s career can be better promoted as not only a cute Japanese boy, but also as a homosexual.  She manages to build a successful empire around Tim’s skateboarding success called, “GayStyle Enterprises”, in which she sells penis-shaped whistles, perfume dispensers, water bottles, and scrubbing brushes, not to mention Tim’s endorsement from Ooshi Cola.

It’s no different from what all the extreme athletes are peddling.  Red Bull.  Monster.  Rock Star.  If I’ve learned anything from the highlights on ESPN (I’ve never been able to sit through an entire X-Games broadcast) it’s if you’re going to do something extreme, you need to be hopped up on an energy drink.  Think about it next time you crack open that can of Red Bull.  Might as well be Ooshi Gay Cola.

So if you’re a fan of the X-Games, good for you.  I’m not trying to tell anyone to change the channel or impose my will upon them, just don’t try to tell me it’s a legitimate sporting event.  These modern day dare-devils do incredible things, but their ability to do a backflip on a snowmobile doesn’t make them an athlete.  You can have your Monoski, Best Trick and Biggest Air, I’ll stick to basketball, football and the other team sports.


  • Corey

    Let me start off by saying I played soccer since I was four, a team sport, and have skid or snowboarded since I was 7, so you understand there is no bias in my opinion. Anyone can join a team, go out on a field, and play a team sport and call themselves athletes and I agree they are. How can you say that the few that have the balls and skill to go out and dare to do things that have never been done, possibly even tried, anything less than ATHLETES? I agree many of them are dare-devils, but to limit them to only that depiction is “absurd”. If ESPN crams anything down anyone’s throat its most certainly football. I agree that a few events are not meant to be a sport (i.e. bungee jumping) as there is no legit format to judge it. Hence the reason it was removed. Others that have been removed such as vert doubles I would like to see make a comeback, but with all the controversy of injuries the X-Games coordinators made a call and the fans have to respect it. The X-Games was originally created to bring like minded ATHLETES to a single stage where they can exhibit their talent and push the envelope, as there was no “Superbowl” event, to put it in terms you understand, back in the mid 90s for them. This yearly progression is what makes the sports “Extreme.” When have you ever seen a team sport actually progressed to a new level? Team sports are measured in defined calculated scores. Extreme sports set a new calculation yearly. Also, back then no one had any idea it would grow into the global trek of events it has become today. Tony Hawk was at that first X-Games and has set a precedent for many skaters and become a role-model to many more. Would you go up to him and say “I respect you, but your a stunt man, not an athlete?” I doubt it. The X-Games has been imitated, but no event has grown to its stature. Remember the Gravity Games? Only the Olympics has stood a greater test of time (how can one compare to that). Surfing is an event in the X-Games that takes incredible endurance. I would thoroughly enjoy watching a seasoned basketball or football player try to paddle out, even on a small day, and then return saying “…that’s all it is. Stunts. Tricks.” because that’s the last thing it is. If your tired of watching people get hurt, which happens less in the X-Games than team sports, then “your excused” to change the channel. ESPN isn’t the only channel on your TV. All the ATHLETES in the X-Games know the inherent dangers, otherwise they wouldn’t be there. They sign liability waivers!
    If you want to refer to the purest form of sport, you need not look any further than the Olympics. Snowboarding has literally broken down that door in the past few Olympics, so will your next post be about “Why you can’t stand the Olympics?” I don’t watch every single event of the X-Games or Olympics, but that doesn’t give me, nor you, the right to bash the talent of the ATHLETES that pour their heart, soul, and lives in to their respective disciplines. Have you ever seen a monoski race? Do you even know what a monoski is? Its basically a light weight chair mounted to a ski or snowboard via a high pressure piston. It gives snowboarders or skiers, that have had accidents rendering there legs paralyzed, a venue and chance to continue to showcase their skill and competitive nature bombing down a mountain. Those guys are absolutely gnarly, and probably understand what it means to be an ATHLETE more than anyone. The monoski is also used for therapy for all kinds of disabled, not just skiers and snowboarders. It gives them a since of freedom that I imagine they rarely feel. I severely broke my femur snowboarding and decided, before the doctors told me I would eventually walk again, that that would be the path for me if the bad went worse.
    The X-Games is more than the sum of its parts. Almost all of the sports extend much further than this one event. The X-Games are there for progression. It pushes people to perform at there top level. Some of the newest, and my personal favorite, events are “real world” competitions by video entry such as backcountry snowboarding and free surfing. Lastly, sponsors are a necessary evil. Most ATHLETES wouldn’t have careers without them, including team sports, because that’s who pays or endorses the athletes. Also very very few extreme sports ATHLETES make the astronomical figures exhibited regularly in the NFL and NBA. I would much rather “impressionable kids” see Monster or Redbull commercials, rather than beer commercials that are littered through every football and basketball game. Also I think you might be a homophob, but if not the issue still stands with Tim Okazaki’s mother creating a business to take care of her family, not yours, and has absolutely nothing to do with the sports. I suggest you stick to team sports, as you said, including in your writing.
    I respect your opinions and freedom to voice them, as we supposedly live in a free country, but not your audacity to write such a post, thus my response. Good day.

    • Hook

      Cool story, bro. You’ve officially composed the longest reply to an article on Total Sports Blog that isn’t blatant spam. Cheers and congratulations.

      Tony Hawk is one of the best stuntmen of all time. I used to love playing his video game when I was a kid. No matter how athletic he or any other X-Games performer may be, I don’t consider riding a skateboard, snowboard, monoski, or snow mobile a sport. For good measure, I don’t consider NASCAR a sport either. I have no problem telling Tony Hawk any of this to his face.

      You’re entitled to your opinion, as am I. In no way, shape, or form is this an audacious post. It’s an opinion piece. I can’t stand the X-Games. Based on your use of the word “gnarly” to describe paralyzed stuntmen, it’s safe to assume you disagree with me and love the X-Games.

      As for being a homophob (sic), I have no qualms with the LGBT community. I used the Angry Boys example to showcase how ridiculous the partnering of extreme sports with every energy drink under the sun is. I didn’t mean to offend you if you are a homosexual.

      Thank you for reading and I hope you continue to visit Total Sports Blog.

      • Corey

        Well here’s a short one.
        It was only as long as needed to counter your post. Did you have a hard time reading something that long? I don’t love the X-Games and have had my own issues with it, but I understand why its there. I love many of the sports and associated ATHLETES. What makes an athlete an athlete to you? A jersey? “Gnarly” is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary. If you’ve ever seen a monoski race you would understand why I used it. Its first use was in 1773. I said I respect your opinions pertaining to it being an opinion piece. No I’m not offended and not homosexual. Just don’t understand why you choose to bash things when you could just write about what you like instead. And no I wont be returning to totalsportsblog unless you continue the jeering, which was not needed. However, it does show a bit of your character.

        • Hook

          Your 2nd comment is still kinda long.

          As per my response, I clearly read your entire lengthy comment. The only difficulties I had reading it were the multiple spelling and grammatical errors, like when you used “your” when you meant “you’re” on 3 separate occasions, and “there” instead of “their” twice. I’d mention the run-on sentences too, but this is the internet and I understand how difficult it can be to formulate a cohesive thought when rambling.

          I bashed ESPN and other media outlets/people who consider the events in X-Games sports. Sports, skills, and stunts are all separate things in my opinion. I consider something a sport when a person or team competes head-to-head against another person or team in an athletic competition. Driving cars, riding motorcycles and/or snowmobiles are skills, and anything that involves tricks are stunts.

          My response to your comment was necessary to defend my position. I jeer only in jest, I don’t mean to offend you at all. I write articles like these to express my opinion and occasionally engage in conversation with the people that read them. 99% of the time I’m writing about things I like, but once in a while I feel the need to vent, like when the X-Games come around and ESPN advertises them every 15 minutes on TV.

          • Corey

            Indeed it was a ramble that took 2 minutes. Without a proofread, I’m not worried about grammatical errors. If I had, the mistakes wouldn’t be there, but since you insist, quotations are meant to be set off with commas (I.e. ,”your,”). Your idea of, “long,” is laughable.

          • Hook

            That comment is about the normal length on our site.

            If anything I probably should have used ‘ instead of “, but I think you’re wrong about commas and quotations. Here, this’ll help: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/marks/quotation.htm

            Making the same mistake several times shows a misunderstanding of the English language or lack of intelligence, not a lack of proofreading. I may not know all the rules of the English language when it comes to punctuation, but I know the difference between homophonic heterographs.

            I’m pretty intelligent and can do this all day. I suggest you give up.

          • Corey

            You’re ignorant if anything.

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