All X’d out
This time last year, I was sweating like Roger Clemens at a Congressional hearing.My bout with the flu was hitting a feverish pitch. My tonsils doubled in size, my throat was swollen shut and I was resigned to lying in a fetal position on my futon, shedding pounds like the damp T-shirts that piled up on the floor. I downed NyQuil like it was complimentary Bud Light. And despite it all, I considered myself lucky. I missed the first two days of the X Games.Don’t get me wrong. I can survive anything for four days. Covering Winter X pales in comparison to the one weekend I reported on the Connecticut state fencing championships – I contemplated taking a competitor’s blade and poking out both my eyes. (Given the circumstances, I was impressed with my level of restraint.) But the novelty of the games is gone. In its wake is a Mountain Dew-induced haze of 12-hour work days, bad press tent soup, beanie-clad hordes as far as the eye can see, cold feet and the lingering scent of marijuana and stale taco meat. What was once a weekend rife with excitement and anticipation is now little more than a monotonous test of survival. I already know how events will unfold next week.Tanner Hall will score a 95 in the men’s ski superpipe final, whether he deserves it or not. Shaun White will win at least one gold medal (last year was an anomaly), assuming he doesn’t fall or become embroiled in another incident involving a fire extinguisher and a stolen Audi. An allegedly stolen Audi. I’ll be stuck with the Snocross beat. I’d rather cover a senior citizen hockey tournament. Diminutive skier Simon Dumont will show up wearing Jackson Pollock-inspired apparel that could fit Shaq. Sweden’s Jon Olsson will look like he got dressed in a dark room – or raided Elton John’s closet.Someone will throw up in my parking lot.Aspen Times photographer Paul Conrad will slip and fall near the Moto X finish area – that or forget a backup camera battery and spend the entire men’s snowboard superpipe final sitting on the couch in the press tent eating Cheetos. Either way, it will be the highlight of my weekend.On at least one occasion, I’ll mistake the Flying Tomato for Carrot Top; it will be the first time in history that Carrot Top is confused for someone with actual talent.Nate Peterson and I will receive at least one voicemail from a high school parent crying foul because we didn’t cover their son’s or daughter’s basketball game. I know there are 24 hours in a day, but I really hadn’t planned on working all 24. A 12-year old will shatter my top performance at the Army pull-up booth.Othello and other color commentators will put their snowboard boot-covered feet in their mouths on a few occasions. (A few = too many to count.)I’ll keep a running tab of how many times the words “amplitude” and “progression” are used. My conservative estimate is 20,000.Two snowboarders will ask me how to get to Eric’s. I’ll wonder why Taco Bell is a title sponsor, based largely on the assumption that the last thing I’d want in my stomach while attempting a 720 is four taco supremes and a 32-ounce Pepsi. I’ll wonder how many times I can get an X reference into an article, then compile a list that includes Xstatic, Xcitement, X factor, Xtraordinary and Xtravagant. A minute later, I’ll decide that idea is nothing more than an Xercise in futility.I’ll describe a winning pipe run, which includes back-to-back cab 900s, a backside rodeo, an alley-oop and an Indy air, knowing full well that 90 percent of the people who read the story would have an easier time translating Sanskrit than understanding me. A 14-year-old skiing prodigy will put on a display that will make me feel old – believe me, that’s hard to do.Someone will throw up in my parking lot.Brace yourselves.Come on, firstname.lastname@example.org
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