The Breakdown: All different directions |

The Breakdown: All different directions

Sports editor Bryce Evans

Watching the X Games on TV can be overwhelming. So many sports, so many disciplines, so many neon tall-tees – you feel a bit tired, wary of trying to keep up with all that’s going on.

It’s like listening to a Les Miles press conference: By the time you realize what he’s talking about, he’s already off on another tangent.

Anyway, in honor of Aspen’s annual bro bash taking place as I write this, let’s look at a bunch of different topics in a short span. And like the events in the X Games, these aren’t actually related to one another, but we can pretend they are because, well, they’re sports.

Here we go …

Flying (and flipping) under the radar. Keeping it skeezed for a moment here, I constantly here people wondering why snowboarding and freeskiing haven’t really reached a main-stream audience and hit that money booter into the atmosphere of major sports. Well, there are three main reasons, as I see it:

1. There’s only one major competition a year, thus people only seem to notice or care for one week every year. Granted, I find both sports a heck of a lot more exciting than something like NASCAR, but the main difference between them (besides the amount of PBR drank in attendance at competitions) is that auto racing has a unified series, something that peeks interest at certain times of the year but also keeps people engaged for a long period of time. The Dew Tour has been a nice step, but that still only gives about four weeks, and let’s be honest, most people outside of ski towns only notice what’s on ESPN, and that’s the X Games.

2. No one knows what the heck is going on. Sure, most of us living up here do, but that’s a small minority. The vast majority of people don’t know what riding “switch” means, let alone the difference between a double cork and a McTwist. Some sports are simple: You score more, you win; you’re faster, you win. In judged sports, it’s hard enough to tell who’s better than whom. It’s even harder when you don’t even know what people are doing.

3. Most people never have a chance to do it – at least regularly enough to get involved in the sport. Most main stream sports are, well, main stream enough that people have the opportunity to try them. There isn’t snow in Alabama, there aren’t ski hills in Nebraska. Some people simply never get the chance to try snowboarding or skiing, which means there’s no way they can relate to it.

League’s best or fans’ favorites? Moving on, but not too far on, the NHL has its all-star game today in the hockey hot-bed of North Carolina, and the NBA just announced its starters for their annual jog-through scrimmage, which will be in Los Angeles. Exciting stuff, I know, but the main talk about these games – in the wake of Yao Ming being voted the starting center for the NBA’s West Team despite playing only five games this year – has been about fan voting.

Overall, all-star games are pretty pointless, that is, except for fans getting the chance to see all their favorite players on one sheet of ice or one floor at the same time. Really, the games are all about the fans. Some people say it’s an integral part of the sport. But then why do players put in as much effort as they would playing against their 89-year-old grandmas? These games should be fun, and most importantly, should be captivating to fans. Letting the average Joe pick and choose between super stars makes it more entertaining and actually gives people a reason to care about it.

Hold the Mayo. Speaking of basketball – sort of – Memphis Grizzlies’ guard O.J. Mayo (who coincidentally was paid an all-star-level salary at USC) was the second NBA player in the last two years to test positive for a performance enhancing drug. Mayo claims he had a spiked energy drink.

It doesn’t really matter, because, really, no one cares – at least in the NBA. He’s out for just 10 games. Baseball players are gone for 50 for a bad test; cyclists get two years (unless you’re a Spanish cyclist investigated by your own country and allowed to approve of your own punishment like, say, Alberto Contador). So, I repeat that, Mayo is out for 10 games. That must really strike fear into any basketball player considering an unnatural performance booster.

No faux pas in ‘Foppa’ comeback. Peter Forsberg has been practicing with the Avalanche again. The former league MVP is trying for yet another comeback in the NHL, and it looks like it might be happening, which is definitely a good thing. Sure, people are a little tired of athlete comebacks these days, but “Foppa” was a great player who had his career shortened by injury.

He’s been in and out of the lineup, in and out of the league, hurt, better, fixed, broken so much recently it’s been hard to keep up.

Huh, that reminds me of something.

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