The Mall Diva and I did a little sports-watching bonding Saturday night. Nope, it wasn’t football, basketball, figure-skating or her new-found favorite, hockey. It wasn’t even lacrosse (sports with sticks that you can hit people with usually get her attention). We were watching the Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe competition at the Winter X-games.
Truth be told, she was already watching the event when I arrived in the basement hoping to check out what was on the movie channels. We have just one television in the house and really only one rule on what to watch – he (or she) who gets there first, rules. Since she was unmoved by my puppy eyes and salesmanship, the SuperPipe it was.
Actually, it was pretty interesting. I’ve not followed the so-called “X” sports that much since I’m of the generation that prefers coffee to cola as a morning eye-opener and gravity and I have long-since settled on the terms of my surrender. SuperPipe is a long, wide tube with the top cut off and the sides and bowl packed with snow. Contestants snowboard back and forth across the “pipe”, riding up and over the sides high into the air while doing twists, flips and other stunts, mixed in with the occasional face-plant. Hey – women in danger; now that’s good TV!
Besides appreciating the skills and “did you see that!” moments of this particular event I was amazed at how much my daughter knew about the sport and the contestants. While I can go three-deep on the NFL’s team by team skill position rosters, the snowboarding stars, jargon and arcania section of my memory capacity is as fresh and unmarked as a slope of new powder. According to my daughter, someone called – what was it, the Raging Tomato, Flaming Tomato, Flying Tomato? – had already won the men’s competition and the leader in the women’s event was Kelly Clark, the American girl favored to win gold at next month’s Olympics and someone who has the name “Jesus” painted in large pink script on the bottom of her board. A shredder for Our Savior? I can dig it.
This is definitely a different kind of event, and one that hasn’t caught the eye of network advertisers yet since we saw the same two commercials over and over (“what do you think your beard is doing all day, taking a nap?”) but it has more than just attitude to set it apart from more traditional women’s winter sports. The competitors wear baggy, kind of punk, “uniforms’ instead of the skintight suits of skiers or the foofaraw of figure-skating outfits, and when the ladies are interviewed at the end of their runs they inevitably have hat hair, creases on their face from goggles and flaming red noses. No, this definitely isn’t figure skating. The girls have, however, mastered the big-time trick of keeping their sponsors’ names (including Jesus) prominently displayed for the cameras.
I think I can get to like this.