Posts Tagged ‘ESPN’

Stardate 91361.54: When Shit Got Real In Foz Do Iguacu And Several Other International Locales

October 3, 2013

shutdown

In a true parable of our times, ESPN and the X-Games determined earlier today to slice four international stops from the great vert ramp routine that is the expanded X-Games contest season. After nobly floating ramps in overseas locales to the ticklement of foreign-born action sportsters, the X-Games chickens shall come home to roost in the U.S., just as the world’s largest economy writhes in the throes of a national budgetary impasse and considers chicken-counting of a different sort altogether.

“[T]he overall economics of these events do not provide a sustainable future path,” ESPN said in a statement.

X-Games’ 18-month sojourn abroad, cut short by those unyielding mistresses Dollar and Cents, is a cautionary tale that saw certain ESPN officials subtly ringing alarm bells months ago. Internet website Dead Spin.com last April disclosed an ESPN memo regarding the Brazilian event that characterized the international push’s path to financial success as “extremely” difficult, employing language designed to resonate with network loyalists who brought the world the first ever YOLO flip on a snowboard, Gymkhana GRID and a previous 50-Cent concert.

As per the alleged memo:
Hourly folks – don’t push the OT. If it’s 9:10, take the 9:00 out – don’t push for 9:30. Heck, maybe you’d like to actually contribute an hour or two of your OT to the cause and take a 7:00 out. Trust me – no one’s going to the bank on this one. If this idea appeals to anyone, we can start an honorary wall of contributors in the office.

Were the international X-Games sunk due to the freewheeling and spendthrift ways of folks unable to look beyond the next hour of OT? Did revenues, already under pressure as Brazil succumbs to the twin maladies of soccer and Olympic fever, dribble away like so many bottles of water stuffed into worksite-bound backpacks? Will a failure to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and subsequent dents to the American sovereign credit rating further crunch the performance of the remaining domestic X-Games? Would Bastien Salabanzi have “shut it down” at the French stop and potentially replicated the YOLO flip for a skateboard audience?

In Which We Feel Some Kind Of Way About Exclusive Breaking News As Reported By ESPN

July 30, 2012

As the inventor of Craig Kilborn and the Espy award, ESPN has made its bones in the world of mainstream sport, often heard bragging to other media outlets in the locker room about how much the network and its affiliated websites and publishing divisions can bench-press. In recent days ESPN.com, a web portal operated by ESPN, has flexed its own muscles in the arena of digital journalism, publishing an online exclusive breaking story that Nick Dompierre is in the hospital recovering from a coma induced by a drug overdose sources say.

Now, any discussion of this type of topic ought to be prefaced with a note to the effect that we at Boil the Ocean Rims & Chrome Pipes plc hope the best for Nick Dompierre and his family, and that we sat up a bit straighter on the sofa when we seen the 360 flip at the end of his section in “Roll Forever.” As to whether or not the world needs to know of such things as celebrity/public figure drug overdoses is a matter for TMZ’s legal squadron, and the ethics of running an unbylined article based on anonymous sources is a matter we shall assume was debated hotly by those furry mascots that run the ESPN network, or so I understand from seeing some of their television ads. One can only guess that with the glare of the Olympics generally blotting out all other sporting at the moment, ESPN’s attention will be trained on non-skating athletes that make choices to imbibe intoxicants in and around competitive events, such as that skier bro who bummed out portions of the country a few years ago due to his lackadaisical partying ways.

On our messageboards and emails though the Dompierre item on ESPN has ruffled some feathers, though you may wonder why — we slurp up legends of pro-level debauchery like so many melting chipwiches when they’re related via Big Brother scans, Epicly Later’d confessionals or the odd magazine interview, relishing these partly because dudes like to think this is the type of heady, irresponsible freedom that your major-league baseball bat swinger or Olympic shot-putter isn’t able to discuss as openly, much less talk about the other pros there, what the cops said when they showed up and how much it cost to bail Antwuan Dixon out the next day. So even in the big four magazines nowadays it’s no big whoop to discuss weed smoking, beer guzzling, ecstasy and assorted psychedelics, and though powders and various injectables remain dicey, for those dudes that come out the other side the cautionary tales and recovery scars have become generally accepted gravitas.

In some ways it’s a little rich to get all high and mighty about this ESPN.com blurb, what when the online bulletin board system derives much of its perpetual motion from a volatile fuel composed partly of pro shenanigans, which alongside rumors of tricks recorded provides a grittier base to the constant froth over who is or ain’t keeping it real. In other ways though it smarts to see mainstream media outlets providing the type of juicy celeb-culture natterings that we’re used to looking down our collective noses toward when they are circulated on Slap. This is a raw and reddened zone, at a time when multinationals are outmaneuvering home-grown concerns to capture shrinking market share in the shoe biz, for instance, with Es and DVS on the ropes as Nike adds roster members as rapidly as Godzilla hangs the heads of lesser monsters as trophies on the wall of the undersea cave where he lies in repose until another atom bomb awakens him.

This article is also interesting in that Nick Dompierre’s “big” sponsor, a soda company, is presented as one authority on how he’s doing next to his mom, raising the prospect that big-money sponsors may have to answer in a public forum for transgressions and pitfalls confronted by the dudes they put on. If ESPN.com is enriched with flash-ad revenue from hits generated by this story, you could imagine a scenario where more such items follow suit, perhaps gathering momentum as the energy drink and footwear and sunglass purveyors nibble at their collective fingernails in the event a marketable talent is discovered in a compromising position (perhaps via grainy video shot in the privacy of Godzilla’s undersea lair), and resulting in some such talented bro ultimately getting the boot due to public pressure. If bros sign up for the soda company paycheque, are they signing up for a higher level of personal scrutiny? Is the real problem here somebody else airing our dirty laundry for us? Would the internet be catching feelings if TWS reported this on their website, or if it appeared in a hearsay-friendlier venue such as the beloved “Trash” column in Thrasher? Is Godzilla really “that bad of a dude?”

Bastien Salabanzi Does Not See Eye To Eye With Elderly Lotto Winners But As Far As We Can Tell Has Not Yet Taken Any Wild Animals Captive For Celebration Purposes

April 26, 2012

On the evening of March 30, Merle and Pat Butler of Red Bud, IL embarked upon the dropping of a certain brand of lifestyle hammer that in certain ways has never before been seen. After hitting a record lotto jackpot, they kept their heads down and stayed on the proverbial grind for nearly three weeks before stepping forward to acknowledge their lifestyle hammer of $110 million that has made them “rich forever,” in the parlance of Maybach Music Group. In purely lotto terms, this was the equivalent of Geoff Rowley segueing into a modest flatground line after completing his Clipper assault and briefly praising the Lord.

The behaviour exhibited by the lucky retirees stands in sharp contrast to other rapidly enriched persons including footballer Chad Johnson, whose urge to share his exuberance upon scoring points has occasionally included unique collabs with other species.

“On the highway, I hit a deer,” Johnson said Tuesday, insisting he was serious and that the animal wasn’t hurt. “I kept him. He’s at home in the garage. I’m going to use him for the celebration this weekend. He’s a prop. They might suspend me for the last game, but I think this one is worth it.”

France’s Bastien Salabanzi has not divulged capturing live animals for the purposes of hyping supporters, but he has staked out ground as among skateboarding’s biggest believers in one’s self and in the past has openly expressed himself in front of a live arena audience. Like Greg Lutzka’s happily snapping fingers and Bob Burnquist’s tears of joy, Bastien Salabanzi’s penthouse quarters on cloud nine have left a bad taste in the mouths of some and occasionally drawn fire from others.

ESPN: Why do you get so much grief for doing that?
BS: It’s skateboarding. The cool attitude is to do the gnarliest thing and make it look like you do it every morning on the way to go get the bread at the store, like the trick is completely normal.

I don’t really care. I don’t want to be someone else. It makes me happy when I land something. But I can understand from an outside point of view, maybe from someone who liked to watch skateboarding but never really did it hard they cannot relate to that kind of behavior. For example, a lot of people talk about John McEnroe, that the guy is insane and he goes mental on the court but at the same time people agree that he was one of the best that has ever played. I’m sure he doesn’t care his reputation is to be completely crazy. What he cares about is the number of tournaments he’s won.

Skateboarding’s rejection of big upping one’s self is rooted in a historic aversion to the sort of chest-beating that characterized the mainstream sports kids were supposed to be pursuing in the 80s and 90s when the sheen of televised vert contests began to recede. The country wasn’t trying to care about Jovontae Turner doing 360 flips and nollie nose manuals and generally dudes weren’t fooling themselves. All this stuff was going on in parking lots and around back of some department stores, and if you knew you knew, etc.

Is this mode of thinking outdated when our $15 million man Rob Dyrdek is finally getting around to starring in some tossed-off show he pitched to MTV five years ago and decks regularly outsell Louisville Sluggers? Have we become so coldhearted as to begrudge Billy Marks a moment of euphoria at the big Wilshire handrail? Did Forrest Edwards transcend the self-cheering debate when he cooly explained that his go-to tricks are “not gay”? Do yall realize this posting has incorporated so far three ESPN web-links?

It used to be humbler times, when a trick-namer such as Tony Hawk was gluing plies together by hand in the back of his Lexus as he stayed one step ahead of repo men and sought to put food on the table, or when bros were hopping fences to get at wealthier folks’ lightly used pools. Bastien Salabanzi recently skated a private park to try and qualify for a contest series where he could pocket some $1 million, and the idea of hiding his double-cabellarial flipping light under a bushel seems to strike him as outlandish.

What do you put the importance on?
At the end of the day I don’t want to be remembered as a cocky lunatic. I started skating in 1994. Today I watched the 12 minutes of footage from when I was a little kid and that’s when I was having so much fun and not caring about no industry or sponsors. I was just having fun and loving skating. That’s how I want to skate, to have fun and skating the way I want to skate like when I was 13.

I’m happy with the road I took and the way things happened; I don’t regret anything. But I do understand the people that find my behavior too much, at the same time I don’t care. I’m 26, I learned and I’ve evolved and think different. When I see my behavior at a contest from years ago I laugh so hard and think, “Wow, I was a little bit crazy.”

Title TK

June 22, 2011

Even without flipping it over and looking for the little logo you could probably tell skateboarding bears a “made in America” seal just because of the tendency towards overkill. Big pants/small wheels, goofy boys, paint-on pants, substance abuse, stair counts, ledge combos, the personas of Alva, Muska, Mike Plumb, et cetera. The mega ramp. You have your top dogs specific to a certain latitude/longitude as the pendulum swings this way or that, for instance Ron Knigge or Josh Kasper or Ray Underhill, and then what turn out to be the more longview types that might rise up during one era or another but don’t wind up being defined by it and find ways to roll with whatever’s going at the moment, say Carroll, Daewon Song, Jason Dill, Grant Taylor — Mark Gonzales. Like, there may be more technically skilled or bigger-balled dudes going at any one point, but if you’re watching “the Storm,” you’ve got Jerry Hsu on one hand and Scott Paezelt on another.

All of which is a typically long-winded way of coping with a melting of mind following a couple watches of Eli Reed’s entry in the X-Games “real street” competition, a minute-long clip that’s a little gratuitous as far as including a couple magazine cover clips and some of the more original (versus “creative”) tricks to come along in a good while. If I was, heaven forfend, a judge on “America’s Next Top Flow Bro” I would formulate some sound bite to the effect that Eli Reed has a “point of view.” Like, who’s doing nollie bonelesses on name hubbas? Switch backside 360 manual? I’m sure there are some “Forecast” seeds that have pulled similar 360-flip nosegrinds and switch bigspin flips but a key difference is that this dude’s method has that appealing stink on it. Switch k-grind for the 90s dudes and wise use of the big switch ollie, which also helped get me onboard with Mikey Taylor during the City Stars days. A minute long and this is easily one of the best sections all year, I hope he gets the $50k or whatever it is.

Rhapsody In White

March 28, 2010

I’m a fairly strong supporter of Keegan Sauder’s second coming these past few years – there’s something about his low-key dirtballness that’s more genuine than a lot of dudes that seem determined to take it to the nth degree, and I relished the classically Zero-y nature of his “Strange World” section (big backside 180, tall hubba 50-50, ride-up curvy 50-50 shove-it, the ender). And so I’m well inclined to cheer his podium placement in the Tampa contest a couple weeks ago, alongside Chris Nieratko, who gives over a good portion of this recent interview to the experience. But unfortunately the accompanying photo of Keegan Sauder’s frontside rock-n-roll was totally obliterated by the monster truck rally that is this snowmobile X-games ad next door, which is on such a whole different level of amazingness that I spent a good while brewing up key words for Youtube searches to turn up somebody doing this physics-defying and awesome-looking stunt. But no dice. If anyone can help out with the name of this maneuver or better yet a clip, this Sunday afternoon would get that much better, but in the meantime here’s my favorite of the many videos I’ve now viewed, in which one enterprising bro manages a snowmobile wallride.

And Then We Came To The End!

June 11, 2009


Eric Koston scouts his last-minute trick for “Debacle.” Interesting fact: The truck, made of crepe paper, was designed by Swedish architect Johan Fredrik Åbom and cost $850,000.

Nike’s final, successful attempt to crack the shoe-chewing skateboard market is probably the story of our lil pasttime in the ’00 decade, even if it’s sort of a bass-ackwards version of what the rest of the industry has undergone. Skate shoe companies took center stage as the big-money game beyond boards and wheels, muddling through the thankless game of trying to maintain credibility with the dirty, scabbed kids that brung em to the dance, while signing pro wakeboarders and serving up juicy discounts to big-box retailers that will happily put your trucks on backwards as you shop for carabiners. Meanwhile, the suits at Nike were cherry-picking independent skate shops and aging East-coast pros that together would ride the wave of sneakerhead largesse and make it hard for even the die-hard purists to argue that Nike was the bloodthirsty corporate monster we’d all been led to believe.

It was an interesting story that died a boring death today, as Nike SB signed Eric Koston and can no longer be seen in any shape or form as an underdog in skateboarding. The Birdos were half-right in that Nike eventually decided to be Nike and throw its wallet around, buying up top talent as they see fit, flowing everybody in the industry who isn’t skating for another shoe company, reigning supreme over Tampa, flooding the mall shops with SB’s and pushing “Jocks Suck” 6.0s elsewhere. Meanwhile the current generation doesn’t remember a time when people didn’t skate Nike shoes, pre-fab skateparks are awash with swooshes, and the SB branch has more or less figured out how to act like a skateboard company as far as putting out videos, doing demos, getting tour articles into the magazines; eventually they can be expected to start blowing video deadlines I guess.

Getting Koston has seemed so much like the predestined move for Nike from the beginning that you wonder what’s next, except it appears Nike’s already provided the answer in the form of Sacto-birthed pro models for Stefan Janoski and Omar Salazar, both Vans knock-offs that make it pretty clear Nike’s given up on trying to be any kind of leader, the way they were when they came in with the Dunk a few years ago and helped the Es Accel usher in the wave of low-tech simple shoes. Beyond the staple Blazers and Dunks Nike SB is/was the one company making teched-out shoes that A. had serious space technology behind them and B. actually sold despite said low-tech shoe trend, so seeing their operation fall into line with the parade of Vans imitators (belatedly) communicates complacency at best, surrender at worst, or perhaps an Antarctic sabbatical with Marty Stouffer for the shoe design squad.

There have been and will be long and usually boring debates on Nike’s role in this big teddy bear picnic, but at this point the threads feel like they’ve been played out — Nike came on the scene and boosted some half-forgotten pros* like Danny Supa, Reese Forbes, Gino, etc.; they proceeded to make the expected power moves via P-Rod, Janoski, Salazar, and now Koston. For a few years there SB sales, restricted to actual real skateboard stores, translated to serious loot for the operators that they weren’t seeing selling other shoes, for various reasons; now you can order “CCS Exclusive” colors of Nike Dunks off the internet or get them at Zumiez. Nike takes good care of its people, pros to reps, and they do joint ventures with Blueprint and Slam City and the SPOT and Slap and Skate Mental; they should do all this stuff because they can and it keeps cranks like me from complaining too much.

But now that Nike’s at last acting like the 800-pound gorilla it is, it’s hard not to feel wary about what comes next. Best case scenario is they generallhy follow the rest of the shoe pack, make good videos and do right by the proper people. Or, perhaps they scoop up Ryan Sheckler, appoint him president of the 6.0 division, and sponsor nationwide skate camps hooked up to Rob Dyrdek’s proposed “skateboard league”… clearing the way for a generation of talent scouts and parent-managers hanging off the skatepark chain-link fence, calling the cops on the oldsters and scaring away all the precious weirdos that came up with the screaming hand and the idea to jump a skateboard on a handrail.

*By the other shoe companies, anyway


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