Two years ago I wrote a post about how I thought the X-Games is awesome. I still agree with everything I wrote there, but have found a completely new and different reason to love these games: inspiration. I find it amazing how men and women can devote themselves to any particular activity, hone themselves into machines and perform that activity to the best of their ability. I appreciate that level of skill in everything from football and film to singing and skateboarding. Plus, what better expression of independence is there than rocketing down a ramp and doing flips in the air?
When I watch the X-Games, as I did this past weekend when the now-touring event hit Munich, I was constantly amazed at the level of skill these people achieved to do amazing things, conquering previously held rules in the process. Humans aren’t supposed to launch themselves dozens of feet in the air and land safely. They’re even less likely to do the same thing, not land correctly and walk away alive. These are people who see a challenge and attack it with everything they have until they either conquer it or, well, break.
I’ve done my best to catch the last few X-Games contests and the event that I love the most is called Big Air. This is when a skateboarder or BMX rider comes down a gigantic slope, hits one of three ramps, flies over a big gap while doing a trick, lands on another ramp and then hits a half pipe that’s also gigantic only to throw a second trick. Above you can see Chad Kagy’s Gold Medal-winning run from this year’s BMX Big Air contest (for a first person POV view of the whole thing go here). But, the guy who’s really captured my imagination during the past two games has been skateboarder Bob Burnquist, who’s 36 and not only still winning Gold Medals, but also beating kids, half and two-thirds his age (Munich Bronze winner Tom Schaar is 14 while fourth place winner Jagger Eaton is only 12!).
The fact that Burnquist has stayed healthy enough to keep competing consistently in a sport he loves is inspiring to me as is just about everything I saw everyone do during Big Air. It’s basically humanity saying, “Forget you, nature, I’m going to figure out a way to fly.” I love that spirit and have tried using it as a way of driving me to do the things I love. I currently have the image at the top of this post as my desktop wallpaper because it makes me think, “If this dude can do something crazy like that, I can write a few pages today.” Sure, it’s a little cheesy, but it’s better than one of those “Hang in there” posters with a cat, right?