BABESDIGBOARDS: Is X-Games to Blame?
For the last 15-plus years, X-Games has been the Olympics of action sports. Fans have been treated to some of the best moments…
and some of the worst slams…
And while some of those slams are pretty hard to watch, for the last 17 years, we (the fans) have been fortunate enough to know that every single athlete that has endured one of those slams has been able to either get up and walk away or give the thumbs up that they will be alright. We have been treated to getting to watch these athletes perform at the highest level and push the limits. They have proven the seemingly impossible is possible. And unfortunately, this wass the first X-Games where the athlete just couldn’t hang on.
On January 31, 2013, Caleb Moore lost his life due to injuries he sustained after crashing during his run in the Snowmobile Freestyle event at Winter X-Games. And in the midst of mourning the snowmobile superstar, someone asked me if I thought that X-Games could do anything more to safeguard its athletes. That person is not the only one that is calling X-Games into question…
Personally, I don’t think there is a need to. This is the first time in a long history that anything has ever happened like this. It was incredibly unfortunate the way this happened, but I think it is hard to place blame one a situation that nobody really has any control over. That being said however, I do think that it would be cool if X-Games helped to foot some of the costs of the medical bills that are accumulated due to these huge accidents. With a production as big as they are and the money that they are able to ascertain through the competition, you’d think they could spare a little to help a family that just suffered a huge loss and will possibly continue to suffer financially. I am not saying they have to, but I do think it would speak volumes of the X-Games organization.
And while this was just an incredibly unfortunate event, I don’t think people can really criticize X-Games because athletes do what they do. Any athlete loves doing what they do and is often too competitive to quit. Having friends in the action sports industry, I know that they are as competitive as the next guy, but they may even be more so. It’s pretty rare these days that you hear of your favorite NBA player being the first in basketball to do something. Action sports allows room for great progression amongst all its athletes. These athletes don’t work to just be atop the podium, but they strive to be the first to land a new trick or go the biggest. Coupled with the unmatched passion for their sports, you will also never hear an action sports athlete complain about money. The biggest criticism of the players during the NHL Lockout this year was that the players were being “greedy.” Hearing about an athlete not competing because his signing bonus isn’t big enough or his contract isn’t long enough is not something you will ever find in action sports. Sure the money is always welcomed, but these athletes compete because it is what they love to do. They may not be making the millions as easily as other athletes do, but they are always happy doing what they do.
After Gretchen Bleiler‘s crash at a training session in Park City, UT, she was pretty injured. Having just shattered her right eye socket, breaking her nose, splitting her eyebrow open and getting concussed, she was quoted as saying that “Snowboarding wasn’t worth it.” I think we can all agree that something so gnarly would have anybody pretty angry at the world. Since then, she has been on the road to recovery dealing with double vision, headaches, and a surgically repaired eye socket. She has worked so hard to comeback from her injuries in order to compete on her board again. Why? Because there is no way that she could ever give snowboarding up. She’s been happy to get back on the mountain and get to board again. Snowboarding is her life. And she is just one of many action sports athletes that have had to make a comeback.
Along with not hearing these athletes complain about money, you will also rarely hear them complain about getting injured. Sure, you will hear the typical moan and groan of having to visit the PTs office and not being able to ride, but you will not hear them blame others for their circumstances. I think that is probably one of the coolest things about these action sports athletes. In NASCAR, it’s pretty rare that you don’t hear a drive blaming another guy for the crash that knocked them out of the race. In action sports, they will be the first people to tell you, “This is what I signed up for.” Risks are present in everything we do, and while their risks may be exponentially greater than the average Joe Schmoe, they accept that as part of their lifestyle, and they love every minute of it. And while I did not personally know Caleb Moore, I’m sure he was no different.
Being that risks do come with the territories, I can’t believe that the Amsoil cancelled the freestyle competition due to Caleb. This was a very important platform that Caleb and many other professional freestyle snowmobilers use to celebrate what they love to do. This is where they can perform in front of their fans. They don’t have the luxury of mainstage competitions like most other disciplines have. I hope they reconsider. When NASCAR lost Dale Earnhardt they didn’t cancel the race, they dedicated it to him so everybody could celebrate. ISOC always has a very safe set up and allowed the riders to have discretion on how the jumps are set up. Embrace freestyle don’t run from it…
Moore was known and will always be known as being a snowmobile wonder. I mean, nobody would peg some dude from Texas to excel at snow sports, let alone tossing a 450lb sled like it’s nothing. His unparalleled passion for the sport and natural talent made it incredibly easy to become a fan of his… There is no reason to look to blame people for the accident. Instead people should focus on celebrating the life that he lived. He will surely be missed and definitely not forgotten.. Ride in Paradise, Caleb.
(Photo Credit: Twitter: Alexbtlv, Nick_Dunnn)
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