Welcome to the X-Games!
Welcome to the X-Games!
By Isaac Scoggin
Lead photo by: James Lissimore
We have all been there in our lives; situations where we know we shouldn’t laugh, but we just can’t stop ourselves. For my brothers and I it was anytime we had to sing in Church. For Christmas or Easter we would have to get up in front of the entire Church and sing. Sure enough one of us would begin to chuckle, try to hold it in until we were about to burst, and then as contagious and infectious as it is…it spread. From one to the next our faces turned beat red and what then accompanied the music was laughter instead of lyrics. The people of our Church didn’t care. They would always say, “You guys sounded so great up there”. This would prompt us to hint, in a very nice way, that maybe there hearing was worse than they knew. What I am getting at is that sometimes it is acceptable to be socially unacceptable. Welcome to the X-Games!
Don’t laugh, it’s not funny is what we used to tell ourselves every time we were trying so hard not to burst. As we got older we tried harder and harder to swallow any giggles that might be lurking near the exit of our mouths. This applies to the coveted X-games we all know, but don’t love. After all, it is labeled X; as in something that was interesting at one time but is no longer regarded as such. An X because it used to be a competition of skill, but now leans on crowd voters to choose the outcome of preparation and talent. It appears to be like an X that keeps hanging around trying to win you back year after year. It isn’t going to happen. Any passion infused fan disregards the X Games because it is not only “dumbed down”, but it is turned from what we love into a joke. So don’t laugh, it’s not funny…ok, you can laugh.
Why laugh and at what events? Well, Moto X would be the closest thing to real racing so we will start there. Please give a big round of applause for the racers who used their off-weekend from the Nationals to get TV coverage for themselves and their sponsors. There is no sense holding it in any longer. Hasn’t your mother ever told you that it’s bad to hold it in? A handful of active racers were there thrown in with X racers, off-road racers, people who specialize in riding on hills, and I was expecting to see Bubba from Crusty Demons of the Dirt II pull up and say, “I’ll show you boys how to get down this hill.” Actually, that would have been worth watching, but an event where 100 percent of the race is determined in the length of three bikes is ridiculous.
The track from beginning to end was a joke. Can you imagine how much bitching would be going on if Dirt Wurx built a track even remotely close to this in terms of design, dirt composition, maintenance, etc? The only reason the riders do not discuss it more is because of the TV coverage. Wow, you are on Sports Center, and that is fantastic. But it makes for terrible racing, no passing options, and even though it is only 11 minutes…I would rather be doing anything else rather than watch that. Honestly, growing up in the Midwest we had a lot of fair races that produced better tracks than that, which lead to much better racing. How is it even supposed to be taken seriously? I understand Brayton got a Gold medal for his trophy case and some good cash. I am happy about that, but I feel like it harms the sport more than anything because it’s as inaccurate as it can get in it’s depiction of real racing. I know, I know, it isn’t for me. It is for the uneducated fan, the stick and ball enthusiast who wants to take part in the extreme culture for a day or two before heading back to the statistics of boredom that consume their seasons. A misrepresentation is worse than no representation in my opinion.
We all know that people who do not know or appreciate the sport for the technical aspects of it want one thing and one thing alone, crashes. Women’s Moto X gave us all the drama we could handle. Hell, even had some emotional reality TV going on when Meghan Rutledge was sitting in her chair with mascara running down her face. She was dejected and the camera was there for every minute of it. I am sure people thought that was great for the racing, and to show what it means to lose it. Don’t you dare laugh or even think that the event doesn’t belong in the schedule. The racing was epic…wait; no it was dull and aside from the one instance where we watch Rutledge attempt to show-off and go down nothing happened. Then we spend the next 10 minutes watching it over and over and at some point you just have to laugh. It can’t be helped. Nothing against any of the women as they are fast and undoubtedly talented, but there has to be a better stage to showcase their skills, and portray them in a more appropriate light.
The celebration of Vicki Golden was worth laughing about as well. She was a silver medal rider, so she was going to get a medal, but she was gifted the gold. She acted as if it was a master plan that was perfectly executed and she knew all along it was her win. That is two medals she was gifted, as her third place in Best Whip was another wonderful moment in X-Games. The voting method for scoring is the perfect way to never have a fair event. If that is the goal then job well done. How does Brett Cue lobby all year with great videos and worthy whips get shunned for Vicki Golden? She whipped it well, but not even close to the people she was battling with. Makes me laugh.
Overall, the Speed and Style event accompanied with Freestyle were let downs as well. The venue is going to be changed for next year and maybe that will fix it all, but it just seems so anticlimactic. The announcing was not done well and for the most part the insight they gave mainly centered around, “if he is feeling good then he is on.” That was brilliant insight into the mind of a Freestyler! I was on the edge of my seat as they had so many options to choose from in terms of ramp choices. Make a creative track that gives options, even for freestyle. Award creativity and the use of the course because after two riders it all looked the same. Obviously, I am not an expert in freestyle and miss some of the key components used to separate the men from the boys, but very few can. I am not saying to dumb it down, but make it easier to distinguish between a technical rider and a “big trick” guy. This can be applied to both contests, but Speed and Style needs to be revamped, as the track was too easy and too slow. The dragons back was terribly placed and made the guys look worse than they are. They need more room, better options for sections, and make it fair to a guy who is faster but not a top level flip type of guy. Trying to make the racing close is not working as they know they can just play follow the leader and out trick the other rider to win…Nate Adams. I almost fell asleep watching this. Looking back now all I can do is sigh, what might have been.
X-Games has become a joke without trying to be by misrepresenting anything dirt bike related. As a true fan that is passionate about the sport I find it humorous to watch this event and hear the announcers fumble their way through it with little insight, and no creativity. It is socially unacceptable to laugh at an event taken so seriously by those outside of the sports represented. They are supposedly celebrating extreme sports every year at X-Games. It is a spectacle of hype that matches that of Alessi’s debut at Millville, and yet reoccurs every year. I implore you watch it and not laugh. Try to hold it in as long as you can but eventually it will spill out of you. These games are pitiful and betraying of the actually effort put in by racers and freestylers that dominate their professions. So next year when you are watching X-Games in Austin, TX remember, don’t laugh, it’s not funny!