Go Big, Or Go Home

July 27, 2010

This Thursday, an annual summer event that brings almost every kid out on the skate park inside will begin for the sixteenth time. That event of course is the Summer X Games. Personally, I am more a fan of the Winter X Games, due to the fact that they take place at a time where there isn’t much else to do but stay inside and find something to watch on TV. However, the Summer X Games bring with it a sense of excitement that almost no other sporting event on earth can provide. That sense of excitement can also be the most obvious downside of extreme sports; the chance for serious bodily injury, or even death. Think about it for a moment; football has improved equipment in order to minimize the risk of injury to players. NASCAR has instituted numerous safety precautions in order to avoid another tragedy that took the life of one of their most iconic drivers. Extreme sports has gone the opposite direction, trying to go “bigger” and “more insane”, even after the death of motocross rider Jeremy Lusk and paralysis of BMX rider Stephen Murray. In no other sport will you see athletes doing things more dangerous than before, so soon after a tragedy. One of the things that make these sports so interesting is that there is no ceiling for the possibilities. Cuts, bruises, broken bones, lacerated internal body parts; these athletes will stop at nothing to take their sport to the next level. Some critics call it stupid, but you know what? I dig it. Taking things to the next level is what these sports were built on, and until they reach a point where they can’t go any bigger or higher, these sports will continue to grow in popularity. These men and women are true warriors, and even if you don’t have very much interest in their respective sport, you have to admire their unwillingness to back down from a challenge, even one that presents clear dangers. MMA and UFC be damned. If you want to see athletes who truly show no fear, tune into ESPN’s network of channels Thursday through Sunday to watch X Games 16, and you’ll see no fear.

What every sports media type in the country wanted to see happen became a reality today. Terrell Owens has signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, and the media could not be happier. “Batman and Robin,” Chad Ochocinco calls it. I wonder if Ochocinco has been told that while someone does get to be Batman, the other must settle for the role of Robin, which I’m sure neither of them want to do. There will have to be a clear number one and two receiver on this team. If there isn’t by around Week 4, then one of the receiver’s isn’t doing their job, and it will be reflected in Cincinnati’s record. Cincinnati’s potential headaches don’t end there, though. Fellow receiver Antonio Bryant, running back Cedric Benson, and receiver Matt Jones have all had their issues as well. After reading all five of those names again, it’s clear to see that with all the potential problems, Cincinnati does have a lot of talent. If the Bengals organization is able to successfully manage the egos of T.O. and Ochocinco, and the rest of the team can stay out of off-the-field trouble, then the Circus in Cincinnati could be a good thing after all.

The Pac-10 has announced that it will change the name of the conference to the Pac-12 when new members Colorado and Utah join in 2011. Is it just me, or does this name changing thing seem a little premature? I’ve said this numerous times, and in an interview yesterday on Mike and Mike in the Morning, I heard Texas football coach Mack Brown say it as well; the Pac-10 (or whatever it wants to call itself) will likely become a sixteen team super-conference in the near future. The Big 10 hasn’t announced any plans to change the name of the conference, and I could be mistaken, but I don’t think that the Big 12 is going to demote itself to the “Big 10 West” any time soon, either. I know this isn’t that big of a deal, but it doesn’t seem like it’s necessary to change the name of the conference in a time of such uncertainty in college football. Don’t even tell me that this isn’t a marketing ploy, and that it isn’t in the back of Commissioner Larry Scott’s mind that they will likely have to change the name yet again when the conference expands a second time.

– K. Becks

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