Please Wear Tighter Costumes: How snowboarding pales in comparison to football
A Superbowl Exclusive by Rachel Cotton
S B SUNDAY:
I hate football, but I like parties. I'll be parked in front of the BABYSITTER OF THE 90's this evening, beer in hand, because, well, tonight that's considered a party. Super Bowl!
My roommates have recently taken a shine to the whole football thing, glued to the TV for hours on end, watching "the game." I have no idea how the actual sport works, the downs and yardages, what constitutes necessary roughness and what the dudes with the headsets are talking about half the time; to be honest, I really don't care. But one thing I have learned from being exposed to a semi-regular barrage of jocky commentary and yelling is that football fans are total fucking maniacs. I can appreciate that. Anyone who disrobes in subzero temperatures, paints his/her face and body silver and gold, dresses up like a giant hunk of cheese or a viking, and simply has a good, rowdy time while drinking beer and screaming is okay by me.
The importance of fun and psychotic creativity to an overall enjoyment of the sporting experience may be the most valuable lesson that I have learned from watching what has, admittedly, been a minimal amount of football. Unlike football, apart from the occasional santa, tiger, robot or accidental jester, snowboarding completely lacks imaginative spectator costumes and legitimate audience revelry. As an official Yo Beat decree, the frigid, cool guy/gal or dumb jerk nature of the snowboard participant and spectator is up for abolishment.
Just LOOK at these guys!
Imagine them at the Open. Photo: Crane
In no way am I insinuating that I would ever feel comfortable or like I fit in, in any type of sporting arena setting (besides maybe a vegan tailgate celebration in the parking lot of a monster truck rally), or that most of those loud dudes and maniacal women, the fans, are anyone I could relate to on any level. But at least they look like they're having fun. I know it's cold on the mountain and outfits must match, head to toe to goggles, according to some mysterious post 93/94 ruling, but it's time for a change. This is a call for more freedom of self decoration in snowboarding; doo-rags on the eyes and head aren't gonna fill that role anymore. If anyone will be at the X-Games (IN ASPEN), please dress up like you have a life-sized stand-up cutout of Boomer Esiason in your house and you waited in line, camped out for two weeks, in a tent shaped like a giant football helmet for those tickets/press passes (for snowboarding purposes, the cutout could be changed to Terry Kidwell and the tent to a giant halfpipe or something). It's time to show the yuppies in the skybox who is boss.
DID WE WIN?
To be young: As a pastime, football reminds me of my childhood. When I was in fourth grade, I had this friend named Dan. Every Saturday after temple (JEWS), I would walk back to his house and we would play touch football in the street or John Madden on Sega Genesis. In those days, I disliked football as much as I do now, but Dan was into it, so I tried to make the best of the situation, suck it up and just play. I survived, I even had a good time on occasion, but I still pushed for Sonic the Hedgehog or soccer whenever the "what do you want to do?" question came up. Most of the details of those evenings and afternoons have long since been forgotten, but what I can still remember clearly from all those games, both real and virtual, is that I was a huge fan of the Hail Mary. A move of epic proportions, reserved for only the most high pressure situations, I pretty much threw one for every pass that I ever threw. And that spirit of impractical heroism crossed over to just about everything Dan and I and all our other friends did.
If you're not into metal(4LF), you are not my friend. Photo: Crane
We would ride bikes in the street, throwing moves in a contest style format for each other, wheelies, bunny hops and other stuff that we couldn't really do. When we took it to the ski hill, we tried spread eagles, daffies, "huge" airs and later 180 grabs and failed 360s when we made the transition to snowboards. Those days were about challenging each other, fun, attempting the impossible, believing we could really do everything and never having broken any bones. I don't know why, but for whatever reason, I grew up and changed. So did snowboarding.
ONE MILLION POINT CONVERSION:
Football, as far as I can tell, is about costumes, revelry, being thrilled, celebration, being glued to the action, and self-expressionism, if you are one of the tens of thousands of fans who dresses up in a symbolic fashion to watch "the big game." Experiences from both childhood and recent Monday nights have taught me that, overall, football is about being a jerk and having fun, high fives, domestic brews and trying new things after being motivated by friends who are just as crazy as you are. Snowboard spectatorship: stale, frigid, frozen and confined to sets of coordinated clothing, an occasional megaphone, and a surprise attack to the back of the head by a stray snowball or two every once in a while, could learn a few lessons from the uniquely American* pastime: loved by jocks, bonded over and fanaticized, en masse, for an entire season, in living rooms and stadiums across the great divide. -RC
* Do not write me an email telling me about an obscure football league in Europe, Canada, Africa, Japan, Australia or anywhere else. I don't care.