Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sports Innovations

It is amazing how progress piles up on top of progress. Once a great many people have applied a diligent effort over a long time, the sheer amount of learning that can be packed into what seems like a simple activity is often misleading. Sports competition is like this.

The spoils of competitive victory drive constant innovation and improvement. Everything from the grip to the stance to the drills to the equipment to the mindset to the teamwork; it is all broken down, studied, tweaked, and improved on a constant basis. As such, it always jumps out at me when I see obvious opportunities for improvement that have not yet been embraced. I may have shared with you my idea about the "reverse lead" when tagging up at 3rd base and I wrote about the behind-the-back pick-off move to first base earlier.

So, did anything jump out at you when you saw the photo of the snowboard cross-over competition at the top of this post?

If luge riders need to point their toes and down hill skiers need a fin on the back of their helmets then there must be something to the whole aerodynamics thing. Bobsledders, speed skaters, ski jumpers, and skeleton riders all go spandex. So do sprinters and swimmers for that matter.

I can see the day when 4 slackers in baggy plaid arrive at the chute for the gold medal run of the snowboard cross and, just before the starting gun, one dude tears away his outer-grunge apparel to reveal a skin-tight body suit underneath. I predict it would take about 4 hours to transform the look of the sport forever.


  1. Boo Hoo3/02/2010

    That's where you are missing the spirit. It is not about the Gold Medal in snowboarding it is about having the best ride. It is like surfing, it is about catching the "perfect wave".

    These guys would rather look good and lose the gold, than dress up in a spiderman outfit that is 2 sizes too small.

    Gee, I would have thought that you (in Southern Cal) would be able to relate...

  2. Actually, Seth Wescott (two time snowboard-cross gold medalist) talked about this on the Colbert Report. He said there is a "gentleman's agreement" to wear the baggy attire. It's about being true to the culture of snowboarding. I agree with him... the sport is really routed in a cultural movement, which makes it unique.

    As long as everyone maintains this "gentleman's agreement" then the playing field will be level, and attire can't be blamed for 'losing the gold'

  3. I'm still trying to get my head around the idea that snowboarding is an olympic sport. Now you've got all these slacker punks taking home medals for horsing around. Why not have skateboarding in the summer olympics? In summary, I'm old.

  4. Remember the short shorts in basketball, old men? That changed. There was a "gentlemen's agreement" there, of sorts. Players got tired of being able to tell the other players religion by looking at their shorts, so they switched to big and baggy. Not as easy to move in, but at least they didn't look so dorky. It's all about image. Above the knee is out.