The photographer was desperately nonchalant as he talked with the female reporter next to him. As I worked on my laptop, one eye focused on the TV coverage scrolling at the front of the media center, it was impossible not to listen to the conversation behind me. He’d grabbed my ear earlier with chat about running (oh, he was working SO hard to impress) but he got my full attention with this:
You must be, like, the cool mom and all because you’re at X Games.
I couldn’t help it; my head swiveled for a peek at the woman’s reaction. She was quite young and appeared completely unmom-ish. Her expression of disgusted exasperation deepened as she muttered something that essentially translated to “stop talking ” before she got up and left. The 30-something guy slumped, dejected. Clearly, he’d expected a completely different reaction to that gem of a line.
Dude, I chuckled inwardly, save it for the 40-year-olds. Who might actually have children, children old enough to be awed by X Games reporting.
Or those 50-year-old women.
Mom Loves X Games
My oldest daughter recently got her motorcycle license, and I peppered her this week with texts, such as “NBD. Hanging out w Harley folks at Flat-Track Racing at X Games.”
Over the three years I covered X Games Austin, I name-dropped “Morgan Wade” in conversations. Showed my behind-the-scenes photos of assorted course construction. Shared arcane facts about height and medals and events. All of it, mostly, to glazed indifference.
My kids were politely appreciative but it wasn’t their thing. Sure, I got props for catching Metallica at X Games Austin 2015, but I would’ve gotten the same reaction had I seen them at the Erwin Center.
I have to admit: my children are a lot less awestruck by my X Games cred than I am.
Honestly, I’m pretty impressed with myself, and perhaps that’s the salient point. In the second half of life, I discovered action sports (formerly called “extreme sports” by oldsters who know a pre-ESPN world), something I never thought I’d enjoy.
Expanding horizons can be pretty mind-blowingly awesome.
Access to behind-the-scenes information truly brought the various sports to life for this geeky nerd. There’s plenty to related to as an athlete. And having in-depth conversations with Morgan Wade about why he does Big Air and what he loves about BMX made me feel the passion in that elite level of physical artistry.
Oh, there’s a lot of artistry involved in X Games. The imagery at events is breathtaking. How can you not fall in love with the sight of someone gracefully and joyously defying gravity before a wide expanse of Texas sky?
This was Austin’s last year to host X Games – ESPN wants to push the date, and central Texas in July is just too hot for that kind of exposed concrete and dirt multi-day event. Another city means I’ll probably never see X Games live again. As much as I loved my media experience, I doubt I’d buy tickets and travel to be a spectator on the sidelines. TV makes everything so accessible (and inexpensive) from the couch.
So, thank you, X Games and ESPN, for a wonderful three-year ride. I had the time of my life.
And maybe, just maybe, that makes me a cool mom after all.
My 2014–2016 X Games Coverage
Here’s a chronological list of my print and online X Games coverage. Click on the titles to read the articles. And I’ve thrown in a few of my photos from X Games Austin.
“Making Texas Proud at the X Games” Austin Fit Magazine, May 2014 cover story
This issue came out right before the event, and as editor in chief, I wanted to connect Austin readers in a meaningful way to the X Games. Morgan Wade was the perfect fit (and I loved the other companion pieces I’d arranged to fill the magazine). Take a look at the print version on Issuu.com to get the entire magazine and actual layout.
“Turning Austin’s COTA into the 2014 X Games” Austin Fit Magazine, May 29, 2014
This online piece was all about the magic behind taking a 3.1-mile Formula 1 track and turning it into an action sports wonderland. And then taking it all down.
“X Games Austin: Big Crowds, Big Air, Big Wind” Austin Fit Magazine, June 8, 2014
Recaps are fun to write. I liked describing how the competition had gone and filling readers in on what to expect for the next day. Mother Nature was a big factor, and wind played a major role in BMX Big Air.
“You’re In for Big Air and High Speed at X Games Austin 2015” The Austinot, June 3, 2015
By 2015, I’d graduated from AFM and begun freelancing. X Games is an easy sell for a fitness magazine, but it’s a bit of a pitch to a hyper-local online magazine with a minimal sports presence. Thankful, The Austinot’s publisher Brittany Highland agreed to a “here’s what’s new for Austin” piece.
“X Games and Austin Share a Sweet Goodbye” The Austinot, June 2, 2016
2016 was the last year for X Games Austin and, dammit, I was going to write about it. Again, a “know before you go” article, full of tips and info.
“X Games, ROT Rally Provide Flat-Track Racing Fix” The Austinot, June 6, 2016
The best stories to write are the ones that answer questions, and I wanted to know what would happen to the Flat-Track Racing venue at COTA. While I didn’t quite get my answer (they haven’t determined that yet), I did discover more about what Austin has to offer for this motorcycle sport aficionado.
Coming in July ~ I sat down with BMX champ and Austinite Chase Hawk, and I’ll share that conversation with The Austinot’s readers.