After nearly three weeks away from Los Angeles, my holiday sabbatical is over and I’m back on the west coast—but not for long. January’s a busy multi-sports month. Next Wednesday, I head to Miami for the BCS title game. (My co-workers have informed me that, along with no cheering in the press box, there is a new Alyssa Rule that includes a ban on handsprings and orange-and-blue socks.) Then it’s off to Park City for snowboarding and the Sundance film festival. And finally, the month wraps up in Aspen for the Winter X Games. February had better start working out. It’s going to have a tough time following the first month of 2009.
In the weeks I’ve been incommunicado, I’ve experienced enough to fill 100 blogs. But I’ll spare you all and keep it to three short entries, and a few photos. Okay, shortish.
ENTRY ONE: CRUISIN’ CUZZINS
First off was the family cruise to the Bahamas. For those of you who have never spent time on one of these floating malls, let me share a few things I learned on my first cruise:
1. As promised, there is a sports bar on the ship. It serves food until 5 a.m. and makes it possible for you to steer clear of the Denny’s buffet at all times. However, the sports bar does not get Direct TV, cable or NFL Network. It shows Fox News and ESPN2. This is not helpful on a Sunday during NFL wildcard week.
2. As promised, there is morning yoga. However, if you show up for the 8 a.m. class, you will be the only cruiser who does so. This means you get your own personal yoga class … taught by a kid from Canada who signed up for the gig online while drunk. Fortunately, the boat had a fantastic private climbing wall. Much, much more fun.
3. Blackberries and cell phones that work on remote fishing villages in Peru and while underground in the Beijing subway do not work on a cruise ship a few hours off the coast of south Florida.
4. **You should never, ever go on a family cruise to the Bahamas expecting to watch sports, exercise or check your e-mail. Once I figured out this most important lesson, I had a much better time. In fact, best cruise ever.
THE FAM …
PHOTO CREDIT: CBF
ENTRY TWO: GUEST BLOG … LINDSAY LACES UP AT WRIGLEY
On Dec. 30, Lindsay took part in the media skate at the NHL’s Outdoor Classic at Wrigley FIeld in Chicago. She was one of the first group of folks to tour and skate on the temporary rink constructed at Wrigley Field. Pretty cool. Even her Grandpa Yogi’s never done that!
To read Lindsay’s official ESPN The Magazine blog, click here.
To read her (way cooler!) AR.com blog, click here.
ENTRY THREE: NEW YEAR’S NO LIMITS. NO KIDDING.
While Lindsay was in Chi Town, I was in Vegas for Red Bull’s New Year, No Limits. At about 11:30 ET (8:30 for me), live on ESPN, Rhys Millen became the first driver to backflip a truck. Unfortunately, he did not become the first driver to successfully land a backflip in a truck. During the practice sessions leading up to Vegas, he landed in boxes, so New Year’s Eve was the first time he attempted the ramp-to-dirt flip. The flip was great, he had perfect rotation, but he got a little off-axis and the truck bounced off kilter on the landing, then rolled and came to a stop on its side at the bottom of the dirt pile. Rhys was definitely disappointed he didn’t drive out of the flip. But, unlike last year, he walked away in one piece. I consider that a success.
Robbie’s jump took place at about 12:15 ET, and was just freaking cool. I rarely get nervous at these stunts, but I was incredibly nervous as he took off. I wasn’t alone. Everyone agreed that this was the most nervous they’d been at a moto event. And not because of the jump to the top of the arch, but because of the much sketchier jump back down. Kevin Robinson’s wife Robin was in tears. “I wasn’t nervous at all at Kevin’s jump,” she said. “But I’m a wreck right now. I had no idea I would be this emotional.” Ditto that. But fortunately, Maddo’s jump was a total success.
He didn’t walk away without injury, though. On the jump down, the impact was so intense that Maddo’s brake lever split his left hand to the bone. There was no time for stitches with the media waiting, so the on-site medics taped his hand together, wrapped it in gauze and gave him a few pain killers. Then he did interviews for a couple hours before hitting the ER for stitches. Then it was time to celebrate 2009!
MADDO RIDES TO THE START …
MADDO JUMPS BACK TO THE RAMP (AND THE FANS) WAITING BELOW. (PHOTO CREDIT: CHRISTIAN PONDELLA-RED BULL. YOU DIDN’T THINK I HAD PHOTO SKILLS LIKE THIS, DID YOU?) …
THE VIEW FROM THE TOP OF THE ARCH DE TRIOMPHE. I COULDN’T LET MADDO HAVE ALL THE FUN. ONCE WE GOT UP THERE, JENNI WAS GLAD SHE TOUGHED OUT THE CLIMB …
WATCHING JUMPS WITH THE JUMP MASTER. (BRINGING IT FULL CIRCLE … GUESS WHO ELSE WAS IN THE BAHAMAS AT SENOR FROGS ON THE SATURDAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS?! TOO FUNNY) …