Detroit’s x games

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Newsroom

extreme sportsDowntown Detroit will not be the host of the Summer X Games. To local surprise and chagrin, ESPN chose Austin as the home for the games for at least three years, after 11 in Los Angeles.

For anyone not xtreme enough to be familiar with the games, they offer a series of adjudicated events with moves that include the Can Can, Nac Nac, Cliffhanger, Nothing, Coffin and Lazy Boy, Dead Body, Double Grab, Hart Attack, Indian Air, Kiss of Death, No Footer, Rock Solid, Rodeo Air, Stale Fish (aka Saran Wrap), Sterilizer, Suicide Can, Superman, Surfer, Tsunami, Benihana, Hellpop, Madonna (see also Sean Penn), McTwist, Melancholy (aka Melon), Stalefish, Blunt to Fakie, Jack-in-da-box, Nose Pick, Pogo, Staple Gun, Thruster, Jolly Mamba, Broken Fingers, Casper, Anti-Casper, Casper Disaster, etc.

You get the idea.

ESPN’s Texas mess-up misses the point entirely: Detroit is an x game. I’m not suggesting that Detroit is as dangerous or disorienting as a Casper or Anti-Casper, let alone a Casper Disaster. For all its bumps and bruises, Detroit is a much safer city than its reputation suggests. Instead, there is an endearing, elective extremeness to elements of living, working and playing in Detroit.

And it’s not in a spectator sport, so get in the game…

1. General Lafayette. Go directly to Lafayette Coney Island. Do not go to any other Coney Island. Do not ask for a menu. Do not ask them to hold the mustard or onions. Make friends with the strangers sitting next to you. Balance two forks on two toothpicks on a salt shaker. Order a tall pour of milk, especially if you are lactose intolerant. Do not try to pay by credit card.

2. People Moving. Hop off at every station to spy the extremely beautiful art and get back on before the train pulls away. For added degree of difficulty, go down the up escalator. Really feeling adventurous? Get off at a station other than the one you got on at.

3. Crossing Jefferson. Just try crossing Jefferson downtown before the light changes. It’s really hard.

4. Rollin’ on the River. Less than 50 years after Time magazine declared Lake Erie dead, you can take to the water upstream on the Detroit River. Detroit River Sports will rent you a kayak, canoe or paddle board. Head into international waters as fast as your arms will carry you. Just don’t be too hasty about leaving your good job in the city.

5. Jive Turkey. Every year, thousands of runners materialize at Cobo Hall in the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning for the Tradition Before the Tradition, many in heritage costumes including pilgrims and SpongeBobs. But if you really want a thrill — and a little help medalling — try running the Turkey Trot in head-to-toe Ohio State regalia.

6. Go Rogue avec Le Rouge. Detroit’s most extreme sport these days is soccer. Not playing soccer, mind you — the no-hands rule from BHYSL still applies — but watching it. Detroit FC’s Northern Guard, the most feared support squad in all of the National Premier Soccer League, liberally distributes smoke bombs and swear words as their boys run roughshod over the competition at Cass Tech. (See detcityfc.com.)

7. Two-Wheel Fraternity. Cycling around Detroit is increasingly unextreme, with places to rent and repair and a bountiful bevy of bright bike lanes. To spice things up (and cool them off), ride through the fountain on the Riverwalk. Then, on Aug. 28, bike up to West Grand Boulevard to see Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (newcenterpark.com)Think you’re extreme? Try not to look away for “Be sure and tell ‘em Large Marge sent ya!”

8. Lions and Tigers and You. On Aug. 22, the Tigers host the Twins at 1:08 p.m. and the Lions host the Patriots (preseason, but still) at 7:30 p.m. Go to both games back to back and make sure you have appropriate attire for each. Park for free a few blocks away — just not in my spot on Grand River west of Cass. Time permitting, load up on garlicky food at Bucharest Grille; your seatmates won’t object to your breath as long as you’re cheering like a champ. Oh my.

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