Luke Graham: Thumbs up to ski jumping | SteamboatToday.com
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Luke Graham: Thumbs up to ski jumping

— I’d never seen ski jumping live.

I’d seen it on television but usually treated it like the person who never quits talking.

I’d pay attention for a couple of minutes before switching the channel back to something else.



In reality, I thought of it as a fringe sport.

Sunday changed all of that.



Somewhere in between my meat-headedness (in my sports world, I usually understand things only in yards and feet) and Bill Demong flying down the jump like he was shot out of a gun before easily and steadily gliding through the air, I realized something.

Ski jumping is righteous.

It involves a lot of things I like.

Speed? Check. Technique? Check. A little bit of lunacy? Check?

It’s the lunacy part I love. Maybe it’s not that way for the jumpers, but for first time, watchers such as myself, going upwards of 50 mph off of a jump involves a little bit of lunacy.

Local favorite and 2003 Nordic combined sprint World Champion Johnny Spillane explained it to me like this.

“It’s hard to compare it to anything because you’re as close to flying as possible without having the aid of a parachute or a hang glider,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Even Spillane, who has done thousands of jumps, said ski jumping still amazes him at times.

“Every once in awhile, you get those ones where your heart goes up in your throat. That’s a ton of fun.”

And very righteous.

I suppose ski jumping is one of those events I had to experience live.

I was never a big fan of hockey until I saw a game live. I was never a big fan of auto racing until I saw it live.

And now, I have to admit, after seeing ski jumping live, I’m a fan.

Any time you see something that makes you go, “Why would someone do that?” my first instinct is I want to try it.

But could I build up the courage to try it?

“No. Probably not,” Lindsay Van, the worlds No.3 ranked woman ski jumper told me. “You have to start young with ski jumping. It’s hard to get over the fear of ski jumping when you’re older. If I was to start now, I’d crap my pants.”

Touche.

Instead, I’ll just be happy being a fan of something I never thought I would like.

And that right there – like ski jumping – is righteous in itself.

– To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com


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