Chicken Luge Redux

August 14, 2004

Trevor Matich


At the last Winter Olympics, I wondered aloud about how to add a little more spice to Olympic sports; Chicken Luge was the result.  Here it is again in honor of the Athens Summer Olympics...

The Olympics are upon us, with all their drama and tragedy and triumph.  

And their confusing sports.

I respect these world class athletes, and am thrilled for the medals they’ve won and the patriotic spirit that their success inspires.  But as a simple football player, I’m trying to understand some of the events.  I mean, I wasn't on the luge team in high school.  Were you?

For example, as I write this, I'm watching Olympic snowboarding.  Not down a mountain slope like skiers, but up and down a "U" that looks like the bottom half of a pipe with the top half sawed off--kind of like where you see kids skateboarding on MTV.  The announcer is saying that the athlete is "looking liquid."

This is an Olympic sport?  It seems to me that with sports like that, the next step would be to give Britney Spears an honorary gold medal for the dancing in her video "Crazy."

As a football player, I watch the events and ask myself, Where are the collisions?  Aren't big-time sports supposed to have collisions?  

But then, as a football player, it's easy for me to not get it.  After all, we're sort of limited.  

If we wanted to be decathletes, we'd probably only be octathletes.  We wouldn't be able to throw the discus for beans (although we'd stand there and try to catch it if the coach told us it was a punt).  And we'd really get messed up in the 1,500 meters.  See, football players never really know how far we're running; we just keep going until someone smarter than us blows a whistle.

So from the perspective of linebackers everywhere, here are some ideas on how to make Olympic events more interesting to the likes of Bears, Cowboys, and Redskins.

Let's start with luge--the one-person bobsled.  I think instead, we should have Chicken Luge.  Have the course shaped like a giant upright horseshoe.  Start each competitor at the top of either end; then they tally-ho and head towards the middle.

The person who chickens out and bails first, loses.   If neither bails, we get...a collision!  

The winner would then be the one who is the least dizzy (as evidenced by walking a straight line blindfolded; the Highway Patrol could administer the test).

See?  Chicken Luge.

And you know team speed skating, where teams skate round and round an oval like runners on a track?  Well, to make that more interesting to linebackers, have the two teams skate in opposite directions.  

More collisions!  Yes!

The summer games are rich in potential as well.  As with the team speed skaters, the team bicyclists should ride in opposite directions around the track.  That would add to ordinary collisions the thrill of sprockets flying this way and that.

And since baseball is working it's way into Olympic competition, we should allow it the same opportunity.

For example, you know how in football, a quarterback has to stand in the face of a blitz and deliver an accurate pass just before getting drilled in the sternum by a 250 lb. brute?

Well, as it is, baseball pitchers can throw high heat under the chin at will, with little fear of repercussions--the catcher tackles an irate batter long before he gets to the mound.

I say, lets blitz the pitcher!  Opposite the batter at home plate, a blitzer takes off on a mad sprint to the mound as soon as the pitcher starts his motion.  And just like a linebacker blitzing the quarterback, if he's within two steps when the ball is released, he can drill the pitcher into next Tuesday. 

That would make baseball more interesting, don't you think?  (well, to Dick Butkus, maybe...)

Remember, it's all about collisions!

Of course, it would help if the Olympics would just add good ol' American football.  Wouldn't you love to see the New England Patriots, representing the USA, play Team France?

Okay okay, it's all wishful thinking, I know.  I respect all athletes who train and compete at a high level, even if in my admitted limitations I don't understand their sports.  

But hey, Chicken Luge!  I'd buy a ticket!


P.S.  To you Olympic downhill skiers, who race at 80 miles per hour down icy mountains, I have just one thing to say:  I am so not worthy!





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