Confronting the most overused cliche | SierraSun.com

Confronting the most overused cliche

Keepin' Score, Matt Riddle

Extreme.

The most cliche word of my generation. Now we’re all participants in “extreme sports.” I’m an “extreme athlete:” I climb, I snowboard and I have a bike. I don’t ride it much but around town and it has fat tires.

I get extra extreme points because I’ve been on Mt. Shasta. I get more points because I own TWO snowboards.

Maybe I should spell it Xtreme.

I own my own climbing rack and I’ve messed up my shoulder climbing, so that should get me a couple more Xtreme points.

My coolest friend is several points ahead of everybody. Three snowboards- one is a Voile Split Decision- a couple pair of skis, a road bike, a mountain bike (albeit old) and a nice full climbing rack glean the walls of his garage in Reno. He’s Xtremely cool on the points chart.

Are you writing this down?

I do a lot of this stuff, but, as funny as it may seem, I don’t feel Xtreme like Vin Diesel’s character, Xander Cage, in last summer’s movie Triple X. He was so XXXtreme that he’s making a sequel.

I’ve known people like Diesel’s character and people use a couple choice words behind their backs: Moron, idiot, dummy, etc. And those are the words I can use in print. The other words would cause the SIERRA SUN to lose subscribers.

The word is fitting, that’s for sure, when it’s used in moderation. It sells, so of course people that want other people to buy their toys are going to use “extreme” on some flashy packaging. Other words may be “hardcore,” “the edge,” or “for serious adventurers only.”

But back to Triple X. Jumping Corvettes off of the Auburn Bridge into the Auburn Ravine? Free climbing hundreds of feet of a cliff face he never had the opportunity to scout out before? Intentionally causing an avalanche and then snowboarding in front of it? Outrunning a helicopter with machine guns blazing on a motorcycle? What about jumping a massive castle wall and landing on flat ground on that dirt bike?

Well, it’s Hollywood, so what can we expect? People loved it and it made money so they’re making a sequel.

Of course, here in Truckee, we have the cross section of all those athletes, but none of them would do these things. Diesel does all of those things and has a reputation of doing them well. Watching it, I had to suspend my belief- as I’m sure lots of people did- for the entirety of the movie. We here in this cross-section of dirt bikers, snowboarders and climbers, plus skiers, mountain bikers, etc., have been damaged by such movies.

“Hey, Matt,” my 11-year old cousin might say. “Have you ever like outrun an avalanche? Is it fun? Is free climbing cool? If you fall would you die? I bet it would only hurt you a little.”

I would only nod my head and say, yes. Yes, of course.

“Yeah, Vin Diesel does it, he’s cool. Could you beat him up? I bet you could.”

Sure, kid. Just beat up Diesel, a former bouncer, and his bodyguards.

Now here’s the dilemma: People- adults as well as kids- that know nothing of any of these sports actually believe that this is all possible. Drop a 40-foot cliff on your snowboard while outrunning a killer avalanche that’s easily in excess of 100 mph while checking your speed in front of it?

Just give me a Red Bull and it’s on, dude. Get as much air as is possible on a dirt bike, jump back grab the rear seat with one hand and shoot the terrorist guard behind the machine gun with the other hand? Whatever it takes to stop the Russian terrorists intent on destroying the world.

It’s, well, Xtreme.

Now what else could be extreme? Chewing 10 packs of gum at once? Jumping rope while someone throws rocks at you? Wearing Tampa Bay Buccaneers apparel in Oakland?

Maybe I should just leave this word to subjection by the user: If it’s extreme to you, then it’s Xtreme. I could be cynical about or I could just blow it off and not care.

Either way, extreme is the crown hackneyed word of Generation X… Or was it Generation Y? Who comes up with these labels anyway?