Extreme sports, and pussies who don't do the dew (30 March 2009)

It's too easy see his death and to moralize. For those of us outside his tribe, it's easy to call him crazy and dismiss him because, in some way, it affirms our safe choices. (If letting your body whither behind a desk, eating fast-food, driving in rush-hour, road-rage traffic every day a safe choice... or even living). And, yes, for those inside his tribe or on the fringe of it, it's probably too easy to put him on a pedestal.
But the fact is Shane McConkey was one crazy motherfucker who reminded us all that if we have the audacity follow our dreams, well, we just might be able to fly. (Geoff D’Auria, “Vancouver Ski Legend Dies,” _The Tyee, March 30, 2009)

Why write a piece where anyone who questions whether it is maybe a little romantic and inaccurate to identify Shane as someone who "befriends rather than fights his demons and then rides them to worlds beyond ours," becomes some chicken-shit who is afraid to live? I hope that's not part of the culture Shane partook in, doing something, in part, not just because it pushed limits but because it gave him status above the rest of us mundanes. If it was, then though I really like how you describe him as someone who is always tweeking, stretching, growing, how you make his life one of experimentation, learning, and adventure, there is plenty I hope others don't feel moved to want to emulate. Most certainly, I don't want more young people thinking that if you don't do the extreme, become the marine, you're some pussy who doesn't know what it is to live. Living this way may actually have a lot to do with a hyper-active need to ceaselessly re-engage with life-crushing terror, rather than life-enhancing flight. It may have been born from something gone wrong, rather than something that went right.

There is room here for admiration, but also the therapist's query. You should have allowed us that.

Link: Vancouver Ski Legend Dies (The Tyee)


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