Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Stair Master! (not yet, but maybe someday… long dramatic sigh)

That last post was awfully long, emphasis on the awful. I’m going to try and keep this one short today. We’ll start of with the number one most important thing I learned today.

After numerous attempts with lots of trial and error, a distinguished panel of experts unequivocally determined that there is no possible way for me to fall down a flight of stairs gracefully.

My first attempt was weak. I wasn’t loosened up and I hadn’t found a rhythm yet, so I didn’t beat myself up too bad when the judges declared my first effort, “the work of a blind, clumsy fool.” I deserved that, the way I fell down those stairs was nothing short of amateurish. I was so embarrassed I didn’t even properly acknowledge the judges table after I landed on my side. Sure, it’s a points deduction, but there was no way I was getting anything above a 3 anyway, so no big loss.

For my second attempt of the day, I thought I’d try and make up some ground, so I began the tumble starting off on the wrong foot. I’m naturally goofy foot, so traditionally I begin my fall down the stairs by misjudging the second step with my right foot. The judges know this, so I thought they would appreciate the effort I was putting forth when I instead used my left foot, precariously planting just the last quarter inch of my heal on the tip of that first step and then letting my body weight combined with the awesome force of gravity do the rest. In the end, it came out looking decidedly un-athletic and contrived, which it was. Still, the judges were being generous when they handed me an average score of 6.7.

My last attempt I had to lay it all on the line if I wanted to have any shot at a medal. I couldn’t hold back. Like the kids say, “Go big, or go home.” I figured my only chance was to attempt a move I’ve named, “The Paid Vacation.” I call it that because when executed properly, any witnesses or video camera footage should confirm to a judge and jury that the “victim” that fell down the stairs is entitled to no less than 6 months of workman’s comp. I carried two large boxes that almost completely obscured my vision of the stairs. This move is all about timing, and truth be told, I’ve only landed it once in practice, never in a competition. The key is to convince your body that the step is about 4 inches higher than it really is. This makes your overall body form give the impression of true commitment. You want to convince the judges that you really didn’t mean to fall. It’s much harder than it sounds. These are expert judges that have spent years watching people fall down stairs. Many of them were Olympic alternates back in 1970’s, the “Golden Days” of stair falling, so they know all the tricks of the trade and it’s hard to get anything by their keen eyes.


Like the previous two, my third attempt was an utter disaster. The Australian judge totally nailed me eyeballing my mark (the place where I was pretending the step was) and all but screamed it out to the other judges. And the Finland judge (the Fins are world renowned for their ability to recreate the true herky jerky motion of an actual fall down the stairs) said I moved my hips like an oversized aardvark after a heavy night of drinking, which is true, I do. Then, to add insult to injury, the Argentinean judge told me my cries for help sounded rehearsed and monotone. I heard myself on the replay and I can’t argue, but he didn’t have to call me out like that. I knew it, the judges knew it, hell, even the casual fans in the audience who know nothing about the sport of stair falling knew it. I didn’t need to be insulted on national television like that.

My final fall resulted in a very disappointing 5.8. I didn’t even make the top 5 which means that I’ll have to compete in several of the other less prestigious competitions in order to qualify for the Olympic trials which are set to begin in November of 2007. I’m going to have to train hard. I won’t be happy until the judges acknowledge me as the most graceful stair faller the world has ever seen. I know it’s an ambitious goal, but if you fought through the dry eyes and blurred vision that my last post undoubtedly created, then you’d know that I have ambitious goals that I’m afraid to go after. Well it’s high time I stared (pun totally intended) fear in the eyes and find out if it really will make me wet my pants. There’s only 3 1/2 ways to find out. I’ll keep you posted. (yeah, I intended that pun too. What are you going to do about it?)


Hmm… so much for a short post. There’s a lot of wind in this bag people.

19 comments:

cadiz12 said...

i give you a 6.7.
don't worry, there's plenty of time to improve.

Cate said...

Face it - you are consitutionally incapable of short posts. It's part of your charm.

Now keep at it with the stairs. I've got money riding on the 2008 Olympics.

omar said...

Yeah, short blog posts or comments are not your style.

The Argentinian judge is corrupt. I saw him accepting a bribe from the Chilean contestant.

Jon said...

Nothing about the Chileans surprises me. I swear, this sport is more corrupt than boxing.

Short post really aren’t my style. I feel it necessary to waste more than just a little bit of peoples time. I need to work on it though, I’m proud to say that according to statcounter, over 77% of my visitors stick around for less than 5 seconds. I’m happy to say that within 5 seconds, 77% of the people can gather enough info about my blog to realize they’ve got better things to do and they should just move on.

And 6.7? What’s a guy gotta do? I train every day! I eat junk food, I don’t sleep much and make almost no effort to get the wrinkles out of my clothes! You people are impossible to please.

A said...

I would question the integrity of the judges. You clearly have mastered the art.

Thanks btw :>

cadiz12 said...

you can always try to bribe them. granted, that'd be at the expense of your own integrity, but i heard judges just love chocochip cookies.

it's just a thought.

Glo said...

Once again, chocolate is the key to bribery...

I have yet to finish this post. I read a sentence, feel the urge to laugh hysterically, have to leave the cubicle-infested room to relieve the tension, then pretend to work. Rinse and repeat. I will endure.

Truly hilarious...one for the memory books. (Oh- and thanks for being so considerate as to waste a 'lot' of my time. I feel short-changed when I'm avoiding work and someone only has 35 seconds worth of material to distract me.)

Glo said...

Finally done. Had to hold my breath for the last paragraph. The heady, dizzy feeling got me through without alerting the assistant that I was once again earning more than she is for less work.

Adrian said...

Yet MORE corruption? I'm like a kid in a candy store! YAY!

I know its like taking illegal 'stimulants' (actually depressant in this case) but I find alcohol to be PARTICULARLY effective when wanting to fall down stairs.

Failing that, mother-in-laws are a close second. It will be like bobsledding- starting off with a PUSH.

Glo said...

Very good point, Adrian T. And I've heard that Jon isn't above illegal play, so this may be his key to the 2008 games...

Jon said...

Yeah, but I pride myself on the fact that I’m all natural. I don’t drink, so I don’t know if I could do it just to raise my performance level. Drug testing is surprisingly lax in the sport, so it’s not like I’m worried about getting caught or anything.

But I had an epiphany today. Quite serendipitous really. Almost as an accident, I believe I’m going to pioneer a completely different form of stair falling. Up to this point, stair falling has always gone one way: Down. Well today I discovered a revolutionary technique that will allow me to fall UP the stairs!! Being the first person to do this in competition will give me a huge head start on everyone else so that I should be able to dominate for a few years and eventually be recognized in the history books as the father of falling up stairs. I think I can live with that, even if I’m just middle of the road at falling down stairs.

Glo said...

Revolutionary. Inspiring. Can't wait for the tear-jerker team spirit movie. I see the flag as you slo-mo up the stairs, arms flailing, boxes scattering (careful with the ones that tick). I'm getting choked up just considering the soundtrack. I think Lee Greenwood...

Jon said...

I think the movie will be mostly a series of musical montages, each with numerous emotional swings. From my seemingly unbearable fight with vertigo, all the way to my ultimate triumph when I successfully fall up three consecutive flights of stairs. The audience will laugh, they will cry, they will cheer, but mostly they will boo and ask for their money back. Miramax has already signed on. They are going to film a documentary called, “Project Red Light.”

I think I’m going to work the cookie bribe angle. I’ll make up a batch for the next meet. I’ll probably eat a few of them right after I take them out of the oven, that’s the only time I really like them, when they are soft and hot.

cadiz12 said...

i think that's your best bet. what's the worst that can happen, they refuse to accept the bribe?

then it's all the more cookies for you, my friend. and who knows, maybe the sugar rush will enhance your performance.

Jon said...

Cadiz, let’s be realistic. Who’s going to refuse freshly baked cookies? Seriously… Seriously…

cadiz12 said...

you're right.
better bust out that apron, pal.

Adrian said...

Knock 'em dead!

You could take me on as your coach and if you DONT make the top three, we could claim Third World discrimination. Africa is flavour of the month at the moment (G8 and Live8) so I don't reckon the judges would like to be on the wrong side of the worlds goodwill?

If not, more cookies for us, right?

Jon said...

Oh, the apron is ready… I can’t say I’m a world class chef, but I do posses the desire to learn. And (here I go bragging again about my past success) when I worked at Pizza Hut, I spent a lot of time on the make table, putting together some of the finest pies known to man. Fast too. I actually (and I wish I were kidding, but I’m not) had some regulars that would specifically request that I make their pizzas. I have a gift for portion control. I always had the precise amount of ingredients evenly distributed for maximum tasting pleasure.

Perhaps it is time for me to get a coach. I might be a little too close to the canvas, if you know what I mean. A little perspective might just be the thing that puts me over the top and thrust me directly into the stair falling spotlight.

Glo said...

I have a friend who competed, even when she was pregnant - got herself a few days in-patient for it, but reportedly received very high marks for her stair-falling that day. She's looking for a new protege....