“The Institute of Inconspicuous Consumption, the Center of the Uni-verse, is in Lukas’s home, located in Brooklyn, of course, south a few blocks from the Barclays Center and just west enough that one’s hamstrings can feel the gentle pull of the neighborhood’s titular park’s slope on approaching the building. Inside, the apartment is filled like a museum with neatly arranged, aesthetically pleasing displays of stuff: mid-century modern advertisements line the walls; baseball stirrups hang from the fireplace; an array of pencil sharpeners line a hallway arch, flipping at the keystone spot so as to keep the handles better arrayed and the sharpeners upright. There is a barber’s chair by the front window, a voluminous bird feeder like a flattened cake pan outside, shelves of vinyl, salesman’s samples displays—dinettes, American Tourister colors/materials, sunglasses, jockstraps, knives—chrome and enamel ball-shaped tap knobs, coin-operated devices (Coke, gumballs).”
“A staircase in Lyon, France, is the kind of place that can make those moments. Massive in scale, its 25 steps rise from a tessellation of small bricks into a frightening edifice. No handrails scar its face. At the top, a vast expanse of the slippery, square bricks unfurls in a run-up just long enough to reach the speed required to clear the cement waterfall of a staircase.
In 2002, pro Swedish skater Ali Boulala ended his section in Flip’s seminal skate videoSorry by crashing down the Lyon 25. The scene was thrilling, quixotic, and perfectly Boulala. It was a beautiful failing, an ollie down an obstacle so large that the attempt—not the make—became legendary. Since then, the staircase has remained one of skateboarding’s holy grails, silent, imposing, and unmolested.
Sorry was the first skate video Aaron “Jaws” Homoki ever owned or watched. Jaws, now 26 and a pro skater, never imagined throwing himself into the abyss like Ali did. But Jaws became a student of the drop. Seemingly having shock absorbers for legs, he would send his lean frame down precipitous falls. These spleen-rending drops (he ruptured his spleen making the 2011 film A Happy Medium) generated rumblings on message boards, in skate shops, and at street spots that Jaws would attempt the 25.”
“But the bottom line is such rosy outlooks are starting to sound tired. Increasingly, the NCAA and lacrosse-centric media are being instructed to shy away from hard-hitting questions about things like attendance and the game’s long-term viability. Oftentimes, the lacrosse establishment makes the game’s history-hewed story seem like a bubble that can never burst — it’s all a rocket ride straight to the top.
In this climate, Championship Weekend stagnant attendance numbers are increasingly shrugged off as an anomaly. After all, last year’s Championship Weekend still drew north of 70,000 spectators. All the while, lacrosse’s D-1 expansion continues apace. Indeed, the landscape would be absolutely unrecognizable to someone who attended the 2007 Championship Weekend — new programs are cropping up everywhere, including in schools well outside of the traditional lacrosse belt (Marquette, Furman, and High Point, just to name a few).”
“The dash is shot through with controversy, with whispers and questions about aids, be it the strong wind at the track that day or the rumors of doping that plagued Flo-Jo’s career. What is irrefutable is how she looked: not just victorious but incredible, equal parts Amazon and amazing as she screamed away from her peers in a flash, her right leg completely covered in an asymmetric purple, her other one bare, her wrists encircled in chains and fingertips bathed in fire. With one of the greatest feats ever performed by a human body in an outfit that would not look out of place on Nicki Minaj, Flo-Jo proved that one could be serious about both performance and personal style. Triumph!”
“Knowledge is the accumulation of information, of facts, experiences, observations, theories, insights, leaps, falls, deaths, orders, rules, and screaming, bleeding schisms; it is something akin to the panel, to the pigment and joint compound atop the panel, to the swirling array of color and urgency and feeling, to the pouring over said array of a firm foundation, to the application, upon that foundation, of a million motions and painstaking efforts to create something beautiful, and for that something beautiful to, if not re-made over and over again, inevitably fade away to a ghost.”