Tuesday, November 23, 2010

ESPN Classic at Summerfest in Milwaukee

I was going through my stack of footbag t-shirts and I came across this black ESPN Classic shirt that I got from doing an impromptu demo for ESPN that not many of my friends know about.

I'm guessing 2005 was the year, Alex was young, but out of the stroller.  As a family, we try to make it to Summerfest (sometimes jokingly called "Bummerfest" because of all the cops that are there busting down on underage drinking etc...) because it is an amazing music festival, featuring some great performers and bands.  I don't know who was playing that night, but I'm sure Valeria will remember.  Of course, whenever we go to festivals, our alternative purpose is to shred in public, to make more people aware of the wonderment of footbag freestyle, and to have fun doing it!

We were shredding on the fair grounds when a producer from ESPN came over and asked if we would play near their live broadcast, so they would have something visually interesting to pan across as they come and go to commercials.  In return, we would have access to their VIP tent and all the accouterments thereof.  So we took a break and went with them to the booth.  We met the director and he set us up amidst the crowds of people watching the live broadcast, he put two security guards near us and little orange cones to denote a playing area that we had all to ourselves.

When they weren't filming, we were in the VIP area, which had a gourmet buffet, free beverages, and access to the stars of the live broadcast and their friends/family.  We were treated like royalty and it was awesome!  We got a signed baseball bat from some famous baseball person (who was really famous, but who I had never heard of... keeping in mind that I know NOTHING about baseball, his name still escapes me, but many of you would know it if I was to be able to pull it out of my hat right now.) and met all kinds of really great people!

It turned out that they had us shredding for at least 3 different half hour sessions, but only panned across us 4 or 5 times.  They had us under their boom camera that was on a long stick and they pan across the crowds to show how awesome the atmosphere was at the festival.  We were smack dab in the middle of the crowd, they paused on us for a couple of seconds, I can only assume they were filming us at the time.  Unfortunately, I never saw the episode so I don't know what actually aired.  This was of course, pre-facebook and I had no way to tell my friends to watch.  So here I am at least 6 years later waxing nostalgic about it.  I'll check their archives and see if I can get a copy of it, but I'm not holding my breath.

Bottom line is: We love to shred in public, and even without any active planning on our part, we seem get on TV quite often.  Life is good!

See ya!

Shred notes: October 2010
Better said by video in this case.  Prolific.

Highlight reel:

Details of each trick with corrected names:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'm a human Rube Goldberg machine...

The similarities between footbag freestyle and a Rube Goldberg machine (a deliberately over-engineered machine that performs a very simple task in a very complex fashion...) are chilling on many levels.  In Freestyle Footbag, a single trick is defined by transferring the footbag from one surface to another surface, with as many elements of difficulty in between.  Which is in line with the Rube Goldberg Machine (RGM) concept, but one trick does not a RGM make.  When we perform multiple tricks together, back to back, we call that a String of tricks.  When we combine the difficulty of performing a single trick, with the added difficulty of stringing them together, this very much resembles a RBM.  The big difference is that with RBM's the physics are pre-calculated and the variables are removed through clever engineering, and with Footbag Freestyle strings, our brains are perceiving the next trick and making minor adjustments in order to compete it, but assuming at the end of the individual trick, we are able to set properly for the next trick, an RGM is born.

Footbag freestyle practitioners are human Rube Goldberg Machines!  I am a human RGM!
What is more unnecessarily difficult than a well performed footbag freestyle string?  I can't think of many things... perhaps Rythmic Gymnastics, that is even close to the self-imposed difficulty thresholds that we place upon ourselves.  For us, the more difficult the trick and the longer the strings the better... classic RGM's.

As Wikipedia says (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rube_Goldberg_machine)...
"A Rube Goldberg machine is a deliberately over-engineered machine that performs a very simple task in a very complex fashion, usually including a chain reaction. The expression is named after American cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg.
Since then, the expression has expanded to denote any form of overly confusing or complicated system."

Here are some links to my recent videos from Facebook and Youtube:

There's more, I just don't have time right now.  More later!!!

See ya!