As everybody has said all along, one great thing about the Olympics is learning foreign languages and cultures.
Take punkers and X-ers at the Snowboard World Cup halfpipe competition Thursday at Park City Mountain Resort, which included many athletes we'll see at the 2002 Games.
It may be a little "bro" talking about the "trannies" and "misties," because you get more "baraka-ed" street surfing. But like J-Squared said, the whole thing was still pretty "wicked sickle."
Need a U.N. translator?
Happy to provide. Being 18 once myself — historians are combing archives verifying as we speak — permit me to connect linguistic dots.
It was J.J. (J-squared, algebra fans) Eggers, Sandy, who told me how snowboarding is "sick." Meaning good.
"When something is truly sick, it's wicked sickle," said Squared, a six-year rider, "just barely 20" — when you're punking life, you hold onto that teen as hard as you can. "Snowboarding is 'hijinx,' meaning 'dope' — cool."
Squared's buddy, Danny Baich, 18, Sandy, sporting a black, Murder City Devils T-shirt, in tribute to a punk band, could not have agreed with Squared less.
"Boarding's too 'bro,' you know? Jocked-up, 'snow-bro,' " Baich said. "I mean, I'll rock the hills a little, myself, at times. But skateboarding's the man's sport. Snowboarding's for pansies. Snow softens the fall. Street-surfing, towing behind a car on a board, I do like that."
"True, you get major baraka-ed street-surfing," Squared said. "Baraka is a situation gone bad. You know, you hit asphalt, you get scabbed up — baraka-ed."
And that's the word from Murder City.
However, lest anyone think snowboard hills are alive only with the sound of punkers, meet Jeri Butler.
She was there helping tend an armada of Grantsville kids, among 15,000 Utah youths attending the Cup through Sunday, courtesy of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.
"Being out here with the music, the people, the sunshine, I love it," Butler said.
So, she must hail from a skiing/snowboarding family.
"We never go, actually. Not until now," she said.
Now her third-grader, Austin, has seen the action.
"He wants to come immediately. Like Saturday," Butler said.
"I've gotta learn a 'misty' back flip," Austin said of his favorite move.
Jenna Waite, 16, a Cottonwood High sophomore, is a four-year boarder, good enough to throw her favorite trick, "a rodeo."
"You come up the tranny — the transition area near the bottom — up off the top of the ramp and do a 360 back flip," she said.
Jenna was with her snowboarding dad, Jeff Waite, 41. Does he do any amazing flips?
"Not intentionally," Waite said. "I've fallen backwards, not meaning to."
Jenna is there for another all-American sport, boy-watching.
"Um-hmm. That Danny Kass," she said.
What's so special?
"He's 18," she said.
Kass came off the ramp, collected fourth place and talked about his board, which he calls Spanky. Decaled underneath is the word "gloves," with a grenade in place of the "o."
"Grenade gloves. I make 'em. They're blowin' up. They're the best."
So are Dragon goggles.
"You can see behind you with these, man."
Do they come with X-ray vision?
"In fact, you can see through people if you need to."
Kass does not take those goggles off. Outdoors, at the awards ceremony. Indoor interviews. Nor do the earphones, as he listened to The Misfits down the ramp.
"We are 138," he said.
And 138 has deep meaning?
"It has deep meaning, without a doubt."
That meaning would be?
"I don't know."
He realized, of course, what a perfect snowboarder answer that was.
"Happy to provide," he said.
Gib Twyman's column runs Saturdays. Please send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org , faxes to 801-237-2121.