Heading into the final stop in Orlando, I'm wondering why I'm surprised that Chris Cole is only one third-place finish away from winning the whole darn tour. Too good to be true maybe? I'm not sure. Because really, it's been pretty obvious for a while now that he's one of the greatest street skaters to ever skate the surface of earth. Let's recap: for starters, he was Thrasher's SOTY in 2005. That's like, a big deal. Additionally he three sixty flipped Wallenberg, won the X-Games (twice), took a hundred G's off the Maloofs, and do I really need to mention the path of destruction he laid down in his Fallen part? If I do, just remember that he actually had two parts, and both were well off the charts/chain/Richter/choose your own unit of measurement then insert here. But I'm guessing my surprise has something to do with his having to have outskated a field of seasoned park course punishers that seemed unbeatable in the Dew environs. Until now.
It all started when Sheckler went and tore himself a new ankle, taking himself out of the running. Then Ortiz watched his chances of a Dew Cup repeat slowly slipping away in SLC, basically due to a stubborn hang up on one trick. I should mention that the old double kickflip front board kickflip gets me every time too. I'm not too sure about what happened with P-Rod, a few untimely bails is all it takes these days, I suppose. That's not to say that Chaz and P-Razzle-dazzle don't have any shot at the Cup in Orlando, but with Cole in the equation the odds are almost as long as the shadows of the Magic Kingdom at sunset (sorry for the ridiculous analogy...). Get this, Cole is prequalified to the Finals already when he shows up in Mickey's hometown, so the worst he can place there is 12th, and even then there's an outside chance that he could still win the whole shebang.
Let me break down some other possible scenarios real quick. For Chazzy to walk with the Cup, it's imperative that he place top three in Orlando. If he doesn't, he'll be giving up the ghost and the Cup, right then and there. If he does finish on the podium, he has to hope Cole blows it and fails to make the top six. Those two things combined will equal another Dew Cup for Chazmataz. Got it?
Oh but wait! Here I am blathering about the third place guy and forgetting all about the course dark horse, Ryan Decenzo. Like Cole, this is also Ryan's first year doing the Dew. He’s been steadily crushing his way through each stop, and is currently sitting in a very comfortable second place spot. That's huge. But also like Cole he has yet to win a stop, and here's why (I think). Ryan is more of the traditional street skater's skater. So when up against people like Chaz or Rodolfo (who've each won a stop this year), while he might go bigger and pull stuff out of a deeper bag of tricks, he's had a tendency to get edged out in the consistency department. But only very slightly. I gotta say, though, if you were judging on the excitement level, he might have won all three stops. Basically if he makes one or two more of his bangers in Orlando he could easily come out of there the winner. And if he does, there's a decent chance that he could be the Tour champ and pocket a spare $75,000. Imagine the party he and roommate Dyet could throw back in HB with that bit of coin. So, assuming he wins in Orlando, if Cole gets fourth or lower, then only thing left is for Dyet to go pick up the keg. The worst Ryan can place and still have a shot to win it all is fifth, of course his odds of winning the lottery might be better than getting what he needs from Cole (12th) and Ortiz (4th or lower) to make that scenario pay the grand prize, but as I've said in the past, anything is possible when you're Doing the Dew. Haven't I said that before?
Let me jump in here for a second and say that to give you all these various scenarios, the good folks behind the scenes at the Dew used a computer with the processing power similar to those used at the Pentagon when they play their little war games. Over a period of weeks, some countless trillions of outcomes for Orlando were entered and analyzed, and I've been working tirelessly with the results ever since, sorting through reams and reams of paper, searching for those key figures, like needles in a haystack, that will help you, the staunch enthusiast, put it all in some semblance of perspective. Bear with me if I seem a bit frazzled.
But back to the task at hand! Besides Cole, Decenzo, and Ortiz, the only two skaters with any hope whatsoever of sipping from the cup of Dew are P-Rod and Ramos. But both of their scenarios start with this fact right here: They have to win. If either of them do that, then they would need Cole to finish 11th or lower (unlikely), Decenzo to finish 5th or lower (unlikely), and so on and so forth (also unlikely)...So what I'm saying is, I wouldn't count on it.
Um, I don't know if any of this clears anything up or not, but either way, Orlando is going to be a wild ride. My guess is that Chris Cole will do what he's been doing all year long, and in the process hang on to all or part of his 34 point lead and skate away with the golden hardware.