By Paul Zitzer
Thugged out basketball star Allen Iverson has the best quote in history about the mundane subject of practice. More of a rant than a quote really, but either way, it pretty much embodied everything a coach tries to instill in young player, but opposite.
"Practice?" he scoffed when a reporter suggested he hadn't been doing enough of it. "I'm supposed to be the franchise player and we in here talkin’ about practice. What are we talkin' about? Practice? Are we talkin’ about practice?" And on and on and on. You should YouTube it.
Sorry, but I'm here to talk about practice, at least a little bit. Watching Sheckler practice before the SLC street finals suggested that he might cruise to a win. He had what was arguably the best line a human could do on the course, and he was doing it every try.
Frontside flip up the Euro, fakie flip into the wedge, fakie 5-0 the hubba, etc etc. On top of that, with his last Dew Tour victory coming way back at the first stop of last year, he's like a 10-month old fetus...overdue.
Ryan Sheckler Greg Lutzka
“I'm just started to get frustrated with myself not winning contests. I'm just going to try to do as much as I can go get that going again.” -Ryan Sheckler
But Iverson may have been on to something, and when Sheckler bailed the fakie flip into the wedge, which was probably the easiest trick in his run, it was sort of a spiraling downhill slog from there. Of course he's Sheckler though, and even that slog was amazing, and good enough for third place.
P-Rod, who you might want to think of as the anti-Iverson, practices a lot. But sometimes P-Rizzle's tricks can be just a little too hard. Even for the master. The switch tre bomb for one just didn't seem to be happening for him in the final jam in Salt Lake. He did come through with enough for fourth however, thanks to a totally regular looking switch back smith and a bunch of other bangers.
Ryan Decenzo doesn't seem to practice as much as he just skates...like a beast. A very talented beast that is, with amazing flick. He proved this again by kickflip frontside lipsliding himself straight into fifth place, jumping from ninth in points up to fifth in the process. It's only a matter of time before he skates away with a win at one of these. Don't be surprised when it happens.
Everyone had to kill it to make the top 12, but for guys like Andrew Pott, Jereme Rogers, Bastian Salabanzi, and Adam Dyet, they just seemed to kill it a little more in practice than they did in the finals. And despite his struggles in the big money round, Dyet was the crowd favorite, one reason being that he's from SLC (not that you could ever guess it by looking at him), the second being he's a backside kickflip melon grabbing maniac who, with a brand new baby daughter in tow, can now occasionally be seen holding sippy cups and diaper bags. Totally awesome.
P-Rod Jereme Rogers
Going into SLC, it was sort of surprising that Greg Lutzka had such a commanding lead in the points race. Prior to this year's Dew kick-off in Boston, he hadn't won a stop since '07, and his sixth place year-end ranking last year was tied with his all time low. But now, with the 2010 Toyota Challenge street even just another salty memory on which to ruminate, it's maybe more surprising that Greg's lead on the tour didn't become even bigger.
Because despite employing his usual M.O., the one that includes breezing in at the last possible moment to practice, (Are we talkin’ about practice?), and looking like he doesn't care one way or another, the limited amount of time he spent out on the course seemed to be more than enough. After cruising through his usual repertoire of frontside threes and frontside 270 lipslides/noseblunt slides/etc, it looked like he might have sewn up another victory when he stuck a picture perfect frontside flip to fakie nose grind down the big hubba first try...
But then Chaz Ortiz went to work. After a ridiculously high level of shredding all week in practice, and then qualifying, and then his run, and then the first jam, he stepped it up even more as the final jam's remaining seconds ticked away.
“I knew what I had to do to win and I did it.” -Chaz Ortiz
A nollie bigspin backlip down the big rail put him in contention for the win, and a perfect kickflip back smith clinched it. The 100 points he earned in the process moved him ahead of Sheckler and P-Rod in the standings, where he currently sits in second, 16 points behind Lutzka.
Now, with SLC in the books, we're done talking about practice. From here on out we're only going to be talking about the finals in Vegas.
Check out the Dew Tour recap of the contest.
See the Alli photo gallery of finals.
Check out the video highlights below