Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Brenden: The Human Bowling Ball
While in Sapporo, my friends Brenden, Denise and I decided to visit the Winter Sports museum, which presents a history of skiing and Olympic Winter Sports in Japan. It was good fun. After the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, the Japanese decided to convert the one time Olympic Ski Jump into a museum for winter sports.
Despite lacking somewhat in large, impressive things to stare at, (I have come to expect museums to have exclusive artifacts, paintings, and other knickknacks.) it was a very cool museum. They did have lots of different activities for you to do, including a speed skating simulator, a cross country ski simulator, a device that simulates the way figure skaters use centrifugal forces to spin around really fast. I almost fell off the last one while my face turned bright red.
They also had a super-duper high tech virtual-reality ski-jump simulator. Considering I had to make a reservation 2 hours ahead of time, it was definitely disappointing. The fact that I could only jump 114 meters may have played a part as well.
The real highlight of the trip was that they let people go tubing down the old ski jump from halfway up! What a great idea! I think Brenden, myself, Denise, and some Russian guy we met were the only people older than twelve to go on the jump. Brenden and I did it twice. You hike halfway up the ski jump, two guys control the traffic, and you cruise down real fast on a rubber donut before crashing into enormous safety pads held in place by other staff members.
For those of you who know my friend Brenden, you know that he has a somewhat substantial physique. Standing six feet and five inches tall, he towers over most everything in Japan (including most doorways and telephone poles). But Brenden is more than just tall. He will also be the first to tell you that he’s a big guy. And he is a big guy. He's the guy who shops at "Big & Tall" retail outlets.
Consequently, upon rumbling down the mountain, he plowed right through the padded barriers and knocked down all the staff members and innocent bystanders before smashing into a vending machine. The large pads that children crashed against as the waves break against a rocky shore were swept aside like bowling pins. Nothing emerged intact.