I hate writing these. I really do.
Most of last week, I found myself thinking about a 25-year old action sports star that I had never met in my life. Praying for him, bargaining with God to spare his life, in order to give him the chance to continue to “live life the fullest”.
Unfortunately, Caleb Moore lost his life on January 31st, 2013. It was determined that Moore was brain dead and was being kept alive long enough for his organs to be harvested for donation.
Moore’s death is the first in the 18-year history of the X Games.
Perhaps more saddening is the fact that his death comes on the heels of another beloved action sports hero, freestyle skier Sarah Burke. Although her death was not suffered from a run made during competition, Burke was killed a little over a year before Moore after crashing during a routine practice run in Colorado.
Not only was Burke an X Games gold medalist, but she was considered a pioneer in her sport, which will make its Olympic debut next winter in Sochi, Russia.
While Burke’s death occurred right before last year’s Winter X Games, causing the action sports community to rally around each other and provide comfort, Moore’s death happened shortly after. Although there is still a large amount of support for his family, the discussion has quickly turned to what can be done to prevent another tragedy.
There is definitely a time and place for such talk. It is no doubt important, as no one wants to see such a horrible thing happen ever, let alone during a sanctioned competition that the world gets to see. But like Burke, Moore was a pioneer of sorts for his sport as well, and it would be much more appropriate to focus on that publicly for awhile.
Hailing from Krum, Texas, Moore was not accustomed to snow at birth. He started his action sports career as a motocross rider, and didn’t switch over to snow until fairly recently, making his X Games debut in 2010 along with his younger brother Colten.
Freestyle snowmobiling is generally looked at as one of the most dangerous sports in the Winter X Games. Maneuvering a 450-pound machine in ways that few can even imagine doing on a much smaller vehicle, athletes in this discipline are often looked at as some of the more reckless individuals in sports.
Thus, it is not surprising that ESPN issued a statement following Moore’s death that it will conduct a “thorough review” of the sport and look into the possibility of making changes.
ESPN personality Tony Kornheiser went a step further, saying that the network should get rid of the event.
Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that. Thankfully, there are enough people with the ability to make such calls that understand the inherent danger associated with a lot of sports, not just snowmobiling. What Kornheiser fails to mention is that Moore made a mistake on a trick that he had landed many times before.
Caleb Moore wouldn’t want the event terminated. What does that say about his efforts to grow the sport?
“Yea, thanks for putting on a great show Caleb, but unfortunately your death isn’t really going to improve the sport. It’s just going to put an end to it.”
No. A young man who lived his life to the fullest and provided inspiration to more than just those he met should have a better legacy than that. He deserves it.
But right now, that argument pales in comparison to the shock of his death. From the perspective of an outsider, it appears that we lost not only a top athlete, but also a great person.
Rest in peace, Caleb.
- K. Becks