X Games: The rebels against gravity land in Minneapolis

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Matt Morning / ESPN Images

You can take the Super Bowl just about anywhere.

Lately the big game’s been held in such middling metropoles as Houston, Indianapolis, and Detroit. Next year, it’s here in Minneapolis, and will undoubtedly, unstoppably, be a success.

Location is more complicated for the X Games. Founded as a sort of badass Olympics for kids with piercings and pavement scars, the X Games demands from its host a certain welcoming of weirdness. For a few days at least, the city’s shape must fit itself around a new edge.

For a decade starting in the early 2000s, that city was Los Angeles. But L.A. has since moved on to other hobbies, like counting and keeping up with Kardashians. For the past three years, the Summer X Games were staged in Austin, Texas, counterculture capital of the American South. This year and next, the great carnival of boards, bikes, and bruises is on loan to Minneapolis.

Unlike the predictable march of team sports, each X Games is truly unknowable until it’s occurring right in front of you. Most sports evolve. Extreme sports transform all at once, with each single run challenging the sport itself, reaching to make it vanish and reappear anew, as if by magic. Maybe that’s why they call them tricks.

Each year, a handful of athletes will try never-before-seen moves difficult even to understand, pushing their sport to new places while several stories in the air. It is this daredevil streak that fires the blood of the X Games, and the 100,000-plus fans who will populate the area around U.S. Bank Stadium beginning Thursday evening.

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Matt Morning / ESPN Images

Maybe the Super Bowl played there will be a good one. But rest assured, no one will play in it with both feet off the ground, and upside down. We mortals cannot imagine how things appear from that angle. But now, for the first time ever, when the risk-taking wizards look down from their great heights, they will see us, looking back at them.

Read City Pages' coverage of the 2017 X Games:

How skate videos changed music, pop culture, and P.O.S.

Alec Majerus went from skating Minneapolis streets to competing in its X Games

Skateboarder Bob Burnquist, history's greatest X Gamer, on surviving decades of crash landings

Nicole Hause wants to show girls can take a beating and get back up

X Games: What to watch at U.S. Bank Stadium

A snowmobiling accident could've ended Mike Schultz's career. Instead it became a detour

X Games
What: Annual extreme sports competition featuring skateboarding, BMX, and motocross
When: Kicks off July 13 at 5 p.m. and runs through July 16
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis
Tickets: General admission from $20; more information and buy tickets here


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