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Claim

  "You know, years ago when people were fired up about something they did, they could show it. Give a fist pump or the full-on hands raised, whatever. Look at team sports, they still go nuts. But somewhere along the way, in all action sports, outside of competition, it was no longer cool to look stoked, even if you just did the sickest thing in your life. You had to contain it, and look all nonchalant. Because apparently, doing that showed you were 'so good' that you felt like 'ya, that's pretty standard for me.' 
'Who came up with that one? Well I say, screw the cool-guy standard procedure, because when I'm fired up to be in a certain place or I just pulled off something sick, I'm not going to be afraid to show it. I'm gonna let people know. I'm gonna Claim!"

Image result for shane mcconkeyImage result for claim ski movie

 These are the words of the skiing legend Shane McConkey, spoken at the beginning of the greatest ski movie ever, Match Stick Production's 2008 film CLAIM. If you don't know what he's referring to, just hang out at the Valmont dirt jumps some time when it's busy. If you're lucky, you'll see some twelve or thirteen year-old boys messing around together. At some point, one of them will attempt the big jump he's been working up to. Typically his friends will explode with cheers and high fives when he returns to the start hill. But that is about the most emotion you will see from anyone out there. Any rider older than that is expected to remain solemn and aloof no matter how they are riding. I've watched riders throw together a string of pro-level tricks, then pedal back to the crowd looking glum. If you dare to offer a complement, you might get a silent nod, or a subdued, 'thanks.'
  I used to be like that too, it was the style at the time. Now I try to be more like Shane. I'm also over forty, so I no longer need to follow any of the standard 'coolness' protocols. When I'm charging down a run I'll be the one hooting and howling. At the end I try to leave an obnoxiously long skidmark and cap it off with a arm-cranking fist pump. I also ride with guys in my age group, so all of us have dropped the 'too cool to be stoked' facade. This post is to encourage everyone to CLAIM!
  Shane was right about a lot of things. He got skiers to widen their stance, wear helmets and ski fat skis. But, he never got to hear that he was right about giving a fist pump or throwing your hands in the air. We lost Shane McConkey in 2009 after a B,A.S.E jumping accident, only a year after that movie came out 
  In 2012 a social psychologist named Amy Cuddy gave a TED Talk proposing that standing in a posture of confidence can boost testosterone, lower cortisol and help increase our chances of success. It's a bad idea to try to summarize a twenty minute Ted Talk by an expert... so I'll give it a shot. Cuddy explains that these "power postures" are ancient and universal. Animals in nature expand their bodies to take up more space when they want to show dominance. Humans can do this too by widening our shoulders and extending our arms or holding our head up. We open up.  We can also assume a less powerful posture by crossing, legs, tucking in arms and closing in on ourselves. She goes on to cite various studies that monitored hormone levels in peoples bodies when all they did was assume different styles of posture. If you take the biggest alpha bro and make him sit for a few minutes with his legs tucked in, arms folded close, he begins to have raised levels of cortisol, ( a stress hormone) and lower levels of testosterone.
  Next comes the flip side of the findings. It turns out that by assuming one of the "power postures" you can make yourself into a more powerful person. Powerful people tend to be more more confident, more optimistic, they actually feel they are going to win even at games of chance. Those are great attributes to have whether you are addressing a board, entering a job interview or screaming down some singletrack. She finishes by saying that before you go into a stressful situation, like a job interview, go into the bathroom by yourself, and stand for two minutes with arms raised in a V for victory. When you walk out, your body will have convinced itself that you are already a winner.

  I think this is what Shane was getting at. There might be more to action sports than just the action. We might perform better if we consider what we do and say right before and after the action. Watch Amy Cuddy's Ted Talk titled 'Your body language may shape who you are.' This will get you thinking. Then watch Match Stick Productions CLAIM, The Greatest Ski Movie Ever. This will get you stoked. And most importantly, next time you crush it on your favorite bike trail, enthusiastically tell the first person you see just how rad you were!


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