Trick shots are the rage these days.
A video camera, some YouTube and some outrageous skill is all it takes to become an Internet sensation.
There's no starting point and likely no end; but it caught fire recently when backup UConn quarterback Johnny McEntee posted proof that he has wayyy too much time on his hands and hand-eye coordination borne of 10,000 hours of flipping footballs.
More than 5.1-million people have watched his various feats of accuracy, and it's hard not too. I'm a sucker for that kind of thing.
Few among us ever have the chance to even glimpse into what elite athletes do as a matter of routine: you know throwing a 15-yard out with a pass rush coming is absurdly difficult; but like elite ballet or someone who has mastered the violin, the whole point is to make something most people could never do look effortless.
Which got me thinking about Sidney Crosby, who - with the help of Reebok - stirred some online excitement (though perhaps less than they hoped) a while back with some pseudo-viral videos of him using whatever new stick Reebok is using him to sell.
It's pretty neat stuff, but off course, raises the question: real or fake?
I put it to writer, blogger, former pro hockey player, son of NHLer Justin Bourne, who presumably, has spent enough time hanging around morning skates to know what guys are capable of with a puck, some free time and a little creativity:
I just re-watched the pyramid of pucks video - I remember the first time I watched it I figured I could probably take the puck off the top of a pyramid (think of the accurate shot contest in the ASG, only with a still puck). Probably not the first or second shot, but give me five or ten and I could definitely do it. The slapshot to the pyramid, I would expect to hit it, even two years removed. But I'm 100% with you, I think it's fake, based on A) the rolling puck and B) the camerawork. Still, you gotta figure Crosby is 200,000 times better than I am at shooting the puck, so I'd say he could do everything he does in that video fairly consistently, just the odds of jamming it all into 30 seconds seems unlikely.
The one where he puts the net back on the moorings is fake, but cool (actually, the other one is awesome too). You can move an unpegged net with a shot, but that much? Not likely (especially the last one). You'd never hear that much clunking on a puck in the net either. But again, very well done, and something he could do given a few more pucks and the interest to do something bizarre (nets have pegs or moorings, of course, so I'm not sure what it "sets" into at the end, but whatever).
I even went so far to call the people at Reebok:
Our conversation went like this:
First Up: Are the videos authentic?
Reebok guy: That's where the mystery lies. That's where the mystery is moving forward for sure. I've never confirmed to anyone they're real or confirmed to anyone they're doctored.
First Up: That just says to me they're doctored.
Reebok guy: Not necessarily….don't take for granted that because we're not saying they're authentic they're not. That's the debate that's going on right now. We don't want to confirm one way or another - we don't want to give reason one way or another. We want people to debate about it.
First Up: If they are real, why would you want any question that they're not?
Reebok guy: That's what's generating that buzz out there….reavealing one way or another for us it's going to kill the debate right away.
First Up: But if turns out to be fake, that's bad right? Don't they call that blowback in the PR business?
Reebok guy: Yes and no. At the end of day, one thing I can tell you is that Sidney does to amazing things with the puck, probably more than most people can imagine…when he's alone on the ice with a puck, it's something else.
First Up: Steam out of ears….
As an aside -- I've got nothing against Crosby, quite the oppostite as a matter of fact. And I have nothing against a little leg-pulling; and who doesn't like a little superpowers in their athletic icons? When Kobe Bryant jumped over a sports car, it was fairly clear that it was faked. I mean, I'm sure Kobe Bryant could jump over a speeding Aston Martin; but pretty confident it would void his contract if he somehow erred.
But there's reason why Crosby's video -- backed by a multinational corporation and featuring the most famous hockey player on the planet can generate a few hundred thousand hits, and a video by an Alex Tranny can generate nearly a million hits, or one by McEntee can generate more than five-million.
Those ones are real.
So here's an idea for Reebok: why not shoot some video of Crosby doing some amazing things with a puck?
Exactly how accurate is his shot? What other craze stuff can he do?
I for one would love to know. Like I said, I'm a sucker for stuff like that and God knows he's got time on his hands.