Ryan who? Sports landscape has a new face

The landscape of sports has officially changed. The world as we knew it is gone. The future, as seen through the eyes of teens and tweens, is not baseball, basketball, football, hockey, boxing and horse racing. It’s not even tennis or golf. Or lacrosse and soccer, as some would proclaim.

The TLAs (three-letter acronyms) of MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL are being replaced by MMA, UFC, WWE and the OLA of X, as in X Games.

Last night I watched part of a replay of the “Kids’ Choice Awards”, aka the KCA. It was on Nickelodeon last weekend, but my sons didn’t watch it live. They DVR’d it. One of the categories was “Favorite Male Athlete”. Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard and Joe Mauer were nowhere on the nominee list. There was no Peyton Manning or Adrian Peterson. No Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin. These Nick kids probably would have said Sidney who? Joe schmoe? The nominees were two NBA stars — Kobe Bryant and LeBron James — and two X Games superheroes. One of them I knew because Shaun White crosses over into the Olympic Winter Games as a superhuman snowboarding god. The winner, however, was Ryan Sheckler.

I said, Ryan Who?

Sheckler is a skateboarding phenom who’s just 20 years old. He won his first Summer X Games gold at age 13. He has crossed over into acting, too, appearing on MTV and in movies. According to his official website, he’s also a “teenage heartthrob, business owner, charity founder and TV star”. I guess I’ve been missing out.

Now I know. Fantasy baseball and the Super Bowl are so yesterday. The sports world as we know it has changed.

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