Tobacco free, but hooked on XBox

Tobacco free, but hooked on XBox

Kai Kang

XBOX360 Anti-Gravity Tour surprise visits Monta Vista


BMX Bikers on Tobacco Free Kids Day

The XBox 360, the Marines, and BMX stunts have few things in common but for their teenage audiences. It’s clear why they would want to advertise at  a high school.

Hint: it’s not to support the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

On Monday, Sept. 22, MVHS was the first stop on the Xbox360 Anti-Gravity Tour, a partnership between the Marines, ASA Entertainment Action Sports and XBox to promote the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. Though the tour didn’t have much to do with smoking, it was still entertaining for students.

If the campaign seemed to come out of the blue, it was due to the fact that even the administration learned about it last minute.

“They had a whole week scheduled in the Bay Area but then two schools at the last minute backed out,” Dean of Students Denae Moore said. “I don’t know any of the details about why. And so, I just found out literally on Thursday that there’s the possibility of us running this, and I committed to us actually holding it on Friday.”

The Marines had a small exhibit, consisting of just a high bar and a tent. Sergeants Kann and Reliford, dressed in sharp, gray-green camouflage uniforms, gave out water bottles as prizes for attempting chin-ups.

Besides dispensing the handy plastic containers, the recruitment officers gave out tales about life as a Marine. Kanns, for example, operated an Amtrack. Basically swimming tanks, the armor-encased Amtracks are able to move around in water by using jet engines to assist rotating tracks.

When asked what the military had to do with a program to stop teenage smoking, Sergeant Debourg laughed.

“We like to be healthy,” he said.

The XBox 360 display was set up beside the C-building, in a series of three tents containing six flat-screen TVs. The tents sheltered a crowd of students striving to prove themselves at Rock Band and Madden Football. All the equipment used had been newly unwrapped the period before, a perk of being the first stop on the tour.

“It’s like a gamer’s heaven,” junior Vikram Nilakantan said. “XBox at school? You would never play XBox at school!”               

The main attraction of the tour was a lunchtime action sports show featuring five professional BMX, inline, and skateboard athletes. Standouts Shane Yost and Marc Engleheart even placed at the recent Global X-Games. The riders took turns speeding down the slopes of the story-tall halfpipe, launching into the air to do as many flips or revolutions as possible.

“It’s pretty cool,” junior Conner Kuhns said. Kuhns, an avid mountain biker, enjoyed watching BMX biker Shane Yost perform a double tailwhip and “sick” tabletop.

In the tabletop, Yost tipped the bike more than 90 degrees to one side while coming off a jump. In the double tailwhip, he kicked his bike into a 720 degree revolution while releasing everything but the handlebars.

“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” senior Nikhil Handyal said, while watching the athletes.

The MC’s running commentary during the show provided one of the few ways the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids related to tobacco. With observations like “That’s one every 6.6 seconds!” and “There are 4,000 chemicals in one cigarette!” the MC was able to fix a message about smoking to an exciting show.

Plus, they gave away XBox360 games to students who remembered.

Though XBox and Co. may have fixed their logos to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the wheeled stunts were an eye-opening experience to many students. And unlike many other activities in Monta Vista, it came completely free of charge to both the students and the school.  
“It’s different from anything I’ve seen in MVHS before,” junior Divya Nair said. “[But] I think it’s lame that it’s about tobacco.”