Maybe you have always wondered what it would be like to fly, or you just envied those who know what it’s like. Maybe your inner daredevil is itching to get out, but your conscience tells you to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. Whether you’re too scared to try, you’ve tried and failed, or you just want to see what the fuss is all about, there’s no reason to miss seeing the best of the best defy gravity and take fate into their own hands at this summer’s X Games.

As professional athletes around the globe launch off jumps, slide down rails and spin and flip in the air – competing for nearly $1 million in prizes – energy and adrenaline will be pumping through every inch of the arena.

It’s hard to believe that the X Games is now entering its 11th year. It seems like only yesterday that skateboarding, motocross, BMX and wakeboarding were considered part of the underground sporting culture rather than a mainstream success. The popularity of these extreme sports is largely due to the creation of ESPN’s X Games, which has become, in some sense, the Super Bowl for alternative athletes, helping to launch the superstardom of those such as Tony Hawk (skateboarding) and Dave Mira (BMX).

Once again this year, Los Angeles has the honor of hosting the summer X Games where events will take place at both the Home Depot Center and the Staples Center.

Skateboarding will take place in several categories: street/park, vert and big air. The street event takes place on a specially designed course with stairs, handrails and banks. Vert skating is performed on a vert ramp, where skaters will compete for singles and doubles titles on a huge half-pipe.

BMX competitions will include vert, flatland, street/park and dirt jump. The vert and street disciplines are the same for skateboarding, whereas flatland is highly skilled, with cyclists performing tricks on and around their bikes, very much like old trick cyclists . The dirt jump sees riders launch themselves off huge motocross-style jumps, performing airborne spins and back-flips.

Other categories include Moto X, where spectacular 30-meter jumps launch motocross riders some 10 meters in the air, and wakeboarding – currently one of the fastest-growing sports – in which competitors jump the wakes of boats towing them in an attempt to get as much air as possible while performing flip, spin and grab tricks.

Each year at X Games, participating athletes try to up their competition by bringing the best tricks and the biggest air – and sometimes the worst slips and falls. This year will be no different.

As the athletes compete for the gold, bands such as 2MEX (Aug. 5), DJ Z-Trip (Aug. 6), Dead Kennedys (Aug. 6), Death By Stereo (Aug. 7) and Pennywise (Aug. 7), will perform live music as part of the X Games’ X Fest.

So what are you waiting for? GET UP and GET OUT!

The Staples Center is located at 1111 S. Figueroa St., in Los Angeles. The Home Depot center is located at 18400 Avalon Blvd., in Carson. For more information on X Games 11 and for a complete list of events and times, visit www.xgames.com. Price: $5-$20 through www.ticketmaster.com.