Welcome to 2017, world! Here in America, student liberals are running rampant with illusions of revolution in social equality while our bank-run government continues its tireless assault on the brown man overseas. There's an obvious divide and I'm not convinced either side is expressing themselves in a noble way. People on all fronts from every possible background are clashing and attacking the ideals of seemingly similar adversaries. I believe a majority of the American protesters from either end--save the anarchists and closet communists--want equality and peaceful living for all. Regardless, a festering anger and prolonged hate are the only results I'm seeing from my politically independent sidelines.
Meanwhile, here in the awful world of rollerblading, a similar event has been budding and blossoming. Suddenly in our post-Mindgame, internet-driven society we have all evolved into half-mediocre critics where even the most insignificant rollerbladers have turned themselves into the reincarnation of Shane Coburn. That wouldn't be a bad thing, except Shane had a vision; and whether you like to admit it or not, he propelled rollerblading into something better. Did he bite skateboarding a bit? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Did he retain an element of excitement in whatever he produced? Absolutely. Between companies like Medium and Mindgame Shane brought to rollerblading something it desperately needed which even Senate had been failing to produce anymore: a voice.
Through all things Trendkiller, rollerbladers were given not only high quality skate videos but thought-provoking insight from a man who had more scope than he was ever credited. It's been several years since Mindgame closed its doors to the public. Trends have come and gone. I see some dudes who wore baggy clothes who switched to skin tight ten years ago, (and still rocking them today), now hating on new trends like they themselves aren't following a trend. What? Just because you have been encased in the same style for a number of years doesn't mean you're not trendy anymore. It's not like a minor crime that evaporates from your record after a certain amount of time has passed.
Why are rollerbladers so superficial? If you're going to sit on your phone all day and comment on another man's clothing maybe you should reevaluate your values. The least you could do is put on your skates once every six months. To me, Trendkiller wasn't attempting to criticize the materialistic qualities of our community as much as it was meant to criticize the mindset of our individuals. It doesn't matter whether you want to dress like a rockstar or a rapper or a nerd...that's all silly. If you're feeling good in those clothes then that's all it's about. Fuck, man. These aren't things I should have to explain to a group of people whose average age is somewhere between 29-32. You're all adults, so put on your rollerblades and act like one.
I hope you chuckled because that was a joke.
In all seriousness, rollerblading isn't that serious. It's dangerous, fun, frustrating, and embarrassing but it's definitely not something to be taken too seriously. And if you find yourself in a pit where all you can do for the community is critique the fashion of your fellow man, well, I don't know...time to find the Lord or something.
In our present day, rollerbladers have become very brazen about voicing their own pitiful ideas on the state of things without really looking at themselves first. Maybe it's the sudden rush of those super-hip anti-Trump marches. Maybe it's the hair they've finally begun sprouting on their testicles. Maybe it's the excessive amounts of craft beer and vape they ingest on the weekends. Remember when Satanism became a trend in skating? Oh, man--that was a good one. Worse than the purple v-neck era, I'm afraid. And yet that shit is still going strong. Hail Lucifer.
Whatever works for you. Everyone's got their kicks. It's alright to laugh at others if we can first laugh at ourselves. I encourage laughter. Like the African proverb says, "Every time you point a finger at someone else you point three back at yourself." We all get caught in trends at one point or another. It's only natural in something so enduring in one's life as skating is for so many of us.
The only trend that has never caught any criticism in rollerblading is the timeless trend of 'being a bitch.' Bitches have always been present since the dawn of the world, but the internet has truly reinvented the game. Troll accounts mask the man behind the spoken word and an anonymous lash of the tongue is all too common from the dark corners of the web. I've got no issue with criticism and sharing ideas, even in the form of mockery. I think it's healthy and makes room for discussion and self-awareness. Nobody is free from being critical. There may be modes of criticism in each individual's mind but everybody has something to say about the world around them. Be honest about it, though. Why hide yourself? It's like those goofballs who run around sucker-punching people on the street with opposing views while wearing a mask. Show your face, bitch ass. Or are you not as secure in your thoughts and actions as you pretend to be?
Opinions and styles change. We shouldn't take them all too seriously. There's a quote from Victor Hugo that goes something like this: Let your opinions change, but keep intact your ideals. Just as the leaves on a tree change color but the roots stay intact. That may not be verbatim but it's probably pretty damn close. Either way the context is there. Too many people make a bigger deal out of the clothes a dude wears than his outlook and ideas. I mean, Chris Farmer has kept true to his style for years and I'm sure he catches slack for it, but I don't hear about it as much as I do about dudes who wear khakis. Why? Because his skating is what should shine. His mentality, his vision in how he skates. If you're going to criticize any man, keep it honed in on his true qualities and not so much on all that other bullshit that could literally change overnight. Personally, I wear what I feel like wearing that day. I might show up somewhere in sweatpants and slippers and tomorrow I'll have on cargo pants from an old job. You may not like the way I skate, (or dress), but at least I'm still here meditating on things and attempting to keep rollerblading in the public eye.
Here's another trending topic you may have noticed: people getting offended. Offended? Well, yeah. That's always been a thing. However, when you've reached the point where you're so pissed off by another man or woman's words or opinions that you have to 'delete' them off social media or break off your friendship...well, fuck. That's brilliantly hilarious to me. You think my political opinions have kept me on good terms with family and friends? My mother has lightheartedly referred to me as a "showstopper" when it comes to social situations. I don't look for confrontation but I know not to back down from it, either. I suppose I can be honest to a fault at times and I've never really found a home on either side of the political spectrum, but this allows me to criticize both sides equally and without guilt. I can't help but see the 'cocksucker' in nearly everyone in professional politics. So you support this guy or that? Fine. I don't support them or believe their lies, but I'm not going to abandon our friendship over it. I know my friends' true characters and despite their political or religious beliefs, I know where their hearts and values lie. Maybe it's time for us as a whole to start tapping into this mentality with our views on rollerblading. We're not the E-Channel and we shouldn't ever be hyping up anybody who is aspiring to be the Perez Hilton of rollerblading. We should be keeping it real and clowning those fools who try to clown everyone else yet have nothing positive to offer up.
I look up to the skateboard and bmx communities but not for their respective sports, their tricks, or their industries. What I respect about them is their ability to possess such a high quality of participants with real attitudes and real ideas and thus the ability to retain some sort of integrity for their sports. Corny dudes who try to stand up in the crowd get snuffed out as quickly as they arrive on the scene and they don't return until they shape up their act if they even return at all. Our corniest kids rise to the top of the popularity charts simply because nobody wants to man up and say something. And what's that say about the state of your scene if you as a veteran don't have the backbone to put a punk kid in his place? These dudes ought to be checked like many of us were fortunate to be checked by the old heads back in the day. I'm not advocating violence, but could we at least keep it real? I know the last remaining kids are soft these days but that's no reason to keep hush whenever they speak out of line. Educate without hate. Don't try to drain the youth of their piss and vinegar but maybe help guide them to focus it on better aspects that help them as individuals and the community by large. How? Be yourself. Set an example by showing you're not afraid to be yourself and that you understand that an image--not even those pesky pants!--is not what define you as a man.
To be honest, I enjoy getting under people's skin. Always have, too. It's even more fun to get under the incredibly thin-skin of rollerbladers. It's an unfortunate community. Always has been, too. Some of the poorest, most close-minded people to exist in the world have worn rollerblades on their feeble feet. It sucks for the ones who actually make a difference both on wheels and off. I look at the true professionals of our sport who shine like a silver dollar in a bucket of shit. Sure, they're valuable beyond words; but they're overwhelmingly dwarfed by the amount of sludge that fills our sport. Watching someone like Alex Broskow skate is like watching Mozart play a piece in front of a swimming pool of dead mice. It's an out-of-this-world display yet so, so, so under appreciated.
The amount of wasted talent invested in this activity has been so astonishing that I'm surprised it's still alive. I was at a skatepark in Delaware the other day and literally no kids in there ever saw tricks done in rollerblades before. That was kind of refreshing. What I mean is that it felt like a divine reset has been given to our sport. It's essentially brand new again. So go forth and hate on the clothes of your brothers and sisters. God willing, I'll be here for another two decades+ to see it through to the next trend and the next trend and the next trend and the next trend and the next trend and the next trend...
...but where will you be?
My guess is getting dildo'd in your loose, twinkie ass by your festi-rock, liberal girlfriend as you painfully try to imagine--between the non-lubricated thrusts--how much better life was back when you used to rollerblade.