Farewell, rollerblading. We hardly knew thee.
What used to be the illegitimate, white-trash spawn of skateboarding has become something even more pathetic. But what is it? I don't often try to consider what it is that I've been a part of for nearly two decades--(it's too depressing to do so regularly)--but today I found myself stumbling around the world wide web and thus had some questions raised within my mind. So why not share a few of these ponderings with whoever's still around this beat and defeated after-party?
Firstly: Do we still have professionals? I understand that our participation levels have gone stagnate, so it's only natural that the number of our professionals are flatlining alongside it. I originally wanted to cite specific examples of the state of our 'professional talent' but felt compelled to censor myself for a couple of reasons. Foremost, I don't want to drag anyone's name in the mud when I don't have a real gripe with them to begin with; and despite my low enthusiasm for their approach to skating I don't think I could effectively write anything to an audience of rollerbladers who largely lack objective reasoning. We're basically one big clique at this scratch in time and I don't want my criticisms to fall on defensive ears, so to speak, (especially after my recent comments on a hypothetical, non-existent edit from Argentina were ingested poorly by hostile readers worldwide.) Let's just create a fictitious character to resolve this issue of distinction: we'll call him Terrence Portabelly.
What a shame our industry has become that I have to feel the need to soften my words to accommodate its even softer population. The fact of the matter is that our professional image has become boring both aesthetically and energetically speaking. The majority of our newer 'professionals' have neither the attitude, the experience, nor the knowledge of history needed to represent the best we have to offer. Rather than handpicking the skaters who have demonstrated the skills and paid their dues over the course of their skating years, our companies are left with the oily film that rests just above the bottom of the barrel. This is why few rollerbladers seem to pay any mind, (or dollars), to our industry.
Have you taken a good hard glance at our industry lately? It's a horrid thing. Like, holy shit. The one thing rollerblading steadily impresses me with is the ease in which it continues to fall down this pit of self-destruction. Before getting too carried away on that subject however, let me state that it's understandable why our once highly reputable companies would stoop to the half-mediocre level of skating as demonstrated by the likes of our scapegoat pro, T-Belly, who's not altogether [terribly] unwatchable or untalented by any means. I certainly do not find his vision or his execution appealing, but if not him then tell me who? Who's left? Who actually skates anymore? Who is a company like Remz, Adapt, USD, or Razors going to use to showcase their products if not 'Terrence Portabelly?' All that our industry has to choose from is a couple hundred kids worldwide who are basically carbon copies of 'Terrence Portabelly.' Nobody with any real vision and experience would dare get themselves involved in representing any of our companies, truly, unless they were fools. It's a bloody snare that our eldest rollerbladers have finally learned to avoid, (to the great misfortune of rollerblading and it's...fans.)
I know it's not the case, but I often feel like we here at bacemint are the only people still skating; and I'm sure that's how you who's reading this right now and the people in your crew feel at times, as well. But seriously: who is actually suiting up and skating on a regular basis? If you are, I either don't see it at all or I don't see it enough. And if I do see it, I usually don't want to see it again. Yuck. Here's another thought: what's it say about the efforts of these apparent 'industry leaders' when a group of nobodies/hobbyists/friends from Philadelphia are putting out consistently higher quality and organized content than most of these full-time companies? How come a handful of guys with full-time responsibilities outside of skating can still come together and shit on 99% of 'major' companies in our industry? Am I tooting our own horn? You better believe it. But it's not simply the truth regarding our own talent and will but also a reflection of the lack of engagement from these long-lasting companies. And to be clear: bacemint, to my best understanding, is not and never was something whose intentions include making money or becoming a top 'brand name' in rollerblading. (What an achievement to be reaching for--!) I see it as more of a platform where we can dump all our incessant love and hard work freely so that others can witness it.
Whether you like our vision or our content is--much like rollerblading itself--mostly irrelevant. Maybe you love the skating from our crew. Maybe you hate the skating but you love the way Sean approaches filming and editing with an unmatched diligence and delicate precision. Maybe you're just tired of seeing the same old rails, rails, rails, and all the ABD tricks from everyone else in the 'community.' The point is that it doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter. None of it matters except for the fact we love skating and we're going to continue doing it regardless of how many of you hate us or love us, regardless of how many sales are made, and regardless of how many 'likes' our updates get on Instagram. If there's anything more of a deeper, subliminal message behind bacemint it's for the aforementioned 'industry leaders' to feel a fire under their asses and hopefully muster up enough hatred or resentment that they strive to become better than bacemint. (That made me think of the Mushroom Bladers' release from the early 2000's, 'Better than Baseball,' so a quick shoutout to those guys for everything they have done and continue to do.) Anyway, that's my understanding of this whole thing that I'm not only happy but fortunate to be a part of...fortunate because it helps motivate me to get out and spend more time with my homies in spite of the responsibilities that have come along with adulthood. With any luck and an ever-increasing effort on all our parts in Philly, this year will bring much more content which can then motivate you, your friends, and your sponsors to get out there more and continue progressing and having fun.
For anybody who thinks we suck: please do it better. Show me that you care more about this shit than we do. Get good at skating and make a better company than the ones we're all stuck with today. Hang up the keyboards, put your fashionista vision-goggles back in a box, dust off your rollerblades, and maybe learn how to roll around until you actually appear like you're comfortable on skates before you try to do whatever shitty trick you want to do. Maybe read a book, too. (Note: Bukowski and Kerouac don't count.)
Until then, farewell rollerblading. You may not yet be dead but you continue to carry onward to the next phase of your existence with or without us. Perhaps I'd leave you out to die if it weren't for the looming thought of who might pick you up, revive you, and remold you into something of their own...