Ryan Claus / February 4th, 2014 / Blogs
Blading & Sports: One Fan’s Eye-Opener

It’s generally considered normal to be insanely fanatic about the big sports of our world, like soccer, basketball and the beautiful art of curling. After all, these are, as I like to call them, established sports of society. They are a huge part of our world, whether we like it or not. I am not looking for an explanation why these things are huge; the entire world just loves to watch a bunch of good looking guys chasing a after ball or cycling up and down the hills of France. And I’m proud to be part of that world. There are less of us however, that find joy in watching guys in tight jeans risk their precious testicles and facial features by leaping off buildings and balancing their unprotected physiques on hazardous rails. Still, the passion and love that most of us skaters share for our ‘sport’ can reach the same heights, if not more so, than your average die-hard soccer supporter, divorced bowling fanatic, or over-aged Tiger Woods-worshipper. The love goes just as deep.

I started blading five years ago at the relatively late age of 20. The years before my blading consisted of soccer, the occasional game of tennis, and hanging out with brotherly friends. The result: entering the vibrant world of blading with not just a body to die for, but moreover with an open mind and a healthy passion for other things besides blading. It didn’t take very long for me to discover that the majority of the people of my newly-found interest take a very negative stance to other sports, some of them to cringe-worthy lengths. More than once have I been in extreme danger when being around a bunch of rollerbladers when, in the midst of their hateful conspiracies about the ol’ game of soccer, I decided to interrupt with tasty anecdotes about my football club Ajax, the only love of my life besides my girlfriend. The conversation always goes awkwardly silent, as if you’ve just mentioned the war amongst a couple of your Jewish friends.

It’s not just skaters who go about their way judging others. Just like George Michael during his early Wham! days, hate too swings both ways. While skaters like to talk dirt on the world of big commercial sports, that same world that we seem to be so very far on the outside of unforgivably returns the favor, stamping our sport of inline blading combined with any other ‘risky’ sport as merely a silly, irresponsible thing for punks, which their own sons (and occasional confused daughters) should better not get too attached too. Just like my tensed conversations with skaters about soccer, I’ve experienced the other side of the coin first hand plenty of times, too, searching for ways to explain to my friends outside of skating why I travel hundreds of miles per year in search of attractive stairs and medium-low houses to jump from. A mutual act of useless hate and completely ignorant behavior exists between both worlds.

There are plenty of reasons for conflict, sure. We all shared a few chuckles when a couple of pictures made their way to our social bible of Facebook, showing Cristiano Ronaldo crying like a baby after tripping over his own beautiful legs on the left picture, and a beast of a skater like Carlo Pianowski absolutely eating concrete dirt after frontflipping out of a Disaster Fishbrain on a spiky rooftop fence. “The guy in the left picture is ‘gay’ and the skater on the right is ‘gnarly.'” Skaters just love these jokes to disguise the fact they are very insecure adolescents who surprisingly seek more attention and confirmation from fellow skaters than you’ll see in any other sport. The thin red line here is ‘cool versus uncool,’ but there’s more. How about the old money trauma in blading? Ever since public interest abandoned our sport after the X-games quicker than Charlie Sheen abandoned rehab, a sizeable percentage of rollerbladers has been indulging themselves with jealousy when the news about another soccer player with his own brand of underwear being transferred to another club for a hundred million hard ones reaches the skateparks. I think CJ Wellsmore would seriously consider a transfer from USD to Rollerblade for that kind of money. But we don’t have that kind of money, so we get mad.

But we have much more things to piss us off, each one more ridiculous and ill-conceived than the other. A good example that springs to mind is a theory of one my tight-jeaned, peculiar-looking moustache growing blader friends — “People watch big sports because everyone else watches it. It’s on the television and everything ignorantly follows each other.” Even if this angry and completely inaccurate orientation were to be true, why would it even matter or stand in the way of people enriching their lives with them? Another one, from the opposing force — “Skating is for kids and senseless adolescents. It’s stupid and dangerous.” For the past five years, I’ve been dodging stereotypes like raindrops.

The world is like it is for good reasons. I am far from the guy who justifies the millions of euro’s going around in say, soccer. However, the sport happens to generate shitloads of money because these kinds of sports are a fantastic outlet for emotions of millions of people around the globe. Moreover, the sport brings light to their life and connects theirs with the lives of so many different people, who happen to support the same club, player or sportsman. So they spend money on it. Stop the hate. At the same time, the soccer-playing, full-time working people who put a stamp on skating should do the same. Open your eyes, and see what miracles go on in the adult world of skating, not just on rollerblades but in every aspect of these ‘hazardous’ sports.

Personally, I love being in the middle of the world of sports and I have a great respect for everyone else that shares this position with me. Rather that the huge amount of differences, realize there’s one thing we all have in common — a true passion for a thing. Walking down a street with your girlfriend and staring at a rail for way too long, dreaming of a Top Soul. Cancelling on your dinner plans with your in-laws because your team is playing the fucking semi-final tonight. And that’s a very beautiful thing. We’re all the same. We just activate our passion in very different ways. If you skate, keep risking your balls. If you watch soccer, keep shouting for your local until your lungs collapse. But by god, do it with all the passion you have. That’s what really matters.

Discussion / Blading & Sports: One Fan’s Eye-Opener

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  • Will - February 4th, 2014


    How is an awkward silence ‘extreme danger’?

    CJ skates for Seba not USD… a company with the industry ethics of Rollerblade, so not only is your line factually innacurate, it also makes no kind of valid point

    Something generating money is not an intrinsically positive trait, I’m surprised that someone with such ‘passion’ see’s all the positive things about their supposed interest ‘therfor-ing’ to the point that, gee, people spend a lot of money on it.

    I’m sure I’m wrong about this, but there is a really strong vibe coming from this article that the writer DOESN’T EVEN BLADE, despite the ‘I started blading 5 years ago with a body to die for’ nonsense…

  • Jim - February 13th, 2014

    @ Will
    https://vimeo.com/68528398 This seems to be the author 😉

  • Blue - February 18th, 2014

    LOL. Just LOL at this article

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