Did money buy more stunts?
There’s a lot of debate online right now about current trends in blading. I mean, that alone isn’t news, people are always engaged in debate over blading and the things people do or do not like about it.
But a conversation going on now is about STUNTS — and that people think skating overall has less high-risk maneuvers being done today as compared to the past.
As an “elder blader” that’s been around for like two decades let me break this down into a few things:
1) Nostalgia makes it hard for us that have been around to accurately judge things happening now without the “Compared to what?” effect. We can’t help but measure everything against something that was NEW or EXCITING to us previously. So we’re not the best judges.
2) The internet! We see more of EVERYTHING now, so there’s a certain level of desensitizing that goes along with that. What used to be considered big stunts became more commonplace to the point it became boring and then new limits were discovered and tested. Microcircus is born.
3) Money did make an impact! Once upon a time back in the mid-2000s Mike Johnson was pretty open about his opinion that there wasn’t enough reward to make breaking your neck worthwhile. As one of the most influential personalities to ever strap on boots, and the one-time leader of the Razors Team, it would be tough to say that Mike’s words didn’t end up having an impact far beyond the few skaters he likely shared them with.
No matter all that, the fact remains that since nearly the beginning of our culture and discipline, PRO SKATERS SHOULD HAVE MADE MORE MONEY.
If they had made more money, would they be doing more stunts and laying out gaps like JAWS?
I don’t know.
But I do know that I’d like my peers to have more comfortable lives and the chance to build for our collective future. How can you help? Vote with your wallet.
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Agree with the money having an effect, but i also think what contributed alot of the big high risk skating done in the early 2000s to blading trying, in a way, to validate itself as a credible sport such as skating, and get past the whole fruit booter image others had of blading.
Money was for sure a factor, but I think a bigger and more important difference between then and now, is the age bracket of rollerbladers. Money aside, Father Time stops for nothing, and no matter how you slice it, old age and large gaps generally don’t mix.
Young kids, on the other hand, usually aren’t as concerned with their careers as they are about having fun and doing stuff that will impress onlookers. They generally aren’t concerned with getting hurt or the effects that those gaps they’re doing will have on their bodies when they are older.
I think if we can solve the age bracket problem, that will solve much of what rollerblading needs to survive and become recognized as a cool sport to the masses.
Younger kids will lead to more parents buying products, leading to more money in the industry to be used to grow and pay its pros a living salary. It would also lead to more competition between peers and kids trying to one-up each other, leading to more dangerous stunts. More stunts would further add to the general wow factor of the sport, which could lead to more interest in the sport.
If you think about scooters and how they grew to where they are today, you might see that the target demographic was little kids that maybe were too small, unskilled or even afraid to try skateboarding or rollerblading. They were made to be very easy to pick up, and were easily available and affordable for parents to purchase without a need to know the intricacies of the product.
I realize that all I’ve said was one giant slippery slope, but I believe that until we start getting a lot of young blood interested in the sport, big stunts will continue to be more and more scarce as the main pros get older and are forced to reinvent their skating styles to match what their tired bodies can handle.
Great points in this article. Long story short, yes – money does buy more stunts.
More dudes go bigger today than ever before. I think we’ve just developed a tolerance to it.
Considering how accessible media is these days, this is a very tricky question and (I’m sure you all agree) that there tends to be no correct answer given cultural demographics and target groups.
Firstly, the “would more money mean more high risk maneuvers?” question. I would tend to say that, based on past similar trends, more money would make individuals push for more outrageous acts. We’ve seen it in shows, movies, and other sports so why would we (as bladers) be exempted from such? I think not. But that was the past and is a “what if” situation.
So now. more importantly, how do we deal with today and issues of money? Could we use the “skateboard” formula to success and try to emulate? No. That would simply acknowledge all those years past. Many “elder blader” I know still feels the sting of those days. Could we use the “scooter” formula? Maybe. But if we were to use that particular method, we would lose our identity and once again be lumped with things we are not but different from the past.
I feel we must make use of our past and the present we are dealt with today to create our future. I propose a multi-directional approach, to which we seem to be already doing. We must attract the youth of today with something that speaks of “freedom” and “self.” But, we must also convince those with the buying power that there is “safety, security” but also “merit”. It is a difficult sell I do agree, but compared to what has happened thus far, I think this is but a small hump.