“Skating has to mature and grow, which it hasn’t. It has regressed.” — Beau Cottington
It has been 12 years since Joe Navran’s film “The Future of Rollerblading” was released. In between every section there were interludes about our future. Some of them were quotes from skaters about their views, and some were quotes from rappers taken out of context that were pulled from the 1997 DJ Krush album “Milight.”
In some ways, we have come a long way since this video was released. Skating itself has progressed tremendously. On the other hand, the number of skaters has dropped. Almost all of the interludes in the film could have been recorded last week, put into a video, and still make sense. We have had the same problems facing our culture and industry since 1998. Not much has really changed. I have transcribed all these interludes below…
“My outlook on the future is two-fold, you know what I’m sayin… It’s a lot of bad things goin’ on, a lot of nonsense, strife in the world but, you know, I believe that you know you gotta tear all things down before you can set new things up, so you know it all depends on your perspective…” — Mos Def
“There has been a lot of talk about rollerblading in the public the last 6 months, that it’s gonna die. I mean to let everyone know, it’s all wrong. It’s not gonna die, and it never will.” — Josh Clarke? (Someone Australian)
“Visually speaking, basically I think the future… I think substance will overpower height. I think the past had way too much height, not enough people with substance. I think we are gonna have a turn for the better, and you know I think shit will be mad real. Thank you.” — “From Stash” on DJ Krush “Milight”
“The future, righteousness will reign, negatives dead, none of that. There’s gonna be a lot of hard times, but negative will suffer horrendous death (horrendous death.) Know what I’m sayin? Dragged across endless plains on its face. Righteousness will rule.” — “From Finsta Bundy” on DJ Krush “Milight”
“To me there ain’t no love out there. Know what I’m sayin? Everybody just like robots right now, like zombies. Ain’t no love out there. I think the future gonna be a scary thing, but you know, gotta get ready for it. Know what I’m sayin? If you ain’t tryin to get ready for it…” — “From Tragedy” on DJ Krush “Milight”
“You know, I think that everything just changes, and it continues to change, but I think the bottom root of it all is that the people involved in it love skating. They like to roll, they like to put their skates on and go for a ride, and really enjoy skating, and enjoy doing what they can in order to make the sport that they are involved with better.” — Chris Edwards
“It’s like what he just said, is bringing the skaters around to owning their own companies, whether it be more wheel companies, clothing companies, skate stores, eventually it would be nice to see when we can actually own the skate companies, kind of like USD, but a little bit more than USD has started.” — Ryan Zlockie
“We are just concentrating a lot on ourselves, but at the same time looking after the big picture, to really encourage a lot of kids out there to just get involved with skating.” — Chris Edwards
“Everybody’s trying to be creative, but at the same time it can be a little confusing or whatever, but I think they have power in they hands to create, you know, and that’s the beauty about, like, being in the dumps and whatnot. Like, you can just look up and see the light, and make your own light” — “From Lee Q” on DJ Krush “Milight”
One late night a few months ago I was watching this video and put a post on my Twitter page, talking about how relevant all the interludes are to today. Tee Tirado from Spoiled Brat Sk8 Shop saw the post and started a great discussion on Facebook about what skater everyone believed would “take skating to the next level.” Beau Cottington even stopped through and dropped some jewels. I have always been of the belief that the best thing for rollerblading would not be blowing up quickly. If it blows up, it will go pop. (Peace to De La Soul)
Rollerblading needs to grow slowly on our own, and it is going to take the entire community to get up and do it. The discussion started off with a few people naming individual skaters, and then Jesus Medina put up a post that was the closest to my belief, followed by many others that echoed it.
“I think it will take every existing known and unknown skater to continue participating in the sport. That’s what will entice local non-skaters who are oblivious to our industry. Industry needs new consumers constantly in order to expand, or to take it to the next level. In terms of next level in skating skill, in my opinion everybody is contributing to it each time they strap in their boots!” — Jesus Medina
“The future of rolling is in us all, it’s just up to the individual to bring it out of themselves.” — Brian Perry
““The future of Rollerblading, I think, lies in Community. I’ve been noticing a lot more people collaborating and working together towards a common goal.” — Maximo Garcia
For a few years I felt like skating was lost with no clear direction, and no one taking the lead. My generation was growing up, graduating college, and dealing with the real world and real problems instead of skating. Magazines were dying, companies were dying or on life support, our heroes were quitting skating to deal with the same realities of life that we were, and David Paine stopped making Video Groove to head off for greener pastures. Real life gave the fairytale world we lived in a big slap across the grill piece. A lot of us felt like rollerblading was dying. Instead of doing our part, a lot of us just sat back and laughed while a big part of our life died. We hated a part of ourselves, and mocked the younger generation for their tight pants, boomerang frames, and rail tap dancing. We despised them for never owning a pair of K2 Fatties, and not knowing who Brian Jaggers is. A lot of us just didn’t feel any connection with the little hoppers out there. There was no sense of history, no respect for the past, so in turn we didn’t respect them.
Is it just me, or is everyone starting to feel proud to be a rollerblader again? I think we are getting our identity back. So what happened? Why is everyone skating again? Why do we feel like we have an identity again? It seems like things got so bad for skating that we all realized no one else was going to help us. If we were going to save rollerblading, we would have to do it our damn selves. Gone is a lot of the bitterness. It has been replaced by a willingness to teach the kids, and communities are coming together on message boards and blogs to organize grassroots events and big sessions. The number of people putting on blades is growing every day. Can you see the light at the end of the tunnel? I know I do, I know it’s true.
“News flash, this conversation has been ongoing since 1994” — Beau Cottington