WEB ROLL #44: Step up to the plate
So it’s been a few months since this particular web feature ran. Its creator has since moved on to blading, or dying, hopefully blading, because, well, nobody likes a ghost. Brian Krans hated, got hated on, showed some love to the haters and provided a comical spin on blade-news in 40 editions of WEB ROLL. After Krans threw in the towel, the responsibilities of WEB ROLL shifted to Dan Leifeld who put in his two cents, and then, after two submissions from him, it seemed apparent that my esteemed editorial director had found the voice of reason…
The eight-wheeled-profit, claiming “The Truth,” once capable of inspiring a revolution, or at the very least invoking some sort of emotion from our readership, has since… well, you know the story. His blading career is pretty much gone up in smoke…
Ironically, despite CK’s recent message board tirades, this is how he ended his first WEB ROLL:
“Fuck the money, I want global respect for rollerblading. You kidding me? I’ll skate the streets homeless if I got to. Real talk. So if you’re in the way of rollerblading’s future then it’s time to shit your pants because this generation of pros is so starved that we will fucking eat you.”
(That’s how Demetrios George is able to jump so high, he fucking eats any kid that he sees on Nimhs.) Real talk.
Anyway, the torch has been passed on to me. And if to you I’m just some hipster who sucks at math, then fuck you! Because love it or hate it, if you’ve gotten this far, chances are, you’ll keep reading the rest of this column.
Now, taking Colin’s lead and speaking of being in the way of rollerblading’s future, what do you think about blade-shops carrying skateboarding products?
This little gem popped up in my newsfeed on Facebook last week. After clicking the link, I noticed something I’ve never noticed on the Bakerized website… A shop run by rollerbladers that puts out a rollerblader image and promotes the “skater-owned” mantra is now carrying skateboards.
Now, this might piss a good deal of bladers off, and rightfully so. There is some merit to that side of the argument; skateboards without question have no place in a rollerblading shop. How many skateboarding shops do you see placing orders with boot companies or selling anything rollerblading related? (Ed’s note: Modern Skatepark for one, you know, where BCSD is hosted.) Why should we contribute ANYTHING to an industry that has perpetually put us down? It’s not like skateboarding couldn’t survive if there was no blading, why should we make it seem like we depend on them for anything? Call it being “tolerant” of other extreme sports if you want, or call it trying to bridge the gap, but I think those motives could just as easily be achieved by clapping for the local skateboarder dropping hammers at the park or giving props where it’s due.
However, others may look at this as Bakerized skate shop kind of playing the Robin Hood card… It’s not hard to sell a skateboard, it’s also not hard to take the money a blade-shop earns from selling skateboards and put it back into blading. Stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Who knows if this is what’s going on, but regardless there is no denying that even shops like Bakerized do a lot to help the local scenes in which they exist.
Speaking of blade shops, Revolution posted the latest installment of their “90 Seconds” series featuring Matty Shrock. (Matty is also featured as the AM HOUR skater in Issue #17.)
Matty’s skating is ruthless and on point. I skated with him this past weekend and his passion for what we do is contagious. He was more than willing to nearly grind his brand new soul plates down to a plasticy mess on this gnarly up-ledge just for a clip. This edit and, to that end, all of the “90 Seconds” edits are proof that we have skaters and filmers in our industry ready, willing and able to present blading in a professional manner.
Oli Benet of USD and The Conference recently did a quick interview with Erolling.com to introduce the new Carbon skate. In the interview, he talks about all of the new features of the skate and kind of gives a little insight into the process of creating a skate, testing it, and getting it out there on the market. (Or on the shelves right next to those Barbie skateboards 😉 )
Now, with the news out of the way, it’s time for my rant. My favorite part about the old DISINFORMATION column in Daily Bread was that the topic always made the reader think, the writing was engaging and interesting, and you couldn’t help but have an opinion on it. Today, the internet has provided a platform for virtually anyone’s voice to be heard, so, taking this into account, SPEAK THE FUCK UP!
Sites like Twitter, FaceBook, MySpace or LinkedIn have become the norm for online marketing, advertising and promoting. CNN, FOX, MSNBC and other news media outlets even quote “tweets” and consider these credible sources. I digress; bands can gain notoriety and fame without the help of a record label simply if they’re a part of MySpace music or can get their music on iTunes. Hell, it’s even possible for an NFL star to get fined up to $25,000 for tweeting during a game, just ask Chad Ochocinco of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Why haven’t rollerbladers, a community that is usually ahead of the times on the internet and all its majesty, capitalized on this? We are a starving industry! You know how many comments, likes or messages I get from non-rollerbladers when I link my ONE deals or my friends edits and photos on my Twitter and Facebook? When I worked at Urban Outfitters, I would leave ONE mags lying around the break room or watch online edits on the computer and, low and behold, my co-workers eventually caught notice and ya’ know what? They all thought blading was badass. Hell, don’t take my word for it, ask Kevin Dowling. If that OLYMPUS PEN contest he entered was left solely to the whims of regular people (non-bladers), it almost goes without saying that his video would not have been shown at the U.S. Open. Alas, by reaching out to his friends and skaters everywhere to get enough “YouTube likes” he was able to showcase our fucked up little underground lives in a positive light to some people who probably had no idea that what they were viewing was even possible on rollerblades. They definitely had never heard the name Montre Livingston before but I’ll bet it stuck with them, if only for that day.
Enough rollerbladers are out there just sitting on their computer all day anyway, why have no companies branched out and hired kids to just use these social networks to “friend” people outside of our industry? It’s not expensive labor; I’m willing to wager that most would do it for a free pair of skates. Eventually, some outsider would get the same urge, that inner calling that we all got as the first and second generation of rolling when we saw “Hoax” or “Mad Beef.” At the very least it may inspire someone to dig a little deeper, watch some more edits, check out our scene and, perhaps, buy some blades. Who knows? Without trying new options, and opening our minds to change, this industry is doomed to the failure we have seemingly already proclaimed as a reality. There are so many phrases that get thrown around in this industry that we just need to rid ourselves of. “Only support Skater-owned companies”, “we don’t have the money to do that,” “back when skating was big.” Just by allowing these copouts to pass our lips without also proposing new ideas and solutions is taking two steps backwards from progression.
At the end of the day, we must be logical. As underground or edgy as we like to think we are, without everyone working to better our situation, we will die. The number one way to improve our current situation, increase the demand and boost product sales is by GETTING NEW BLADERS!
People like Sergio Ybarra, of Phoenix, AZ, they’re getting the picture. (Not too mention Sergio has organized a handful of local contests.) Check out his Facebook status from October 12th:
This is what we need, not some seasoned veteran of the industry badmouthing and slandering every company he’s ever skated for on a public forum just because he’s bitter or jaded… People like Tracy White and Carlos Locell, the organizers of the LA ALL DAY series, understood this approach and, basically, it’s time to face facts.
The resources are at our disposal, there’s no reason why we can’t use them to our advantage. I’m not talking about selling-out, buying in, or getting big; I’m just flat out being logical. We’ve got the vision, the talent and now the tools; it’s time to step up to the fucking plate. — BK
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It’s so good to see this being picked back up, I love it.
Nice column Ben, but on a separate note; Eat a butt!
After thinking about the “a community that is usually ahead of the times on the internet and all its majesty” thing.
Audio Podcasting; why hasnt it taken off? I’d listen to it if it was done well. Maybe some interviews with skaters/journalists throw in some nostalgic tunes from ‘way back when’ and opinions on current events. Cheaper and easier to do than video podcasting…
‘Prophet’ not ‘profit’….. ‘Carlos Cassell’ not ‘Locell’ Otherwise….. way to waste ten or so paragraphs saying nothing at all.
quite good read, hope that the column won`t disappear any time soon again…