Chris Couture / December 28th, 2012 / Blogs
The Class of 2012

It’s been a big year… with the majority of that excitement happening in the latter part of the year but, nonetheless, a step up. We’ve seen the addition of new companies, the second coming of the Blading Cup, the introduction of some “new” pros, and an obvious refocus/retooling of the industry’s boot company teams. Whether you can say there has been an upward trend in the popularity, sales, and overall participants in blading is not necessarily for me to know, but you can — for the first time in five years or so — say that we have multiple new pros in the game.

During my 17 or so years on blades, I’ve seen many progressive bladers move up the ranks to achieve the positions they hold now. I got to witness and participate in progression. However, newer bladers may not share the experience of watching their peers elevate themselves into leadership or professional positions, earning that validation in the process.

A lot of skaters know people that have traveled and competed at a pro level — and that still to this day rep as hard as ever — but even reaching the level of recognized amateur is likely an accomplishment they will never attain. That’s a real shame, not for their individuals egos, but because the younger generations need to see advancement in the ranks. Fashion and tricks change; seems like the faces of our pro and am level bladers could evolve more, too.

Some of us remember a time in the past when new pros came and went at an alarming rate. But that trend has taken a turn for the exact opposite. And in doing that, you might argue, an entire generation of aspiring am/pro bladers has been denied access to that dream. That has to be damaging to the sport and damning to the future dreamers. And those dreamers are the ones we need more than anyone. Not allowing new faces to matriculate into our most celebrated circles sends a devastating message to anyone paying attention — there is no hope.

I don’t believe that’s the case, but it’s something I was thinking about recently.

So this essay is a chance to say thanks to all the companies that moved longtime ams up to pro spots. Congrats to those bladers that got called up to the majors. But it’s also dedicated to the pros who made moves and are working to improve blading on their own terms.

And last but not least, it’s a big shout out to all the long time, dedicated bladers putting in work to live their own dreams — whether they ever properly get the recognition they deserve of not.

Together, we’re your blading Class of 2012.

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