Sunday, November 24, 2013

Beyond Go Skateboarding Day: Some New, More Festive Holidays For Skaters

Skateboarding now has its own quasi-holiday with Go Skate Day. Every year the occasion gets bigger and that’s pretty cool, on the other hand, creating a special day for skaters called “Go Skate day” is kind of like a bunch of junkies getting together and declaring a “Go Shoot Up Day”.  After all, go skateboarding day is any day you’ve got time to skate...that it isn’t raining...or that you are not in too much pain from the last “go skateboarding day”. Still, the precedent of a skateboarding holiday is great because it paves the way for some better, more specific holidays for skateboarders. Here’s a few festive ideas I came up with, some holidays that commemorate more specific aspects of skate culture that I think need to be celebrated and cherished:

Janksgiving: Janksgiving is a day for skaters give thanks for all the sketchy, chunky spots that helped them learn to skate before they were good enough to rip their local park or hot street spot. Skaters are encouraged to re-visit the two-step staircases, strip mall curbs, and school/church parking lots they cut their teeth on as a way to foster an appreciation for their skate heritage. It is also a day of thankfulness for DIY skate parks, so hug your local cementhead and give him a bag of quikrete, then get to work. The day of appreciation peaks with the Janksgiving Feast, where you and your extended skate family gather together with whatever scraps of wood and other semi-skateable materials you can find, and then use them to build a new janky skate spot. After shredding it, you have a pot luck dinner where everyone contributes their favorite recipes from old Skarfing Material columns.

Smalloween: Kids love to scare their elders. It gives them a sense of empowerment. Skaters are no different. Smalloween is the macabre holiday where young skaters get to dress up and re-create the thing that terrifies old skaters more than anything else in the world: The 1990’s. Smalloween is a day for gigantic pants, 35 millimeter wheels, and scaring the shit out of all the seniors carving lines around the bowl at the local park. Surrounded by XXL Fuct tees, boards with hacked corporate logo graphics, and little ingrates rolling on bearing condoms and trying to stick pressure flips on the flat in front of every transition, the oldsters will either freak and think they are having a post traumatic flashback, or just run screaming from the park under the impression that all the stuff they hated in ’93 is cool again. More than simple fearmongering, this day also serves as a test for those who wasted years of their skate lifespan by dropping out after the release “Virtual Reality”  and not coming back until Christ got out of jail and Grosso got a pro model again. If Smalloween doesn’t scare them into quitting skating again, just like they did back “when all that flippy shit took over”, then everyone will know they are in it forever. Then, After the kids make wax-o-lanterns by carving their favorite, defunct,  fly-by-night 90’s skate company logos into candles, they can go out for “fliptrick or treat”. This is where kids get to roll up to any skater over 30 and exclaim “fliptrick or treat”. If the old skater can’t make a flip trick they have to give the youngster a set of bridge bolts or a droors sticker. If they refuse, its acceptable to “trick” them by waxing the shit out of whatever they are skating. Other Smalloween activities include bobbing for Doh-Dohs, a slowest trick contest, and the annual curb dance formal. Truly the most terrifying day of the year.

Verteran’s Day: In direct contrast to Smalloween, Verteran’s Day is an occasion to pay respect to the courageous heroes of the war on vert; the brave skate soldiers who sacrificed their knees, backs, elbows, and sponsorships to keep vert skating alive when the skateboarding industry had convinced everyone else that “vert is cut”. All skaters are encouraged to skate in full pads and helmet on this day to show solidarity. You can also commemorate Verteran’s Day by laying out memorial offerings at the former sites of local vert ramps. Most of all, this is a day for spending some time with all the local verterans that hang out around the bowl at your local park. Show them you appreciate their sacrifices by asking them about their inverts and layback grinds, and pretending to be interested in their interminable war stories about places like Cedar Crest, Fallbrook, and Mt. Trashmore. After that, you can help set up a Verteran’s day celebration party, where verterans can gather around a pinata shaped like Steve Rocco and beat the shit out of it with Ugly Stiks and Rib Bones.

Mongo Pride Month: There are special heroes in skateboarding. Heroes who face prejudice, harassment, and, sometimes, even violence. In spite of it all, not only do these inspiring individuals still put their best foot forward every time they skate, they also push with it. These are the mongos, and they deserve our support. During Mongo awareness month, skaters will be encouraged to show their support by fashioning ribbons made out of grip tape, and then wearing them upside down. Have a “Bill Danforth’s Street Survival” Marathon, or hug your local mongo, just do what you can to show that you support Mongo equality. Pros and ams who were once members of the front foot mafia will be encouraged to come out of the mongo closet to share their tales of early days spent bashing their noses into their achilles tendon and catching their front toes on the edge of their deck while pushing. Their video testimonies, collectively titled: “Mongo: It gets easier”, will be posted on youtube to spread the word. Mongo pride month is about more than just showing support. It’s also about doing things. You can start a petition to get Rob Dyrdek and his Street League investors to start up a special “Mongo League”, or have a front-push skateathon to raise money for the United Mongo Skatecamp Fund. Mongos are among us, They ARE us! Mongo Pride Month: because a style is a terrible thing to waste.

Coneukkah: Also known as the festival of flights, Coneukkah is an 8-day holiday celebrating the miracle that occurs every time a skater learns to ollie. The celebration begins with the creation of the ceremonial “Coneorah”, a special traffic cone with 7 equally spaced holes drilled in its side. On the first night of coneukkah, skaters tip the coneorah on its side and ollie the cone at the small end. Then they place a candle in the spot where they ollied and light it. Each night this ritual is repeated, with the skater ollieing a taller part of the cone and lighting a new candle on each successive night. By the seventh night, the skater will have reached the fat, base end of the cone. After clearing that, on the eighth night, skaters gather around for the sacred uprighting of the coneorah, where the cone is tipped upright for the highest ollie of all. If the skater makes it over the upright cone, then another candle is placed in the top, and there is much rejoicing. More orthodox, conservative skaters can also choose to celebrate a different version of Coneukkah involving 8 separate cones and a slalom race, but either version is considered kosher.

Of course, these are just a few ideas. There’s also, Gnarbor Day, Ditchmas, St. Bertelman’s day...Whatever holidays you choose to celebrate skaters should always guard against the over-commercialization of these sacred holidays. I would really hate to see $75, pre-lighted coneorahs in the window at Zumiez, or inverted griptape ribbons plastered on everything at the skateshop just to cash in. Most of all it's important to remember that every day can be a celebration of least, every day you are not too broken off to celebrate. 

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