Saturday, July 16, 2016

Don't Blame Jamie Or Jaws, Here's The Real Reason For The Scooter Menace

Skating often captures the imagination of those who lack the will, temperament or dedication to take it up. This is why trends like rollerblades, snakeboards, rip-stiks, and razor scooters are always yapping at skaters' heels.

The latest incarnation of this phenomenon, the Razor scooter, has been especially persistent, not to mention obstructive to the modern skateboarder.  More than one skater has placed the blame for the scooter epidemic on the high-impact, highly technical trends in modern pro skateboarding. At a glance, the connection seems plausible: Elite level Skateboarding has developed a more risky dimension than it had in the good ol days, they say. An emphasis on increasingly complex and risky tricks rather than "just rolling", is making kids take up scooters instead of skateboards. The skate world, they posit, has become an all jocks club that welcomes only the most athletically driven skaters.

Take a closer look at skateboarding, and a good hard look at the Razor scooter, and it becomes clear that the kids riding those Razors wouldn't be riding skateboards no matter what sort of stuff was going down in Thrasher magazine.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

I'm Not An Old Guy Anymore, As If I Ever Was before

My days of peak skill on a skateboard are long past.  In fact, at 42, I may be one ankle injury away from never popping an ollie again. I skate curbs more than anything else. I spend a fair amount of time skating bowls, but I don't worry too much about getting up on the coping.  So yeah, I'm an old skater: a veteran, a lifer.

But I don't think I want to be an "Old Guy Skater".

I have no illusions. I am old. Older than any skater I knew when I was in my prime, and there are lots of great things about being an old guy. The emergence of an older demographic in skateboarding has had positive effect on everything from the building of municipal skateparks, all the way down to the revival of curb skating. But with the coming of the old guys has also come a lot of back-slapping and self organizing, as well as a tendency toward a sort of pouty self-imposed marginalization.

No doubt, "Old Guy Skater" groups on social media  have been invaluable in getting veteran skaters together to shred, socialize, and share spots. I frequent a couple of really great ones, and when they are done with the right attitude, they are a great resource. Still I can never quiet escape the fact that, at some level, being a part of these groups, even the positive ones, also implies that being old relegates some skaters to a separate place in skateboarding, a place of either perceived privilege, or resigned inferiority.

The thing is, now more than ever, age has nothing to do with one's place in skateboarding.  Maybe it's time to drop the "Old Guy" branding from all the groups, blogs, and other outlets that bear that tag. Maybe it is time to re-think what being an "Old Guy" means, and what we are really trying to promote when we exult in our "Old Guy" status.