Is skateboarding a sport? Who cares? It’s fun whatever it is. But I have been thinking…if skateboarding is a sport, are we (skateboarders) then implicitly jocks? If so, who is it that decides what jock/sport “things” are to become parts of the “sport?” Who decided to bring in contests, trophies, endorsement deals, energy drink sponsors, video games, celebrity fans, starlets dating pros, one-up-manship, and ESPN? Who decided that skateparks would be our courts and fields?
Well, whoever it was forgot a lot of the other baggage that comes with sports and I propose that we, the skateboard community, pay a visit to lost and found and claim what is rightfully ours. Here are the ten things that other sports have, thus we should be entitled to as a “sport.”
1. Cheerleaders – While not every sport has cheerleaders, what would be better motivation to land a trick than scantly clad girls cheering you on?!
2. Mascots – Blind has the Reaper, World Industries has Flameboy, Wet Willy, and Devilman, but what good a mascot if they aren’t running around contests and demos acting like Fred Gall after shotgunning his first twelve pack?
3. Coaches & Scholarships – Coach Frank and the Chief hold it down, but we need more people crushing the egos of our athletes, giving them warm up routines and trick lists. Likewise, if athletes get scholarships for throwing/hitting/kicking a ball around with few variations, it is only fair that skateboarders get scholarships for their mastery of the infinite trick and obstacle variations. With college educations, imagine what will happen to the quality of interviews. Little Johnny Grind-a-rail may have more insightful answers than “yeah, fool!” or “it was pretty tight.”
4. Locker Rooms/Group Showers – Sports are notoriously known for being very macho/manly, right? Then getting naked in front of your bros must totally be the (wet) equivalent of a bro-hug, no? Where are the communal showers in skateboarding? Just tell those sloppy Anti-Hero dudes not to knock over Sheckler’s Pro-Active at the next X-Games.
5. Encouragement – Speaking about machismo, where are the pats on the butt, implying “good job/try/luck?” If baseball players and rollerbladers can do it, why can’t we? We need this encouragement (or shall I say “stimulation?”).
6. Physical Contact - Also, where is the physical contact that distinguishes many of the more traditional sports? Outside of the Beagle-Duffel tumble at the Maloof Money Cup, we really don’t have any. I propose defensive skateboarding! It should be encouraged to kick out the board from someone’s tre, or push someone’s board on their stinkbug airs, transforming it into a ‘hanna. At least let us tackle that kook at the park trying to show everyone up!
7. Agro Fans – Since we are going big time, we are going to need aggressive fans too. Why should soccer be the only sport priviledged with fan riots? Let’s just take all those Kerry Getz’s of skateboarding and let them focus other fans so out “sport” can make the news too.
8. Statistics – Choosing Skater of the Year is hard…really hard. If we start following the stats of skateboarders, the choice will be easy. It will be all in the numbers. We will have to track coverage, contest scores, part placement in videos, part lengths, and batting…err, I mean skating averages for public games of S.K.A.T.E.
9. Victory Dances – Are Kyle Berard and Kenny Anderson the only dancing souls in skateboarding? I doubt it, but most of the others are likely just shy. Let’s encourage fancy feet and dirty dancing upon landing tricks. WWSD? (What Would Swayze Do?)
10. Uniforms – The individuality of skateboarders’ attire is getting out of hand. You have guys wearing blouses, jewelry, and dresses (tall tees). We need to standardize the fashions with something more gender appropriate…tights. Each team will have matching uniforms (a la Veriflex) and every skater’s individuality will be expressed as a number. Obviously David Gravette is #420, Lizard King is #666, Patrick Melcher is #69, and Ryan Sheckler is #1.
Now skateboarding can finally be legitimized. Imagine how much awesomer our “sport” will be with all of these improvements! We can finally stop envying all these superior sports. Heck, we might even get into the Olympics.