It’s hard for us to watch as companies outside of skateboarding take what we love and present it as something it’s not, like the first X-Games did in 1995. The X-Games presented skateboarding as an “extreme sport” and even though the event was generally loathed by the skate community, the public ate it up and a phenomenon was born (or reborn if you count the other times the masses embraced skateboarding). We generally don’t care who wins or loses these hokey contests. They’re seen as a novelty; a way for the public to get a bastardized glimpse at what we do. Not to mention a way for the companies involved to make a bunch of money. Fifteen years after the first X-Games, skateboarding has caught on with the masses so much that people have been pushing for the “discipline” to be included in the 2016 Olympic Summer Games, whether we want it to or not. And to be clear about that, we do not. Or so I thought.
When I asked around at my local park about the inclusion of skateboarding in the Olympics, I was surprised at how most of the kids seemed to like the idea. “I think it might be kind of cool to see what skateboarding looks like in Estonia,” my friend Oliver said. The consensus at the park in general was far more receptive to the idea than I had expected. It was slightly refreshing to see that this younger generation was more open minded about the future of skateboarding. But was it open mindedness or naiveté? Perhaps these guys weren’t fully aware of just how hokey and contrived our beloved past time would be portrayed if the Olympics got a hold of it.
I remember a quote from a pro skater from the early 90’s named Jason Jesse, who has become something of a beacon for individuality and creativity within our community, “I love skateboarding so much I want it to die.” I didn’t really understand that when I first heard it, but the more I come to understand how the spirit of skateboarding is changing, the more I have to agree with Jason. I’d rather see skateboarding die than see it become little league.
Don’t these kids know that skateboarding isn’t a sport?......