The wise words of Lance Mountain in the Girl video basically echo the sentiment I felt wandering around the X-Games while dumb-ass kids clawed for stickers, and jock security kept them in line. Maybe I've turned into an old-ass bitter, crabby like one of those geezers from the park who takes endless runs and is personally offended by every kid's clothes. You know that guy? That's me.
Philly held the X-Games. You knew that. It was on TV two months ago. You may be able to tell by my tone of voice that the X-Games leave a bad taste in mouth. I was biased and against it even before I began, but as a struggling skate journalist, I have to somehow earn the monthly welfare check Thrasher sends me.
The city of Philly is making an estimated 80 million dollars off the X-Games. Who knows how much ESPN and ABC or whoever is making in advertising revenue. They have Kerry Getz skating around Love Park with camera crews on his ass, as if to say "Look at Philly, look at all these dope spots we let them skate" while 20 feet away undercover cops are pulling kids off their skateboards and giving them tickets.
"Get over here or I'm gonna hurt you!" is what some jocko said. I thought it was X-Games security trying to get me out of some crazy extreme web-cam angle so I just said "whatever" and skated off. Turns out it was an undercover trying to give me a ticket for skating around.
The city of Philly gets to capitalize on its legendary reputation for skateboarding and a rich tradition of street skaters with names like Ricky Oyola, Sergie Trudnowski, Matt Reason, Jerry Fisher, Fred Gall, Stevie Williams, Bam, Mike Maldonado, Kalis, Pappalardo, Pluhowski, and Kerry Getz. A legacy of skating all its own. A legacy that owes no thanks to the city. What have they ever done for street skating? It has always been a nightmare of tickets, arrests, and police chases. But in skateboarding's boom, they think it can cast itself as this skate-friendly haven to the rest of the world. It's all a lie. And I'm not going to be complacent in it.
But somehow I was still there, watching. But I just couldn't bring myself to take pictures. I even missed Koston's backside noseblunt slide, but as Larry Perkins said, "You know he can do it."
I don't blame the pros. They have a vested interest in skating's popularity. That's great, I just don't feel much of a need to sour the pages of Thrasher more than I have to.
On a plus side, I hear that Kerry used his appearance as a bargaining chip to get some street-style skateparks built around Philly. It's a fund called Franklin Paine, which is trying to get little crappy plots of land across the city and turn them into perfect street spots. I hope that happens, but we may be getting strung along as usual.