There has been and will always will be the great debate, “IS SKATEBOARDING A SPORT?” and you are on one side or the other. The purest attest to the “fuck no” approach as the average person points out the obvious and agrees that it is. I’ve jumped the fence a few times in regard to the matter.
Skateboarding can’t be a sport. There are no rules. You can butt board and push with your face if you so desire. There is no written guideline to tell you otherwise. There is no practice, no regiment, and no uniforms. It is such an individual activity that is closer to art than sport. There isn’t a coach (minus Nyjah’s Dad) and you are not punished for a bad performance. You normally won’t see a team tryout in skating, and if you do it’s real kooky. You aren’t drug tested. Most athletes are not kicked out of their practice area by police and rent-a-cops.
Skateboarding has always been a sport. They make protective gear for it. There are teams and people get real upset when someone quits their favorite team. You become an amateur on a team and then go Pro as in professional. You follow your favorite Am’s career and get hyped when he gets the nod into the Pro Ranks. Once a professional you get paid to do so and that makes you a professional athlete. You also get endorsements and good ones at that, big money. Not only all of that but, you are performing on television and in arenas. Bob Burnquist fakes/milks injuries to win just like NBA players flop to get that free throw. Thousands of fans with signs rooting for you to win, to pull that big trick crushing the other team’s rider. Shoe deals with your own signature line are abundant. Nike, Adidas, New Balance, and more and more large sport shoe companies have a vested interest in skating. Just like Jordan, people are wearing your brand so unless your that jaded 80s punker dude still talking shit on Hawk, it’s obvious skateboarding has always been a sport.
What makes the sport of skateboarding special is it’s ours. Skating is our fucking sport. We weed out the kooks and protect it individually. It remains special in the heart of men pushing 60 and the youthfulness will always separate us from any other sport. How many high school football players still pad up and go hit the field in their 30s and 40s? None of them because they played football to fit in. They did it to get to the next level and maybe they did. That next level eventually led to a kind of unfulfilled feeling that made them lose that drive or what they thought was love. I’ve seen many a friend realize they didn’t have what it took to be a Pro Skater and slowly they “grew up” and skated less and less. They may have ran in a touchdown on the High School level and heard those cheers but, they couldn’t make the cut in the big leagues. If that is why they were still skating then that is why they also stepped away.
From the kid who just started getting his balance, to the kid ripping up the park, to the old guy slashing the bowl, that is what makes our “sport” different for anything else. We don’t practice, we skate. We don’t take one for the team, we skate. We don’t get a scholarship, we skate. Even when it’s all over and done and you retire from your team, you still skate. -ERL