Can I ask you a question? This blog, its a safe place right? A place free from judgement and undeserving scrutiny? Ok thanks, that’s reassuring to hear. Since we’ve established that this indeed a “safe” place, I’d like to say something that might not be a popular opinion. But remember, we’re in the “Circle of Trust”, or whatever you want to call it, so no judging!
Ahem, I, Kyle Garlock, do not think that skateboarding is a sport. There I said it. I said it and you know what? It felt good to get that off my chest. I’ve had this opinion, and subsequently, had this argument countless times throughout my adolescence, and although I haven’t brought it up in quite some time, with this being a safe place and all, I felt compelled to share.
That’s right, to me, skateboarding is not a sport. And before the Square State Skate headquarters gets swarmed by carrier pigeons all delivering the same message, let me explain. Sure, like all other sports, skateboarding is a great form of exercise. It gets the heart pumping and the blood flowing, but that doesn’t mean it’s a sport. Oh and yes, skateboarding offers a healthy source of competition both from other skaters and the individual on the board, but again I don’t budge, skateboarding is not a sport.
What I’m getting at here is a metaphorical scab that my father and I rip open every so often. A friendly debate between the two of us. One of us says that skateboarding is an art, and the other (the one that is wrong) says it’s a sport. Now I wouldn’t consider my father a sports fanatic, but only because I don’t like labels. I’ll just say that he named me after the University of Kentucky’s starting point guard, and he has multiple pairs of UK Wildcats oven mitts, and I’ll let you fill in whatever judgements you may be missing. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that he, and a whole lot of other people, refuse to see skateboarding as anything other than a sport. But I’m here to give you my two cents on the matter.
Skateboarding is an art. Don’t laugh. Trust me, I know just how corny this sounds because I’ve been arguing this since I started skating. On a technical level, there’s no denying the athleticism and motor skills involved. And like all the other sports, skating deserves it’s own ticker tape parade. And we’ll get to all that, but not in this post. This entry is all about aesthetics.
Skateboarding is subjective. Ask any self proclaimed skate-nerd “Whos has the best style in skateboarding?” and you will surely get a slew of varying and passionate answers. This is great because it exemplifies the fact that that there is no best in skateboarding, only favorites. Video parts from pros who have retired decades ago experience a longevity to their viewership that far exceeds any rerun of Monday Night Football. And why is this? It’s because skateboarding done well (much like art), is timeless. It’s beautiful to watch.
I think that the reason style matters so much in skateboarding is because a pleasing style - one that shows a skater’s mastery over their craft - can’t be faked, only cultivated through countless hours of practice. Some pro skateboarders have made careers out of doing a few tricks so iconically that those tricks have become analogous with the skater, where as some (equally talented) skaters have flown under the public radar simply because they look off when they skate. It’s unfortunate, and I’m not here to tell you that style is everything. If you’re flailing all over the skatepark, but you’re having a good time, then don’t worry about a thing.
If you’ve made it this far and you’re still not convinced that skateboarding more closely resembles an artform than a sport, then I don’t blame you. If I were you then I’d suggest that I continue this argument in a future blog post. Great idea, I think I’ll take you up on that.