5 ways to tell if your action sport is really an action sport
During the Christmas holidays, I took an extensive break from writing to go on an enlightened path of self-discovery. During my travels, I found out that while Shark Bait and Android are perfectly good nicknames for 12 year-old, Volcom sponsored surfer, Andrew Rose, my new aliases Jail Bait and Robotech were met with disapproving looks of concern and bewilderment. I also discovered that Keith “KDUB” Williams’ Hood Games have nothing to do with Robin Hood or Sherwood Forest.
Now that I’ve returned, it’s once again time to start tackling the real issues of today using Action Sports as a yard stick. If you think that this article’s title looks familiar, it’s actually a reboot of a launch feature which ran on Adrenaline Sun. I know that you’re thinking I’m half-assing this week’s entry by re-warming old stuff like it was leftover Sunday rice and yes, that is true.
But defining the role of Adrenaline Sun in the lives of action sports fans and athletes is a duty that I take seriously. The thing is that there are still some people who believe although their sport is action-packed that it’s an action sport. Since the launch of Adrenaline Sun, I’m seeing a lot of athletes who play sports like football and hockey that now want to jump on the action sports bandwagon. But they have to understand that when you’re an action sports athlete…
People think that you’re a bum
Every action sports athlete knows that no matter how good you are and how many times you explain what you do, some people will still be looking around for the little silver-plated tin cup that you use to collect pennies from generous strangers.
It stems from the fact that while these sports are accepted by their specific niche-fan bases, there are just wayyy more people who just don’t get it and unfortunately when people don’t understand something they view it in a negative light. Sort of like me and The Hangover 2.
Other than bums, recreational action sports athletes may also be associated with rebels, vandals, crooks, time-wasters, noise polluters, miscreants, No-good Nicks and Bart Simpson.
You laugh at the damage you can walk away from
If you were logging onto Adrenaline Sun from our re-launch (which you should have been) you would’ve seen the first Adrenaline Motion submission for 2012. It starts off with a beautiful sunset and silhouettes of the palm trees in Pelican Village (Barbados). In a flash, Paul “Irie” Wilson appears and is seen bailing out of a 50/50 grind and falling behind a hedge.
Similarly with Matty Stollmeyer. And the thing is that they both walked away with smiles on their faces. Honestly, you can get injured in any sport. Sports like Rugby and American Football have guys being carted out on stretchers on nearly every play. However in action sports, even if all of the safety precautions are taken there’s still a chance for broken bones, sprains and road rash.
When learning the most basic tricks and maneuvers, falls, crashes and wipeouts will come in dozens and I’m not just taking about the weekend surfers and skaters, it happens with the pros too. Cuts, bruises, concussions and dislocated collar bones are just part of another day at the office for action sports athletes.
The WTF Factor
Events like NBA all-star game, the Home Run Derby and any sprint race Usain Bolt takes part in are designed to exploit the “Wow” factor and make fans scream, “WTF” in a direct non-internet acronym way. The problem is that we have to wait months or (in the case of the Olympics) even years before these events come around.
On the other hand, “WTF” moments happen almost every single time in action sports. Seriously, the X-Games should be renamed the “How-the-hell-is-that-even-possible” Games or the “OMG” Games. It happens often at rally and surfing events as well. The real impact of “WTF” moments comes when people who aren’t active fans are so blown away, that they begin blurting out new acronyms like BRBTMAS (Be Right Back, Too Much Awesome Sauce) or ROTFATGIAS (Rolling on The Floor About To Go Into A Seizure).
Freedom of Swagger
When it comes to the image and personalities of athletes action sports are pretty flexible. Players can literally let their souls glow by expressing their own unique styles. This includes everything from their appearance to their competition strategies.
No numbered uniforms, no team formations and no getting benched by the stupid coach when he wants his stupid son to score the winning goal after it’s been proven you’re the best striker on the team… wait, what was I saying?
While there’s still a regulated scoring system and structure based on specified rules, players have a lot of wiggle room to choose their own paths to victory.
You wanna get a tattoo on your face, that’s fine; you don’t feel like wearing a shirt, no problem; you wanna do a stunt that can either win you the comp or get you killed… give it a shot, we’ll keep the engine running in the ambulance and yes, your Wayne Static beard is really cool.
Although there are certain instances where players/athletes will need to wear pads, guards or helmets for safety precautions, action sports are pretty flexible when it comes to fashion and free styling.
BREAKING THE LIMITS
The story could’ve ended there, but competitors kept pushing each other, looking for that next adrenaline rush. Eventually they became locked in an infinite loop of one-ups-manship. Do it bigger and better than that other guy and when we’re done… we’re going even bigger.
When the 90s rolled around, ESPN took notice and the X-games were introduced. This gave these insane risk takers the opportunity to travel the globe and compete against the world’s best. Landing big sponsorship deals was pretty sweet too.
We’re here because of some very special individuals who refused to let gravity or Mother Nature herself tell them what can’t be done. Guys who not only pushed the envelope but they tore that poor bastard in half.
There’s Matt Hoffman, Dave Mirra, Rodney Mullen, Tony Hawk, Collin McRae and modern trail blazers like the fearless Travis Pastrana in Freestyle MotoX and snowboarding superstar Shaun White are legends in their own right. Honestly there’re so many others that if I try to list them all, I’ll probably go 1000 words over my allotted limit.
written by Jamal Hall – Adrenaline Sun Head Writer