Who the heck do we give this award to?
Because we’ve been informed that skateboarding is, once again, the Best Of The Year. Yeah … out of all those other things out there—streaming things and lifestyle things and self-hacking netizen things—skateboarding is still the best. Just like it has been since all those black-and-white photos from before we can remember. Prior to anyone even caring about caring.
But in preaching to the choir, as we tend to do, we’re always a tiny bit surprised that our sermons are never met with another one of those gritty retorts: “Tell me something I don’t know, kid.” Instead it’s a laugh, a slap on the back, a bit of a grin, and then it’s off to more of the best thing.
One reason could be that no one’s really stepping up to receive the award on behalf of skateboarding. And if they did, it’d be a little weird.
It could also be what an award doesn’t mean—mainly, it changes very little: You can’t make what’s best, even more bester-er. But still, it’s nice to have confirmation of what we knew, even if it’s just our own high five to ourselves and then we forget about it.
Sink with California. Lance Mountain steers his ship into the cliffs. Photo: Ray Zimmerman
You know what else it could be? Even with all kinds of weird shit showing up in and around skateboarding, it’s still the overwhelming Best Of The Year award winner. Just think of that the next time you see a skateboarding school mascot, a guy at the park sitting on his brand-new board while he laces up his ’blades, or some shirtless wonder explaining to the camera how sick the second annual, tow-in, world shirt-tucking championships were.
“Ha!” you can say.
Say it now, if you want.
What makes this all the more laughable is that skateboarding and its purveyors are actually the worst. That’s right. We’re the proudest fuck-ups, the dirtiest dirts, the most terrible friends, and the slowest of the slow, slamming on our own brakes at the stupidest possible moment just to see how long we can skid.
And you can’t take away something like that.
Can’t fake it, either. Not for too long, anyway.
The proof is in the fact that we never receive anything from the outside—awards or whateverwise—that the outside wasn’t already willing to do without. All those torn-apart foundations of old buildings, those pools filled with a foot and a half of runoff and piss, and those shit-stained junkie spots under the bridges. All the worst. Worst Of The Year. Maybe even the worst ever … and that’s all we need. Skateboarding is that good.
Upstream Nolder. Jake Rueter spawns one. Photo: Ray Zimmerman
Even so, while we happily wallow in our bottom-of-the-barrel self-sufficiency, the rest of the universe is compelled to pick and steal and take the things from skateboarding that suit them best—snatching at skateboarding’s easy-to-adopt surface tension and running like hell with it.
Well, crunch all you want, fool. We’ll make more.
Buy old and we’ll craft new. Look like we do and we’ll just look like you used to. Loathe us and we’ll love you. Shrink us down and we’ll blow up. Try to give us an award and no one will show up to receive the trophy.
Tilting at mini windmills. Cubby Smiths out the jams, motherfucker. Photo: Michael Burnett
Because we’re out doing the award-winning Best Of The Year.
Might as well just smile and take it … on behalf no one.