Fun in the time of personal decay | Simply Ranked
Plus: Caballerial to Sugarcane, a matter of meaning, notable goodbyes, - sb and more.
The definitive weekly ranking and analysis of all the skateboarding and other online things that I cannot stop consuming and how they make me feel, personally.
A matter of meaning
Sometimes when I miss the bus and am watching it pull away towards a destination I’ll soon be late to, I’ll try to reframe the situation into the shape of a hollow aphorism. “Time does not belong to me, so I cannot be held responsible for its escape,” or “The stopwatch does not stop, watch,” I’ll whisper to myself. It’s a comfort, this meaninglessness—a sort of self-marketing, as in marketing a new emotional state to the self.
You see these soggy proverbs most everywhere you go. From the underside of Snapple caps, wall-sized billboards to your mother’s memes that she’s harvested from Facebook to plant directly into your family group text. As a result, we have a whole language of pseudo-inspirational axioms, deployed in full or Frankensteined together using whatever pieces can be recalled for any situation.
“When you accept nothing, you can change everything,” I’ll mutter to myself next time I can’t land a trick on my skateboard and decide to go home and make dinner.
Twist and shout
Rank: 1, 2, 3
Mood: 🥇 🥈 🥉
From the comfort of my couch, I watched Sora Shirai do a Cabellarial to sugarcane at last weekend’s X Games Chiba—to start his run. Garbled by the water (with a splash of lemon juice) still in my mouth, I shouted an unintelligible exclamation in a near spit-take moment. A few runs previous, 15-year-old Daiki Ikeda landed a bigger flip frontside boardslide and a backside 270 lipslide 270 out down two respective handrails in near succession. A few short minutes later, Yuto Horigome would land a nollie backside 180 to switch frontside smith grind down the handrail to end his run. This mind and body bending collection of maneuvers would send all three of the Japanese competitors to the podium. A clean sweep at home.
It’s difficult to comprehend, the difficulty of it all. Cabellarial to sugarcane would not be considered a doable trick by most professional’s standards, let alone a contest trick. Done in a run. First try. In his post-win interview, Horigome shared how excited he was to debut his new trick for his home country fans. That hyper-progression of ability is now expected, a matter of scheduling. And perhaps at some point, we’ll become numb to it, if we haven’t already. But until then, it’s still something to lose your lemon water over.
Fun in the time of personal decay
As time continues to drag me further into my 30s, going out to skate now often requires a judgement call: can my slowly deteriorating body handle it today? Usually, I answer yes, even if it’s the wrong answer. Soon my lower back will begin to tighten, a knee throbs and swells grotesquely, an elbow pangs from injuries of yore, and just for the hell of it, my seasonal allergies might flare, flooding my head with mucus. But ultimately, even as my person falls apart, fun is still had. The aches become limiting but also the butt of jokes. I ice them with cold beer cans, feel the sun on my face, and keep moving until they catch up with me.
Variation on a theme
The natural order of things
While it is surprising, it isn’t unexpected. This is the way it’s always gone. Young skateboarders ride for a company, turn pro, begin to feel like their creative or career prospects would be better fulfilled by (most likely) starting their own company, and so they do. It’s all a matter of timing, this move. It must be made while the pro skater(s) still have substantial cultural sway, because asking an audience to shift their attention to something new and then pay money for it requires a certain level of fandom, trust and loyalty.
These ventures don’t often work. Their game plans are typically half-baked, relying on that cultural cache, leaving day-to-day operations and creative direction as an afterthought, which ultimately means the Numbers won’t add up. But sometimes, they do work, and a goodbye becomes a welcome introduction.
Something to consider: The always fantastic DOXA Documentary Film Festival starts next week. Live screenings are happening in Vancouver, BC, and online screenings are available Canada-wide. #UnpaidAdverstisement
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Until next week… try reading some poetry on a park bench while streams of golden sunlight push their way through the budding branches of a tree above.