Monday, 15 July 2013


To start: I know, I know, I was saying that I was going to post weekly, but apparently scheduling just doesn't agree with me, so it seems I'll post whenever I feel like posting, so there.

If this blog isn't indication enough, I love writing, and while said blog has served as a fantastic venue to do some personal essay type stuff, it's by no means the only type of writing I enjoy. Fiction, as a medium, has never been my strong point, but at the same time, who doesn't like a good story? Enter Nika Harper into this equation: author, geek, and host of the Geek and Sundry vlog Wordplay, which is a semi-weekly youtube show in which she discusses writing, shares some of her own, and then encourages her viewers to write as well. I highly recommend it.

At any rate, for some reason this week's episode really caused an inspirational epiphany in my brain, and I actually partook in the episode's challenge which, because it is the nature of this blog, I am now sharing with you, I hope you like it.

By: Brandon Draga

It had been three months since we had seen one another. He was on his way home when it happened, a transport truck whose schedule was clearly more pressing than the life of a young man. It doesn't matter what the old adage says; absence only makes the heart grow fonder if there's some fondness left. I had every intention of seeing him the next day, giving him The Talk, and instead I spent the next few days at a funeral home, using every bit of my resolve to try and maintain composure, and not doing the best job. I don't know what was harder about it, the fact that he was gone, or that in his last moments he probably still harboured that fondness in his heart, that fondness that I couldn't reciprocate any longer. It was like someone throwing out all of Thanksgiving dinner because I didn't like the cranberries – my minor issue was gone, but with no real closure, and at too great a cost to everyone else.

About a week passed, a week with restless, and often sleepless nights. The following Friday night, I couldn't deal with it anymore. I couldn't deal with the tossing and turning, the drifting to sleep by four a.m. only to be shocked awake by another nightmare. I got up out of bed, threw on some clothes, and left my apartment. I needed closure, I needed to have The Talk.

I stopped by a little 24-hour convenience store along the way to get flowers for the grave. All they had was lilies, appropriately the flowers he gave to me on our first date. The graveyard was just a few blocks from the apartment, an old place where much of his family was already buried. I walked the cobblestone path toward his grave, and my heart began to quicken. I didn't understand why; in a kind of morbid way, this would be easier. There would be no questions, no explanations, no sorrowful pleading, just my words, words I had recited in my head what seemed like a thousand times a day for the last six weeks. Still, I was as nervous as I would have been if he were still there. I needed a minute to compose myself, get my head straight. I sat down on a nearby bench, and thought about what I was going to say, and then I heard his voice.

“Hey, Em.”

I shrieked. I jumped. The lilies hit the ground and my heart hit my ribcage. He was there, on the bench. I mean, not totally there, but still there. After what felt like an eternity, the smallest, softest words within me were able to creep up. “....Brad?... How are you?... How is this?” if my mind was a mess before, it was the aftermath of a natural disaster now.

“Oh, this?” he smiled, demonstrating his lack of physical substance by waving his hand through his head “I don't really know... I guess maybe I'm a ghost?” it was amazing that not even death could curb his nonchalance. “I'm glad you came,” he said, looking at me “I missed you.”

“Brad...I...” I scrambled to pick up the lilies as I came to terms with the situation. “We...need to talk...” So much for the easy way out.

He raised an eyebrow quizzically “If I didn't know any better, I'd say you're trying to break up with a dead guy.” he began to chuckle. The chuckling was short-lived when he looked back at me. “Wait, Em, seriously?”

“Look,” I began, “We had a lot of great times for a while...”

“You don't need to do this...”

“ just feels like, lately we haven't been able to connect...”

“Emily, this is ridiculous...”

“It's gotten to the point where we've been living different lives...”

“I don't have a life anymore, Em!”

“I just feel like it's best if we...”


He rarely ever raised his voice to me, so that alone shook me, but there was something else to it now, something ethereal, otherworldly, that just made me freeze. “Em... I'm dead. There's nothing left for you to break up with... it's over.”

“Brad,” I said, looking up at him through tears “this conversation needed to happen.” He looked back at me and nodded. We both walked over to his grave silently, and I laid the lilies down in front of his tombstone.

“Lilies...” he smirked “how apropos.”

“You know, if things didn't happen the way they did, I would have liked for us to stay friends...”

“There's no reason we can't be.” His smile seemed a bit less melancholy now. “If ever you want to talk, just as friends, you know where to find me.” As I watched him fade into the night, I caught the faintest hint of a wink.

I sat there, at the bench in the graveyard, and sobbed. Good, loud, cathartic sobs, for almost an hour. I went and sat in a diner after that, had some coffee, and waited for the sun to come up. I walked home wondering if what happened was real, and if it was whether it would ever happen again. If nothing else, one way or the other, I got my closure. I went back to my apartment, and was finally able to sleep.

Sunday, 30 June 2013


Welcome (back) to the BTJ blog.

For whatever reason, I let this blog go stagnant for well over two years. For a time, Between Two Junkyards was being updated as often as three times a week, and was complete with recurring Monthly segments, special interview posts, and a Merch shop. This blog felt, to me, as though it had  the capacity to become something more that just a twenty-something rambling to a near-nonexistent audience on the internet, as though, with a little time and a lot of elbow grease, this blog had potential, BIG potential.

And then, it just kind of stopped...

Part of me blames it on a difficult battle with writer's block. Part of me thinks that the schedule was too hectic; that trying to run a personal blog like a web-zine was just too much for one person. Part of me even believes that I just got lazy, and that maybe the prospect of making work out of this spooked me into killing something that had just started to blossom. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, I let my beloved little skateboarding blog fall to the wayside, and earlier today, I made the decision to bring it back, albeit with some fundamental changes.

Firstly, I will be updating once a week, Sunday evenings, likely posting during the wee hours on Monday morning. This way, I feel like I can be consistent, and be able to effectively manage work, the blog, and my other writing projects without fear of getting bogged down too heavily.

Secondly, I no longer plan on writing exclusively about skateboarding. I love skateboarding, yes, and I always will, but that being said, there are two main reasons behind this decision:

  1. Although skateboarding is my greatest passion, I do have other interests, several of which I have been pursuing more actively than skating recently. Again, this does not mean I no longer skate, but rather that circumstances have afforded me more time do engage in things like writing, comics, and tabletop gaming as well.
  2. As the blog really started to gain momentum the first time around, I found that writer's block became a more constant issue. Part of this may be due to the fact that I can only say so much about skateboarding in one week, especially given the average length of my posts. In broadening the blog into a wider array of topics, I leave myself open to write about whatever I choose, and not necessarily just about skateboarding.
I feel good about starting Between Two Junkyards back up, and about really using it as a platform for me to really just bare my mind and soul to the internet.

Here's to new beginnings: it feels good to come back home.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Van Doren Effect, or the Seductive Sidestripe's Siren Song

First thing's first, the blog now has a store! You can find the link along the side of the blog, or click the link in the last sentence if you have a craving for some BTJ merch.

I picked up a new pair of shoes this weekend. I had the option of either the TNT 5s, or the Rowley SPVs. Given that the TNTs only came in a black and orange colourway, I opted for the SPVs in classic black and white.

Aesthetically, they look like a pared-down, almost dressier version of the Old Skool, and the padded heel piece and tongue, coupled with a thinned-out sole make for a particularly comfortable fit with no break-in time. That being said, the thin sole and bare-bones upper probably mean that durability would be an issue for street skaters, so on account of that I would more quickly recommend the Rowley SPVs to those who skate more transitions.

Let's all be honest here, though, you guys probably didn't visit the blog to read a shoe review. For that matter, I'm sure you could probably find a similar review of the SPVs from any number of sites, or find a similar review of any number of shoes. At the end of the day, one of the most convincing arguments for buying the SPVs, or really any pair of Vans, is that, come on, they're Vans.

Case in point, Vox just released the below video of Dan Drehobl skating a mini ramp in a brand new pair of Vox shoes.

OOTB Series - Dan Drehobl from Vox Footwear on Vimeo.

I would love to be able to tell you that the first thing I noticed about the video was Drehobl's skating. By no means is that a sleight to the skating, as it is impressive as any Corpsey footage, but the fact of the matter is that the first thing I noticed about the video was this:

I assure you that the above images were not photoshopped in any way, it just so happens that the Vox Saveys bear a remarkable resemblance to the Vans Eras, right down to the stitch pattern. Vox is, by no means, the only company guilty of doing this, by the way. I defy anyone to find another skate shoe company who has not released a mid-top that looks similar to the Half Cab.

Now, not to sound like a snob, but at the end of the day, if I had to make a choice, I would purchase the Eras. I find myself wondering exactly why this is; what drives this kind of fierce brand loyalty that I tend not to have for many other products? For all I know, any given pair of Vans döpplegangers may be more durable, or more affordable than their inspiration, and yet I stand by my choice.

It seems to me that what it boils down to is the fact that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The look of many of the most classic Vans shoes is so often borrowed from for a reason: these are good shoes. It is not without merit that Vans celebrated 45 years in the business this year, and not without note that a couple of their shoe designs have lasted just as long. So, in the end, while yes, there may be a kind of emotional connection I have to the almighty waffle grip and sidestripe as as tranny skating punk-rock fan, I cannot help but argue that my love for Vans comes simply because, well, they're Vans.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

A Public Service Announcement With Guitars: The BTJ Jason Adams Interview

I have no shame in admitting that I am a fan of Jason Adams.

The Kid has a timelessness about him, and about the way he skates. You see his photos, watch his parts, and want to go skate, pure and simple. He is, in many ways, a bit of a blue-collar hero.

I sent Jason an e-mail via his blog, on a whim, stating who I was, and how cool I thought it might be to ask a few questions for the blog. Now, I am a realist, and I understand that many pros live hectic lives with insanely bloated inboxes. It is for this reason that, when Jason was so quick to initially respond, much less agree to an interview, I was equal parts shocked at the speed of his response, excited by the prospect of getting a shot at interviewing one of my all-time favourite skaters, and flattered that he actually agreed to it.

What truly blew me away, however, was that, in spite of the fact that the actual interview took about a month and a half to do, that every week or so I was getting an e-mail letting me know that the interview was still a go, and that I had not been forgotten. Even if I were never a fan of Jason Adams beforehand, his willingness to take the time to keep up a correspondence with me over the last eight weeks or so, with really not much to gain from it, was enough to cement his place as an icon in my mind.

And so, without further ado, the Between Two Junkyards Jason Adams Interview.

1. So, first off, I want to touch on 1031. Hearing that you were going to be riding for Svitak got me really stoked, because as far as I'm concerned you guys made up part of what I consider to be the golden age of Black Label. How has it been skating alongside Kristian again after so many years? Being that you're kind of one of the veterans on the team, do you ever find yourself offering up any kind of mentoring or advice to the younger guys?
- I've never even met anyone on the team besides Kristian. I met Ben [Raybourn] one time...but ahh... then he quit. I don't get out of town much.....veteran for sure! Ha ha, I'm a somewhat stay at home dad these days. The days of touring and travel and free days skating, or  filming/shooting are pretty much a memory. A skateboarders life style doesn't fit in any where. I try!!! Damn it, I try!! It suits me to be a fancy free spirit......just ain't goin' down these days. 

2. You've released a staggering number of video parts over the years, and in watching all of them I've found that they have this kind of balance to them: not only do you manage to incorporate equal parts street and transitions, but also equal parts tricks that will amaze the average skater, and tricks that the average skater will want to go and learn right after watching. How important is it for you to maintain that sense of accessibility, to throw a slappy and slide line into a part with a lot of unique skating that most young street pros couldn't hold a candle to, much less your average grom?
- Well the way you broke that down is somewhat the way I would go into filming a part. Basically I go and film what's fun and comes natural to me. That said I also always wanted to make a statement about what I was into or what I thought was cool........ basically I never let go of my younger roots and influences in skateboarding. I always wanted to bring that into whatever I did in skating. But on the flip side... I knew I needed to come up with a few bangers and a few other moves to make it modern and relevant.

3. Speaking of unique skating, what's the trick behind your ability to seemingly wallride anything with a 70-plus degree angle?

- I have always been drawn to wall rides. Seeing the first crail snatcher or wallie in the mags was so awesome to me! Then when tech skating came in it was almost taboo to hit a wallride? That made me want to hit them more! the Gonz always did rad wall stuff. I really dug Tim Jackson back in the day too. That might have something to do with it. I guess I would find inspiration in choosing the road less traveled......these days there's just a lot of traffic.......

4. not to try and make you feel too old, but you've been skating long enough to have been privy to an insane amount of progression. What trick do you most vividly remember seeing for the first time? For that matter, what trick do you most vividly remember learning?

Hmmmm, good question. Hearing about Tom Knox doing a kick flip wall ride.....I would say around 86-87 man that was heavy.  JJ Rogers doing the first feeble grind on a hand rail in a blockhead ad. Hearing about Henry Sanchez doing a big spin over the seven at Embarcadero...........Danny Sargent back side slappy on the big ledge Embarcadero...... For me?...Ollie up a curb, kick flips......Front 360s off jump ramps. Rock and rolls on half pipes.......First board slide on a hand rail. Four stairs fool!!

5. I remember reading an interview you did in The Skateboard Mag where you talked about living a sort of nine-to-five lifestyle that lets you spend time with your wife and daughters. How difficult is it to be a full-time pro skater and a full-time grown-up? How do you manage that balance?

- I don't...... I don't consider my self a full time pro skater any more.... not that I don't want to be out doing it, or that I'm not skating. It's just that reality, economics and age set in. It had to happen some time I suppose...... but it was tuff for all those years of being a married father and trying to keep a skater's schedule going. It's like oil and vinegar! Even when the wife didn't have to work!

6. Anyone whose seen your art, read your blog, or watched any of your video parts knows how big an influence music is on you (I personally got into the Mescaleros thanks to your part in the enjoi video), and yet in terms of creative outlets other than skating, you gravitated toward the visual, rather than the audible. Why so? Have you ever tried your hand at music?

- Yes, and I'm not musical!! Anything I've ever gotten into it just became an obsession. I tried to get into playing music and it just didn't click?? I'm either lazy or lost or obsessed!!

7. I've noticed a trend in recent years that a lot of pros are no longer ashamed to ride their own models. I never really got the reluctance in the first place, because to me a pro model should be
something you as a pro should want to ride. As someone who has often ridden your own board, What's your take on the whole issue?

- The early 90's pro skate scene was retarded...for lack of a better word. It trickeld from that. But at the same time it could have been a backlash of the antics of some cheesy-ass ego driven pros of the 80s?? But really the 1990s were strange! Real strange!

8. On the subject, I know you like to switch up your setup frequently, but if you had to ride one size and shape the rest of your life, what would it be?

- I don't like that scenario...

9. You're stranded on a desert island with one album, one book, and one thing to skate. What are your picks?

- Man you are killing me.....The Clash, Sandanista; Stienbeck, Travels with Charlie; red curb.

10. So what is coming down the pipe for you in the coming months? What can all the Kid fans out there look forward to?

- Trying to stay focused, that's a tuff one for me. I want to do a few projects for my 20 years of pro skateboarding coming in 2012. Honestly I'm just trying to find my place right now, I'm learning how to juggle it all and stay consistant!!

11. Final question: Every so often on the blog, I'll write about some aspect of skateboarding that really personifies it. So if you'd be so kind as to finish the sentence; Skateboarding is...

- freedom....or at least a the closest thing to it.

I want to extend my hugest thanks to Jason Adams for taking the time for this.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Skateboarding Is... September

This hiatus of mine has been a long, painful one, filled with many ideas and little time to think them through, much less cement them into a post. Many a time, ideas have begun to manifest, only to putter to an abrupt halt, cast into the purgatory that is my "drafts" folder: while discussing this with Brad yesterday evening, he claimed the above to be a blue-faced statement, but I assure all of you that this is not the case. Some of you may recall that I ensured a particularly special post upon my prodigal return, but said post is suffering some logistical setbacks, so in the meantime I hope my offer of one of my regular features will satiate you all for the time being.

Skateboarding is... Versatility

Also Barrel-Jumping... kinda
In and of itself, skateboarding is something of a niche activity, even in light of being more or less accepted in modern society, and within the niche that is the activity we all adore, there are several other subcategories, so to speak. We, as skateboarders, have all come across them, and many of us have made a point subscribe ourselves to one or another: be it street, vert, mini, freestyle, downhill, slalom, or even longboarding, ours is an activity that seemingly thrives on the idea of specialization within a particular field.

Why, then, if this is the case, am I sitting here right now claiming the exact opposite? Well, because while, yes, on the one hand most skaters make a point of finding one specialized area and honing their skills within it, skateboarding by its very nature demands of its purveyors an inherent versatility.

From a more macro standpoint, it can be argued that skateboarding is greater than the sum of its parts. That is to say, one reason that skateboarding has flourished the way it has, especially lately, is because of the fact that, past the act of riding a skateboard, every other aspect of skateboarding is defined by the individual doing it. In many ways, a skateboard is the most versatile mode of transportation ever conceived; every microcosmic sect under the blanket term of "skateboarding" is a testament to the fact that skateboarding thrives on versatility through individuality.

From an individual standpoint, this is most essentially personified in one's ability to adapt to different terrain. Now, while I could take this opportunity to extol the virtues of being well-rounded in every discipline, or wax poetic about what Jake Phelps recently dubbed the "Round-wall Renaissance", I'll see fit to avoid doing so, because at the end of the day, not everyone wishes to play jack-of-all-trades. Yes, being able to skate handrails and pools equally well certainly epitomizes the idea of versatility, but in that same breath, no two handrails are alike, any more so than any two pools are alike. Every piece of skateable terrain, whether made for skateboarding or not, is inherently unique; such is the beauty of human fallibility. Every crack, every kink, every millimetre difference in measurement provides a unique challenge. Even the act of skating down a different stretch of sidewalk than one's normal path can prove a new adventure, a new exercise for the mind and body. It is the ability to adapt to these variables, to conquer the new and unknown, that not only separates the good skaters from the great ones, but has also been the defining point of skateboarding for its entire existence.

In the end, the whole thing seems like an elementary exercise in basic logic: If a skateboard is a versatile object, and skateboarders are versatile people, then by all accounts...

Skateboarding is... Versatility.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Skirts and Inverts Pt. 2

As much as I enjoy a good preamble in my blog posts, as those of you keeping score have no doubt noticed, there isn't a whole lot that can be said to precede today's entry. For those of you who may be new ( I think I might see one, way in the back there...), I had written this post about three weeks back, and in spite of the great feedback I received (seriously, all you guys are awesome), I felt there was something left unsaid. Truth be told, what I had really wanted for the first post right off the bat was more of a woman's perspective on the matter, though my efforts to receive such a perspective proved fruitless by my self-imposed deadline, and with no time to develop anything else so as to put my initial idea on the back-burner, I posted, and waited.

the backbone of this second part came to me via my Facebook inbox, in the form of young Jess Speedie. Some of you reading this may have met Jess before, but for those of you who haven't, allow me to offer some insight:

During 2009/2010, due to the fact that I had taken a year off from school, I took a second job as a skateboarding instructor at CJ Skatepark in Toronto. At the start of, I believe, the second week of Holiday camps in December, a young camper asked me if I was able to drop in on the park's twelve-foot tall vert ramp. I happily obliged the camper by proceeding to give all of the campers from that particular week an impromptu demonstration of all six tricks I can actually do on vert. Afterwards, I was approached by a young lady who had enrolled in the camp; she complimented my skating, and asked me if I would help her with her frontside airs. Eighteen months later, and she looks like this:

The young lady, for anyone not paying any attention whatsoever, is Jess Speedie.

When I took it upon myself to query Jess about the nature of women and femininity in skateboarding, she was, unbeknownst to me, spending a week at Woodward further honing her abilities. Still, though, when the questions did eventually get to her, she was more than happy to offer her insight.

BTJ: As a skater, how did/does being surrounded by males affect your personality/interests outside of skating, if at all?

Jess: Frontside Ollie
JS: Well, I have to say, being around males does affect my personality. It inspires me and pushes me to be more out-going, and less finicky about trying new things. And also to be willing to go all out, and be tough and strong all the time. Basically to just stand out, and be proud and aggressive, despite any differences, disadvantages or lack of experience that I may have. In terms of interests though, it doesn't really affect me.

BTJ: Do you feel the majority of female skaters are inherently masculine? Why or why not?

JS: No, I don't think female skaters are inherently masculine. I think they just enjoy flowing around on a skateboard (for me personally, I love the rhythm and freedom of skating, it's kinda like music). They're attracted to the same thing about skateboarding that males are. But that doesn't make them masculine.

BTJ: Is there a place for femininity in skating, or will it always be perceived as a hindrance?

Erin Wolfkiel, potential X-Games Medallist.
Way to blow it, ESPN
JS: I think there is a place for femininity in skating, I just don't think it's that big or popular. It will probably be a bit of a hindrance until a girl comes up who has dialed 720s and can skate strong and aggressively; someone who is as fun to watch as one of the pro male skaters.

For that last question:
While I was at Woodward, I met a female skater, Erin Wolfkiel (she was my counsellor). She was going to compete at the X Games until the women's division got so wonderfully cancelled. During my time with her, we had some really great conversations, and I discovered that she has some super interesting ideas to offer about female skateboarding, the challenges it will face, and its future. She thinks in a really cool way. I think you should get some opinions/answers from her, she really wants to get her message out there and heard, and she honestly has some amazing things to say. If you'd like, I can contact her and ask her your questions and send you her response. I think it would make your blog post even more interesting and thought-provoking. 

I did take Jess up on her offer to gain some more insight from miss Wolfkiel, however at this time Erin has not, for whatever reason, been able to offer her two-cents on the matter. Said lack of communication notwithstanding, however, I do feel inclined to share with you a short documentary featuring Erin, that may, in fact, answer some of my questions inadvertently.

I want to end this post not by offering my own insight, as I feel I did so fairly thoroughly in the first part. Instead, I want to urge those reading this blog to ponder this matter on their own. Form your own opinions based on what you know and what you've seen. To the male readers, maybe use this an encouragement to get your sisters/moms/girlfriends/wives to give skateboarding a try, and to the female readers, use this as a fire to go out, grab a board, and learn how to rip, or rip harder. Who knows, one day you may be doing frontside airs higher than the person you got to teach you them in the first place.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Eternal Variable

When considering what to write about for the Monday's post, part of me wanted to assume that there were going to be hoards of skate bloggers out there who were no doubt going to recap this weekend's X-Games, and that perhaps ESPN's annual Hawk and pony show would, by the time this post goes live, be flogged to death worse than crailslides were in the mid 2000s. Then, of course, the thought occurred to me that "wait a minute, this is the X-Games... No one is going to blog about them because no one cares enough to watch them anymore!" To be fair, I stopped watching the X-Games on TV probably about five or six years ago. When I was younger, I remember being upset because TSN (Canada's equivalent to ESPN, for those of you not living here) would never show the street contests on TV. I mean, yes, vert was cool to watch, but at that point I didn't skate transitions, and street was my deal. Eventually, I got tired of being disappointed by one of the two or three Canadian simulcasts of the contest being motocross, BMX, or Rally Racing, and truth be

"Street" Obstacle, 2010.

told, even if I had the opportunity to watch skating, I found the vert and big air contests had become formulaic (whoever does the most rotations wins), and the street contests were predicable and boring, with horrendous layouts that looked like neither street nor skatepark, but rather some manner of oversized modern art gallery. Like most skaters, I scoffed at the redundancy of the contest, and if I really wanted to watch the footage, I knew it would be online in a matter of days.

Street obstacle, 2011.
Oddly enough, something broke me this year. Something within me compelled me to set me PVR to record whatever X-Games coverage was being simulcast up north, without having any knowledge of what said coverage would be, and proceed to watch it at my nearest possible convenience. Truth be told, I think a large part of it had to do with this year's frankly astonishing street course, though I believe a lot of it could be attributed to the fact that in the last few years, someone slapped ESPN good and hard. Perhaps it was on account of the whole cancelling vert debacle a few years back, though I can only really speculate. Point is, it seems as if the coordinators of the X-Games may have finally realized that, in spite of their admittedly impressive seventeen year tenure as an annual multi-discipline contest, and in spite of making for a good payday for the competitors, the contest had become the butt of ninety-eight percent of the jokes told by its bread and butter, skateboarders (the other two percent consisting of Jeremey Rogers jokes).

Of the four days and plethora of different events that made up this year's contest, for some reason TSN only allotted two hours of coverage on Friday and two on Sunday, meaning that of the four days and plethora of events, Canadian TV coverage was made up of two hours of skate street preliminaries, and two hours of rally racing finals. Needless to say I forwent the rally cars. The street prelims were held on the Friday, though in a house with six people and fewer TVs, the PVR proved to be a godsend.

Saturday morning I made a point to wake up early enough to watch the street prelims before the TV would be commandeered in the name of sports to which I hold no interest, only to have something very interesting happen. As I was in the midst of watching the end of the third of four heats, my dad walks into the room to take care of a few things for work. As I was preparing myself to turn over the remote control, I hear a comment from my dad about Ryan Decenzo:

"Hey, he looks kinda like you!"

"Yeah, I guess. Maybe it's because he's Canadian. He's in first right now."

"No kidding! Good for him!"

As the fourth and final heat carried out on TV, I found my dad making more and more comments about what he saw:

"Aw, man, that was cool." (In response to a number of David Gravette's more unconventional tricks).

"Huh. So he is human." (After seeing Nyjah Huston miss a trick).

Being the only person in my immediate family to ever have any real interest in skateboarding, it was strange to be sitting, having that kind of a moment with the same man who, as I was a young teenager, assured me that I would eventually stop skating. I talked about the whole experience with Deanna over the weekend, and it got me thinking; maybe there's a reason that, even though the X-Games have had a history of being maligned by skateboarders, they have managed to persevere for nearly two decades now. Maybe the secret to the X-Games' success lies in their ability to make the sports it covers relative to those who don't actually participate in them.

Tony Hawk RIDE tried, but couldn't hack it...
I can understand why most skaters would rally against such a thing, and I may take a modicum of flack for saying this, but I, for one, see no problem in being able to try and share skateboarding with non-skaters. If the coordinators of the X-Games have somehow figured out a way to make a televised skateboarding event that people who don't skate can watch, and relate to, than I, for one, am all for the idea of skaters being able to sit down in front of the TV for four days in July with their families, friends, and significant others, and have a moment in which the joys of the activity they love can, to a degree, be shared with the people around them. Provided the contest coordinators continue their recent trend of listening to actual skateboarders before making decisions (cancellation of women's vert notwithstanding), the future looks surprisingly bright, and I will set my PVR to record the contest next year, in the hopes that I will be treated to some more actual skateboarding, anyway.