My Dearest Bitter Cold…
I’ve hoped I’ve never had to write this. I imagined us growing older together. You have, after all, seen me from youthful optimism to the harsh reality of the gray hairs in my beard. I was hoping to one day usher in a son through your doors and explain, “Yes, my young lad, this is where it all happened.”
I know I’m not the only man you’ve ever courted, but like all men and women that have coursed through your path, you changed me. I’m not sure whether my doctor would agree, but you’ve changed me for the better.
I must say I was surprised by your note. It was abrupt, but not without cause.
My first reaction was to be mad that you could leave me like that. Then again, I understand. Things just haven’t been right lately. I know things haven’t been the same, but I always held onto the idea that things would always get better. You were right in knowing I was wrong.
Before I go any further, I want to let you know how heartbroken I am. I know we’ve only been apart for mere hours, but I already miss you.
The minute I washed the cigarette-clogged stench of Bar-Bar from my hair and clothes, I missed your smell. The minute my voice returned, I wanted to lose it all again with you. I slept only in airplane seats and loveseats to be with you, but I’d do it again just to have a wristband scratching at my skin. My liver quivers for your embrace.
Right now, I’m wearing my Valo sweatshirt and think of you. You may not remember, but the day B. Smith gave it to me, I was with you and before the end of the night, I was choke-slammed by the police at the Econo Lodge. It was an interesting day, to say the least.
That was one of the many memories I have with you.
The first time we met, I rented a 15-passenger van from Davenport, Iowa, and made a break with my best friends in the world straight towards you. You were living in Ohio then, but when we arrived, it was love at first sight and it was only 2008.
Damn, Bitter Cold, were you beautiful. I’d never seen anything like you. You were filled with the names on our skates. The people that had seemed untouchable from such a far off place as Iowa were there, in the flesh, and friendly as hell.
That was the year it made all the sense anything could.
I had released my first book and that’s when I met Justin Eisinger, the head of the best rollerblading mag I’ve seen since what Daily Bread meant to me in high school. He said a review of that book was going to be in the next issue. That, to me, was as good as a pro skate. I gave him a CD (that’s how long we go back) I brought with me: Chuck Palahniuk’s best readings.
Isn’t it funny how life seems to work itself out when you’re around?
But that’s what made us great. We worked so well together, and so many other people did too.
We watched Broskow become a champion twice. We saw the controversy of the Haffey-Bolino year. Hell, if there wasn’t a year we didn’t see controversy, then you weren’t being yourself.
We saw the last year as CJ Wellsmore snagged yet another U.S. title—three, if you count the Aggressive Mall bowl comp as a separate event—in less than six months.
We’ve learned so much in that time.
We’ve learned the people in the stands have always been just as important as those on the ramps. The competition would never have amounted to anything without the excitement from hoarse voices screaming bloody hell and havoc all over the walls.
We’ve learned no one hypes up a crowd like Montre and when we deliver for him, he delivers for us…
We’ve learned so much together that it’s hard to ever see us apart.
I know it’s hard to go through all these memories, but please bear with me, there’s a point to all this. Whether it be catharsis or anything else, please remember our time together because it’s meant so much to me.
I’m going to miss you more than anything else in this world. You’ve always been the one thing I could ever know to be home because when I was with you, all was right in the world.
From the first minute to the last, at our bests and at our worsts, we never failed to show ourselves a great time. Together, we were afraid of the consequences to our actions, the extent of our bravery, and the excess of our excesses.
No matter the hours I had to slave away behind a desk or in a cubicle, you were the one thing I could always look forward to seeing again. Memories of us together were enough to make the pain of being apart worth every agonizing moment until we could be together again.
Each minute we had together was more perfect that anyone could have scripted. From the moment you opened your doors to me to the last when I said goodbye from a tarmac, I knew that those days together would be more perfect that either of us could have imagined.
You were rated a five stars with the World Rolling Series but you were worth all the 9 sextillion stars in our observable universe. If you would have ever asked why, I would have spent my dying days continuing to list those reasons.
You were about friends. You were about visiting old ones and making new ones. You were one of a kind. You were the kind you don’t forget. You were memories you couldn’t recall and ones you could never create. You were about creating new friendships instantly because when we were all together, nothing else mattered. You were about escorting a friend to you for the first time to three days later he could go to prison a happy man. You were about giving us arrest records if we acted out and boundless brotherhoods formed inside those jail cells. You slid your way into every membrane merely and affected our genetic makeup.
I know this is a breakup, but I want to stay in the dream and never wake up.
I may get reminders from my bank that my checking account went below its balance, but I don’t regret a single penny spent on you. I’d gladly endure the cold of one more night with you to know the warmth you’ve brought my heart could never grow cold.
Just like T Baby said, “It’s so cold in the D…”
And in the words of the great Beavis, “I’m lost.”
But you know, as well as I do, the last time, like all the rest, was the best.
It was 12.5 hours of red-eye flights to hustle to a trade show for a booth that fell through—because that’s what we do—to spend the day bouncing around talking to friends and seeing what’s the latest with everyone while slinging books. Then it was a new bowl comp that was like watching everyone you wish would join the Shred ‘Til You’re Dead tour.
It was watching Mike Froemling (Fromley, if you watch TV) kicking ass in the ams and never quitting with the pros. It was watching a 35-year-old professional blader compete. It was watching CJ Wellsmore come to this continent for a second time in six months and collect yet more trophies he can’t take on planes and enough cash to buy a house in Detroit.
It was knowing that no matter who would leave with a sledgehammer in his fist (and in years past that could have been a girl, too), it was going to be one hell of a ride.
No matter what happened at you, My Dearest Bitter Cold, there was always Bar-Bar to look forward to after.
You truly let me be a child as long as I could. Now that I live in a world of impossible corporate structure and idealistic political correctness, there are few opportunities to yell my voice off a map and rampage with the best people on the planet. You let me scum out.
You let me say FUCK IT ALL!!! for a few days a year. You let me drink enough whiskey to question my longevity, forsake responsibility to the point of homelessness, and never made it more apparent what’s important in real life.
You’ll always be the best and worst thing to ever happen to me.
And for that, I can’t thank you enough, but at this point in my life, it’s better you’re gone.
While you’re gone, I’m glad we spent the time to build for the next generation. Wake’s a fine example of that. I’m glade we’ve made the sacrifices we’ve made. Give me the chance and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I’d never be so lucky to do it the same way twice.
It’s the last time I’ll shave off my Bitter Cold beard, but as those unwanted chin hairs fall into the sink, I look at each as the best memory I could hold.
Without you in my life, I know things will feel a bit different for now, but know I will leave this stronger.
Should you be given a proper burial, this is all that would be left to print in the obituary section…
BITTER COLD SHOWDOWN
The Bitter Cold Showdown died Feb. 24, 2013, in Royal Oak, Mich. It was 13 years old. Bitter Cold—known more affectionately as BCSD—was born in 2001, the son of Daniel Kinney. True to its name and spirit, BSCD was a competition of Boot-Fruitish fury and mettle forged in the depths of hellish cold in the desolate metropolitan Detroit area. it served as a home to many wandering souls, countless memories, and endless arrest records. Survivors include Winterclash, Blading Cup, Panhandle Powwow, and others. It was preceded in death by Barn Burner and others. Services will be held in the hearts of grown men and women across the globe for decades. In lieu of flowers, remembrances should be served by ordering from businesses that have supported BCSD over the years, including, but not limited to, six one six, aggressive mall, roller warehouse, scribe/con artist, vibralux/street artist, Valo/Themgoods, the conference, and other people that don’t suck.
Don’t think you left me completely devastated though, Bitter Cold. You’re not the only competition I’ve been seeing.
You should know I’ve been looking under the ramps of the Blading Cup.
And My Dearest, it’s warmer under there.
Blade and let Die,
— Brian Krans
P.S. — Thanks to everyone whose made these Bitter Colds so great for me. I’d try to list you all, but it’d be the honor roll of blading and that’s too many people to mention.
Thanks to my family connected back in Iowa and those Juice Sucka Foos keeping me in trouble here in California. Without you, I’d be more lost than I am now.
A magnificent thank you to the Bambricks for being excellent hosts. Sorry my foot stank made everyone think someone threw up in the house.
Of course, thank you Daniel. I’m sure we’ll see even more from you soon.