Blader Digest: Rise of the Rollerblader

Sorry to anyone who reads this.

It’s been a hectic few weeks putting out books, selling that shit, celebrating that shit, and taking care of man-business shit. But, alas, in the few spare moments I have had, I have been thinking about what’s been going on. Really, with the few remaining brain cells that refuse to die and let me live out my dreams as an unthinking, unfeeling vegetable I have been paying attention to what’s going on.

Still, there are moments where people have to fill me in on what I’ve been missing.

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I think, as Bob Dylan said, the times are a changin’. And yes, I’m talking about rollerblading.

You see, things are coming around for everyone.

Yeah, there are lots of people shit-talking on rollerblading, just because it’s rollerblading. It’s the same jokes from the same people to the same audience. But that’s how things work. Something can’t become cool until they have someone to hate on.

Surfing has always been cool, so when skateboards came along, they got hated on by both surfers and bikers. When the sport was new, skateboarding saw a surge of attention because it was new in the 80s. Then, that faded until the early 90s.

That’s when rollerblading came along, approaching in on skateboarders’ asphalt turf.

Skateboarding was still a young sport in the 1990s, but when skateboarders saw bladers, they had someone to hate on. They still do. Blading, much like skateboarding, saw lots of attention because of its freshness, but, as we all know, that attention withered until it became a punchline.

Skateboarding rules supreme now. They get all the contest money, clothing lines you can buy at the mall, MTV reality shows, and mad bitches just for stepping on some grip tape.

It’s so popular, yet still remains the number one status symbol of teenage angst, progressive thought, individualism, and other really neat marketing words.

It’s still enough to piss off overly uptight mothers.

But, hey, that’s cool, which means stuff sells, which means blah-diddy-blah-blah-blah-blah.

What fucking ever. Skateboarding has so much in common with rollerblading that there’s no use hating on it. Shit, we stole some of their trick names to use for ours. Most of the time, they’re the driving force between skate parks being built.

Most of the skateboarders who hate on rollerbladers are either:

  • People who can barely skate themselves, or…
  • Kids under the age of 20 who have absolutely no idea that shit-talking about someone else will get you no where in this world unless you want to be like some Perez Hilton- or TMZ-esque douche bag.

Let them have their fun because while popularity for skateboarding died long ago before it’s recent resurgance in popularity, the die-hards kept it alive. It became underground, underfunded, and over-ridiculed.Those people, most of them over the age of 30, don’t talk much shit because they’re too busy doing what they love to give a shit about what other people are doing.

Does that sound familiar?

But see, rollerblading shall soon rise again. Why, you ask? Because we have found someone to hate on. We can project all of the negative words we’ve received and hurl them at someone else. Thanks, scooter kids.

These bike-blade-skateboard hybrids shall rocket us into stardom once again, mainly because we can make fun of them.

Shit, we’re already on our way to the X-Games again (kind of).

See? It’s all going to plan!

Colin Kelso started doing that a long time ago, but he got confused and threw his fucked-up diatribes in the wrong direction.

But let’s not worry about Colin anymore. Sure, he’s all cute with his rants and Bret Easton Ellis, trust fund psychopath bullshit. As we all know, burritos are fucking delicious and Stockwell has more style in his fingernail trimmings that Colin has in his entire career. (Whoops, sorry. I forgot the fucked that up, too)

Besides, you know that fight in Philly will never happen. Once Colin’s parents find out he’s using bad words on the internet again, he’s going to be fucking grounded.

Anyway, you see how talking shit on each other is kind of pointless? Colin talks shit about Jerf, I talk shit about Colin, and we’re still in exactly the same we started, but no one got any better.

See? If we direct that hate on those little scooter kids, we’ll get somewhere. We need someone to talk shit on other than ourselves and skateboarders, or we’re fucked.

Actually, fuck that. The kids are kids. Let them have their fun. If they talk shit, let them. Get all Zen-Buddhist in their fucking faces and let the shit go.

You could get into a pissing match with all of them about key differences between all the sports at the skate park, but it’d go something like this:

  • Rollerblading is gay because they are attached to your feet. So are snowboards, a sport many skateboarders enjoy.
  • Skateboarding is gay because it’s so limited in the obstacles. Rollerblading is better because we do bigger shit. Bikers can do bigger shit than blading and skateboarding combined.
  • Scooters are gay because they hop on one wheel and call it a trick. Rollerbladers and bikers do the same thing.
  • Scooters are gay because they use rollerblade wheels.
  • Rollerblading is gay because…

It’s a stupid cycle to get in. The worst parts about going in circles is that you don’t get anywhere and you never get to see anything new.

I may have said this before, but I’ll say it again: one of the most worthless things you can do is try to explain why you love something. What’s worse, is that you should never try to understand something you love.

I would like to think the world is a kind and understanding place, but it is not. Life is a hard, demanding thing. The way the world was beautiful when we first occupied it has been replaced with concrete, steel, skyscrapers, Starbucks, staircases.

Still, we take the world that has been given to us and we try to make it beautiful. We take the hardness of cities and throw our fragile bodies around them. We weave between cars, we fly over staircases, and glide down handrails. We find a way to make the hard and unmovable free and poetic again.

Each city has a heartbeat. We take the love we have for rollerblading and inject it straight into the heart of where we live.

We take the percussion of honking horns and add in strings of whisking bearings and the sound of applause in an otherwise joyless existence.

The next time you are out skating, look around. Look at the faces of the people you see among you and ask yourself some questions: why isn’t anyone smiling? Why are there so many people so close to each other, yet everyone feels alone? What has been lost that keeps happiness from our lives?

After thinking of that, look down at your feet. Your skates were designed by people who love what you do. Same with your frames, wheels, bearing, and every other piece of gear you wear. Each piece of rollerblading is fueled not by money or popularity, but love. Each bit of it.

You’re out doing what you love because people love the same things you do.

It’s impossible to have everyone love you. It’s impossible to have everyone understand what it is about rollerblading that makes you love it. You don’t even have to understand it. All you have to do is love it, enjoy it, and make yourself happy.

When you do that, you can change the world.

And isn’t that kind of the point?

If it’s not, it should be.

We should all find something that allows us the opportunity to change the wold in a way where it’s a better place because we were here. We should all have the courage to awake every day and work at doing good. We should reflect on what we’ve  done and smile at our effect for it will have made others smile.

We should work tirelessly to make everything better for one. We should pass on our knowledge, not our nonsense, to the generations after us while taking the achievements of our generation to improve life for the generation before us. We should be educating our young and caring for our old.

We should spread our tolerance. We should express our hope. We shouldn’t deny ourselves the opportunity to love and be loved.

We should be expressing in action what we say inside our own hearts.

We should be doing a lot.

But we’re not all doing that. We’re too caught up in small things we make big. We’re too busy worrying about ourselves. We’re too busy chasing our wants while we ignore our needs. That has made us sad, angry, hopeless, and distraught. It has dropped us into despair because we’re wondering why others aren’t helping us when we’re only helping ourselves.

That is only making us angrier.

Blade or Die,

— Brian Krans

P.S. — Here is your required shameless self promotion. Also, so you know, your favorite pro skaters are reading my book right now, and they say they don’t suck. Then again, their reputations are based on their skating, not their book critiques. Decide for yourself.


  • Great read, great post Roller Booting For Life! and yea that Colin Kelso rant was hilarious.. That kid goes too far with the comedy.

  • angelo wrote:

    hahaha had to post this comment after reading the now we have someone to pick on so we made it hahahah best thing ever man! i see it exactly like that man you literally spoke out my brain haha How can we begin to comment on another sport so ignorantly scootering has been around like 10 yrs plus haha an the shit they do is insane but thats beyond the point its about us pointing the finger at someone else now and you nailed it.

  • Dead gay.

    Er, no wait, this was everything I’ve wanted to think about blading but couldn’t quite organise in my head to properly think it. Wonderfully written, I love bladeordie!

    Anyway, that’s beside the point. You used “love” in excess of three times, so you’re a raging homo.

  • Shit is so real…the analogy of trying 2 make something hard and immovable to free and poetic…so Fkn ill. I luv finding so much understanding and confirmation in 1 place. Muck Luv Bro. Keep doin the damn thing.

  • Man, I just started reading your posts just by sheer luck of finding a link to the site on rollernews. This shit is tight and so true. You’ve got me hooked on reading and I assure you that I will be reading more and more.

    Now about the article. Greatly written, everything was enjoyable and so damn true. I agree with that love part. I see rollerblading as a beacon of hope in the action sports world, and that part about love is exactly why. We can’t waste our time hating others when we have been hated on so much ourselves, we just have to love. I’d rather not go into a religious side but this is like Jesus saying, “Love your neighbors as yourself.” That’s how us as rollerbladers should be.

    Diggin this website. Blade or die \m/

  • […] I’ve written about the rise of the rollerblader before, but the recent evidence of seeing people on blades makes me believe that a new wave of […]

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