Blader Digest: TL;DR — Spend the Money

Let’s face it: Tanya Harding could have come across as a gangster if she wouldn’t have pulled that pussy shoelace bullshit in the Olympics.

Why is that relevant? Because there’s a lesson in there somewhere and I’ve had the kind of day that makes you think about that.

There’s Taco Tuesday, Throwback Thursday, and Fuck You Friday, but Wednesday only get’s “Hump Day”? So that’s why Wu-Tang Wednesday, the day where above any else, you act like you’re in Wu-Tang and as we all know, Wu-Tang ain’t nothing to fuck with.

I do my lame office shit, but when I’m listening to Wu-Tang, that shit gets done well and quickly because when you enter the Wu, you see out your third eye and get Buddah on what you’ve got to get done. Basically, you get your shit done like you’ve walked through the 36 chambers unscathed.

After the daily cubicle escapades, I Valo up and start the nightly charge through traffic. Since I’m still blasting Wu-Tang in my earphones, I convince my brain that I’m mother fucking Josh Petty in some Roces and cargo camouflage pants while Dave Paine follows. Like, Daytona 500 type shit.

Then some guy who’s red-green colorblind thinks he’s all clear to hit the highway exit. When he slams on the brakes with me on his hood, he must have realized that the light wasn’t actually green.

Basically, I got hit by a car in a busy ass intersection. I can give a thousand reasons to justify to avoid easy money by making the guy pay, but I went the image route: I wanted anyone watching to see a rollerblader get hit by a car and not cry their eyes out like thousands of other commuters (a.k.a. the self-righteous eco-friendly biker population) would have. One biker even talked to me about it at the next red light. She said I should have done something and I responded, “It was nothing.”

For me, after years of skating, especially here in NorCal with the JSF family, there’s no point in sitting around and complaining about shit. That, and I watch free videos of people wrecking themselves worse than I did with only pennies-per-view to show for it.

If Anything…

If rollerblading has taught me anything, it’s that you take the hit, get back up, and get back to your business. If anything good came out of it, anyone holding that what’s-the-hardest-part-of-rollerblading view of anyone who saw the accident and know, that just like the Wu-Tang Clan, rollerblading ain’t nothing to fuck with.

(Sorry, but I’ve literally been listening to Wu-Tang Clan for about eight hours now. I’m pretending to be way harder than I actually am.)

I should have taken some kind of money from that guy, but I couldn’t. You’d have to be there to understand why it was the right decision.

Who Doesn’t Need Money Right Now?

To say that times are easy for anyone who works for a living would be the greatest lie told of our generation. We’re not suffering in a Great Depression, as we still have some kind of food in our stomachs and everything else between starvation and the money necessary to buy the equipment and pay the appropriate digital service carrier to read this article.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I always thought being in your 30s meant being old and old people usually had their financial shit together.

Rollerblading isn’t doing much better, either. If you know anything about economics, you can see the strong shift in the fundamental design of the sport. We went from huge corporate sponsorship to interior funding to the lull we’re in now as the gravity of our funding weighs heavily on those with money to spend. And those numbers dwindle as a population ages without assurance the younger generation’s roots will hold water.

It’s all good though. As a sport, we’re still in that part of your 20s where you’re feeling the ramifications of being stupid with your first taste of disposable income.

But it’s the day-in, day-out grind that makes it tough.

When Working Becomes a Luxury

Most of us don’t have a job. We have jobs and that’s if we’re lucky. Most of the long-term unemployed would kill for any source of income, it’s seeing an out from it all that seems so tough. We’re all young, so we’re paying our dues.

Some of us are getting much older than we ever thought we could, and we’re busy building the lives we want to live, and there’s a price to pay for all of it.

Personally, I’ve been feeling the effects of spending a ridiculous amount of money to live in a place worth spending the money. I haven’t touched a credit card in six months and finally I have an idea of how far a dollar goes. Like most people, the idea of savings was a foreign concept, but I’ve been saving up for a security deposit on a new place. It would mean paying less money for more space to live with one of my best friends.

Rollerblader Logic Makes No Sense

In all that adult decision-making, there was a long period where I struggled to understand the meaning of adulthood (i.e. making hard decisions considering the future). That’s all part of the process of finally realizing how insanely expensive being alive is.

So I thought this was going to be the first Bitter Cold Showdown I would miss since I drove a van full of Iowans screaming “Iowa!” at 90 mph to Ohio though a snowstorm. Then I realized what I would miss. I wouldn’t miss a skating competition, I would miss an event.

From that van trip, I was able to buy a pair of skates off my childhood hero only to have him bail me out of jail two years later. I’d miss getting kicked out of Bar to lose Razor’s latest and greatest pro skater’s skate in a puddle of the same parking lot three years later. It’s about getting all of the homies together and yelling so much I forget what the sound of my own voice is like. It’s nothing but a free pass for a good time if you’re open to one.

So I was in a bit of a personal turmoil when weighing the safety of financial fortitude when it came to handing money over to people I don’t know so they can treat me like shit in that tuberculosis-spreading tube they call luxurious travel. Even the meanest stink-eye to everyone in First Class with their fancy leg room and first-on-first-off boarding accommodations can’t squash the expense to travel inside U.S. borders.

Side Bar, Your Honor

As far as plane tickets go, let me see if I can conspiracy theorist this for a second: I think plane tickets to Detroit in February are skyrocketing because of BCSD. I imagine when calculating fares, airlines have people scouring for reasons why people would travel at certain times. You know that whole demand-meets-need type thing. Now that we’ve been going to Modern Skate Park for this long—which I know is why many people are choosing not to attend, but fail to understand the lack of any other Midwest indoor skate park that could accommodate the needs of the comp—I believe the contest has at least a small effect on the hiking of ticket prices this year, along with fuel cost, inflation, and all the other bullshit reasons we’re always given.

So, yeah, traveling anywhere in the states is kind of a blind-sided bitch right now, so I didn’t think I was going. In admitting that to myself, I felt overcome by a deepening sadness. Bitter Cold was my first big skate trip as an adult and the thought of missing one made me a little bitter inside.

It was the sign of aging. Ignore the CT scans for recurrent pains or doctors telling me I’m less than a decade away from steroid injections in order to walk, walking away from Bitter Cold felt like a personal travesty. I had no idea where I would be during it and no great feeling I could experience outside of it could compare to seeing all those great friends, watching a great competition, and having a great time afterward.

Money be damned, I cashed in that rent savings and booked my tickets. I’m taking the red-eye, traveling for 12 hours, landing just in time for the trade show, and living in Detroit for 36 hours past the end of the comp, but it all sounds like a good time.

The Best Investment

I’m glad to make it because every year I go to BCSD I try to up the year before. It’s no easy endeavor, but it’s a fun process.

If you’ll be there, stop by the first booth inside the trade show doors and say hi. I’m working with Be-Mag to get you kids some not-boring coverage of everything not on a ramp.

It sounds like a weird reason to dip into your savings—at least if you don’t skate—but all of this feels like a strange bit of events, so fuck it. Why not?

Most predictions are that we all die in debt and so long as you’re smart enough to keep under the debt collectors’ radar and have a life insurance policy to cover what you owe, you can die in peace enough to know your life didn’t create more problems than it solved.

Or if you’re like me and don’t own shit, you can’t take away what isn’t there.

But that’s the main reason I still love skating above all. When you’ve got wheels under your feet, it’s hard to think about anything else. It’s all therapy when you get to be my age.

Now that I have them booked, I feel better. I may work in a beige cubicle every weekday—something I told myself I would never do—but I’m fortunate enough to be able skate there every day it doesn’t rain. I get in at least six tricks in (although only on curbs) before I even turn my work computer on. Yes, after 8 million years of evolution the sleekest of the species are somehow supposed to filed from rectangle to cube to rectangle (If you don’t believe me, look at the shape of the building you work in. If you’re Damien Wilson, Nick Wood, Ryan Evanchik, BJ Bernhardt, or the like, you don’t count. You make the cubes and therefore don’t have to live in them).

What You Should Really Do

So, if you’re not going to BCSD, make an order at your favorite skate shop (I, myself, am partial to Aggressive Mall, Intuition, and Roller Warehouse, but my biases run very deep), and give yourself a good BCSD present instead. Europeans, feel free to make it a Winter Clash-related purchase, if you feel fit.

If things were all shimmering and perfect, rollerblading would have the financial power of skateboarding so companies could fly out entourages of people on the company dime. We’d take any WRS-hosting town and spike it full of money like we do in Royal Oaks, Mich. once a year. But we don’t, so it’s nice we can do what we can.

Nothing will ever be perfect and the timing will never be as right as it should, so you might as well have some fun before you die, even if you can’t afford the whole ride.

If you’re saving your money to chase a dream, I understand. Things are tough and money is scarce, but nothing good ever came from holding back.

If you have as much fun as I do at BCSD, paying it off will be worth it.

TL;DR—Spend the money. It’s always worth it. You’re going to die regardless.

Blade or Die,

— Brian Krans

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