Blader Digest: You Mean the Kid in the Helmet with the Orange Pants?

I went to an Oakland A’s game today. Way up in the nosebleeds, after the A’s failed to score a run in the second inning, one fan said, “That was a disgrace.”

It was a gorgeous day at the ballpark and the A’s were ranked 1st in the AL Western Division. The game had barely begun, the Tigers hadn’t scored either, and this guy way up in the cheap seats had already seen enough to be disgruntled. The A’s fielding hadn’t consisted of a single error, but a few at bats that put a few balls in a couple of Tigers’ gloves and this guy had already had enough.

Seven innings later, complete with two with two home runs and a grand slam in the eighth, Oakland walked away with a 10-0 win against the Tigers.

It seems that a certain fan projected his disgust a little to early in the game. You know, short-sightedness. We’re all victim to it once in a while or sooner than later.

While I’m not the first person to ever use a baseball analogy, and I’ll never be the last, this fits in perfectly to the sentiment of some regarding a certain rollerblader from Atlanta.

In case you haven’t heard (or didn’t see it coming since Valo V), David Sizemore has joined the ranks of the Valo pro team, something that hasn’t been bestowed on a skater since Victor Arias in like, what, 2010?

So it’s 2014 and now we can all agree that David Sizemore is a good skater.

I’ll say it now as I did five years ago for ONE Magazine: I’m a fan of David Sizemore. Big fan.

I’ve always loved what he’s brought to the sport not just in talent, but in enthusiasm and weirdness. And he hasn’t failed to surprise in any performance since then, whether contest, clip, or section.

He is, after all, the People’s Champion, something he earned during the WRS Uploaded contest in 2012, in which he essentially fakie 360 drops a Trade Center tower’s worth of stairs faster than an airplane:

But since he started popping up on the scene in the earlier years (I noticed him when he started shredding up the Windy City Riot in Chicago), he looked a little weird.

I mean, c’mon, a helmet? Orange pants?

Then again, give the man a couple of minutes and he’ll recognize his “mistakes”:

Still, he kept at it and continued ripping in the usual spots.

Sizemore has had many fans over the years, but he’s also had many dumbasses who had to focus on pretty meaningless factors, like what clothes he wore or how many times he could rotate in a circle. Then, after ditching the helmet—much to the admiration of the digital blading fashion awareness outlets—rollerblading trolls lost a lot of ammo.

It’s as if…

He strapped bald eagles to his feet, made himself a cape out of an American flag, and rose out of the south like they always said they would.

Sizmore kills it, much as he has for year. And to bring the Oakland analogy home, he killed the Oakland Blade Jam last year, as I hope he does again July 26th this year:

Fuck, man, could you imagine, all those years ago, when Sizemore was just a teen, that some of us could be guilty of a snap judgement based on a few immediate factors before us without seeing the final score, much like our disgruntled friend in the cheapest of cheap seats.

(A baseball player, Scott Sizemore, played for the Tigers and the A’s, so the analogy works, thank you very much.)

Sure, you can sit back with perfected 20/20 hindsight and take credit by saying, in some pompous way, Well, if we didn’t teach him a lesson then, he might have kept doing things we don’t like. Honestly, I reject that logic because it’s the same rationale used by people who beat their kids.

And since the majority of us were able to watch a young dude start whomping comps to Rollerblade to WRS Uploaded to him being nothing but a little fuck who does curb stalls, the move does make sense.

Or, as Papa Jon Valo put it:

It was only a matter of time.

All anyone asks is that the next time you feel like “voicing your opinion” about some stupid shit about a person—like their clothes or chosen protective equipment during the fundamental neurological developmental years—shut the fuck up. Really, it does nothing good.

Sure, offer pointers, tips, and suggestions, but keep it constructive. Rollerblading isn’t short of people willing to talk some serious shit, but we can never be short of honest constructive criticism meant to build a person up, not break them apart.

God knows rollerblading has enough of an online fashionista police, but you don’t have to be assholes about it. Really, you don’t. There’s no law that says simply because you have fingers, a keyboard, and internet access that you have to cut people down early.

Besides, you’d need a fuck load more than ten fingers to count the people who stopped pushing themselves and our sport simply because people online would puncture holes in everything like a baby-eyed girlfriend with a condom and a needle.

I hate to preach, but think of all the unjustified online hate that’s circulated around for no reason other than someone’s “standards” or “opinions.” That includes mine.

I’m really proud of David, as I’m sure are all the guys who have been shredding with him since his earliest days, like the ATL crew and beyond.

Cheers, David, and congrats on the much-earned pro status. Really looking forward to what you put out next.

Blade or Die,

— Brian Krans

P.S.—My third novel, Assault Rifles & Pedophiles: An American Love Story, just came out. Look for it at the best skate shops in the world—Aggressive Mall, Intuition, The Pull—or at a bookstore near year.

It was written, designed, illustrated, assembled, packaged, and shipped by bladers. Can’t beat that for $15.


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