The Categories of Rollerblading, Fix Them. Seriously.

18 06 2009

A Little Note Before My Next Piece.

A lot of people have taken notice of my “The (Bad) Archetypes Who Will Fuck You Over In Competition” article, and there have been many differing opinions on the matter. Some people agree with what I said, some people partially agree, and others think I am angry, bitter, and attention seeking. To be honest, I got the response I wanted. All great topics are debatable, and all great topics stimulate conversation, making those who are presented with the topic constructively think about the subject matter at hand (or, you know, whine because it wasn’t what they wanted to hear, and are afraid of other peoples’ opinions). Only through this form of constructive thought and debate can rollerblading stand in front of the proverbial mirror and improve itself. When you start to write pieces that everyone agrees with you realize that you are only writing fluff, gratifying the masses and reinforcing old beliefs that led us astray to begin with (A.K.A the old CanadianRoll). For this reason, I will only post things that I truly and honestly believe in.  You may agree with my opinions or they may offend you; however, I will offer an avenue for your counter thoughts to be presented. I will accept any piece of writing (that is relevant and well written) that is sent to my e-mail,, and will post it up on CanadianRoll, unedited, for all to read. If you don’t accept this and still complain, then I can only conclude that you are a lazy fuck, and I highly advise that you keep your mouth shut. Remember, complaining and pointing the finger is easy, but coming up with ideas and solutions, together, is far more constructive.

The Categories of Rollerblading, Fix Them. Seriously.

While at the third Brampton Competition, watching both the “Pros” and the “Amateurs” compete I had a thought. The categories we use to label ourselves seem inept in properly capturing the different levels of skating. This was most glaringly obvious during the “Amateur” competition. It was easy to see that the people at the top of this category were leaps and bounds ahead of those at the bottom in terms of skill level. Not only was it obvious, it was painfully obvious. So this leads to the question, why aren’t there more categories? It seems that many competitions limit themselves to this two level system. You are either a “Pro” or are trying to work yourself up to “Pro” status from “Amateur.” But what about “Little Jimmy” who just started a few months ago, knows very little about rollerblading, and enters into a competition expecting to be met with people at a similar skill level as him? When he sees the people he will be up against he will most likely shit his pants and become scared of all the “big kids” and their “hard grinds and gaps,” which may ultimately lead to discouragement and him quitting rollerblading altogether. That or he will persevere, work hard, stick with it, and become good (and if you believe this lie, where the fuck have you been for the past ten years? Most kids today have the attention span of a stapler, if it doesn’t flash, go “BOOM,” “show boobies,” kill things in the virtual world, or bring them instant gratification, they will most likely loose interest in a heart beat). Let’s face it; we need all the little kids we can get. All the sessions and competitions I have been to lately have a severe lack of new faces, particularly, little faces. Everyone I see is getting older, and rollerblading isn’t his or her number one priority. The real world is catching up to an aging rollerblade community, which doesn’t bode well for our long-term prospects.

My suggestion, we create a “Beginner” category for competitions with different groupings. Just not called that because “Beginner” sounds lame as fuck, and no one wants to be known as a beginner at anything, it is pretty much another way of saying, “You are fucking horrible at this, looser.” But for the all intensive purposes of this article I will label it “Beginner” because I lack creativity with names (our name is CanadianROLL….seriously, I ripped it off of ROLLing revival, which I think every other blog in ROLLerblading did too). This new category will serve many purposes. First, little kids, or kids at a certain skill level, will not feel left out and automatically defeated when entering competitions. How bad would it feel entering something knowing you had no chance of advancing in it?* Well this is how bad they feel every time news of a competition comes around. This “Beginner” category would allow kids of a comparable skill level to compete against one another, which will push them to work harder, because they know they have a chance of advancing, and possibly winning something. Also, this format allows kids to meet others at a comparable age and skill level, which is more conducive to making friends, and we all know that half the fun of rollerblading, and one of the reasons we all stay in it, is because of the great friends we have made.

There is good news for the older and more experience people as well. It isn’t all about the little kids! For all of you competing in “Amateur” I am sure you have felt the same way I have when you were placed in a heat against “Little Timmy.”  It is fucking embarrassing. You almost feel like you are leading a lamb to the slaughter. You know Timmy has an ice cream’s chance in hell in advancing, and you are left asking yourself “Why the fuck did he enter?” Then you start questioning how good you really are if you competing against a nine year old. Deny it all you want, I am sure the thought has crossed your mind at least once. Then, once Timmy looses, you kind of feel like an asshole. Beating a little kid in a rollerblading competition is like beating up women, it’s a loose, loose situation. In the back of your head you hear, Congratulations big man, you just beat a kid who can’t soul grind a curb. Good for you. With the introduction of this “Beginner” category in competitions all this is eliminated, and all those more advanced rollerbladers are left competing against once another in “Amateur.” Thus, you don’t feel like an asshole, and the “Amateur” category becomes about a trillion times more entertaining to watch (and trust me, it needs it).

Now, I understand there are factors working against my idea. Time limitations, more prizes needed, etc… But I really think the ends justify the means here. The fact that competitions, and thus rollerblading, will become less threatening to little kids is something that makes rollerblading look more appealing to them. Plus, it is another factor that contributes to them sticking with it. I think this alone justifies the extending the length of competitions. Also, who is to say that they have to have equal time when compared to “Pro” and “Amateur” runs? And if you can’t be bothered to watch them, then show up twenty minutes later. In terms of prizes, I am sure kids don’t need a trophy, cash, or a pair of skates. They would be happy with anything. It is the acknowledgement that they crave. Fuck, I remember competing for a can of root beer on a hot day when I first start rollerblading, I won, and it was some of the most fun I had, and I still remember it to this day (it was one of those cheap “No Name” brands too, but man, did it taste good). If you can think of any other reasons why a “Beginner” category wouldn’t work I would be more than happy to hear them.

You may notice that I put “Pro” and “Amateur” in quotations, and trust me there is a reason. These names are just as fucking horrible as “Beginner.” I only know of a handful of people in the Canadian scene who deserve the word “Pro” to be associated with their names. Everyone else can fuck off. When I think of a Pro, names like Chris Haffey, Brian Aragon, Alex Broskow, and Franky Morales,  come to my mind, not your local skatepark hero. The category of “Amateur” is just as bad. You know who is considered an Amateur still? Mark Wodja, Sam Moore, Adrien Anne, if you can’t compete with the likes of them, then you have no right to be labeled under the same category. In fact, I am willing to go as far as saying that if your competition is not a part of the World Rolling Series, then you have no right to use these titles.  These events are where the true pros and amateurs compete. However, I must remind you, I lack creativity with names, so come up with something yourself, I’ve done enough work for today.


*If you don’t know this answer ask every other rider in the Tour de France when Lance Armstrong decides to compete. They most likely feel like shit.

-Nick. D




9 responses

18 06 2009

Again, another thought producing article by none other than Nick himself.

Ahh, a can of root beer. Those were the days indeed.

18 06 2009

I like root beer! 🙂

19 06 2009
roger wilkinson

How about these catagories:

I’ll think those better describe the average skater, and still makes people feel good about themselves. I fully agree with Nick, to get rid of the “Amatuer” and “pro” divisions, because i’ve never seen real pro’s or am’s at any of the comps for the locals in Ontario. We all need to give respect where respect is due, and by labeling ourselves pros and ams we are definitely smearing the titles and making rollerblading look bad and illegitimate. A lack of respect for pros in rollerblading has plagued our sport for years, but now I’m getting into a whole new article, aren’t I. lol


19 06 2009

canada is a joke

20 06 2009

So are those who are afraid to identify themselves.

20 06 2009

meh. Canada is Canada. I dig it and I dig most of the rollers here. Most.

20 06 2009
dirty lakeshore

First off there used to be pros in toronto comps years ago when the scene was a bit bigger here. I will agree with roger with calling the divisions novice, intermediate and advanced, but im not crushed if it goes by pro and am either. No need to re invent the wheel on that one keep it simple, and keep it traditional either way works for me. As for beginner divisons most comps did have them, but the last few years i have seen very few “beginners” comming out, and if the did come out they were just comming to watch. Im sure if the young bucks started comming out to more of the toronto comps that the beginner division would come back into the picture. I think the location and the fact is was at a skatepark instead of a street comp played a huge factor in younger bladers comming out.

20 06 2009

I totally agree with that point. So maybe we should limit it to park comps, or comps where we know the little kid turn out will be much higher.

21 06 2009
Nick’s Response To K-God’s Article « Canadian Roll

[…] article’s context, which was all about rollerblading competitions and categories (you can read it HERE), and placed it in the broader context of the world’s largest set of competitions, which the […]

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