Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Rebellious Image of the X-Games

Well, they're not as rebellious today as in 1993, when the games were launched.

See Los Angeles Times, "X Games' wider world keeps growing":

The X Games have hosted competitions in 14 countries in recent years, but a stronger international footprint — with four new global events planned outside the U.S. — would allow them to tap into new and potentially deeper revenue streams.

An unseen factor in the X Games' ability to grow, though, is the independence of their athletes.

"They're not organized, unionized, there's no collective bargaining," Fort said.

Dave Mirra, a BMX and rally car driver who holds the record for most X Games medals (24), hopes they receive benefits and a pension one day. "It will be cool to see how organized we are in 20 years," Mirra said.

It's unknown where action sports may be by then, but it's difficult to envision them letting go of their identity.

"It's inherently rebellious, in a sense," said iconic Brazilian skateboarder Bob Burnquist. "I'm 34, I'm a professional skateboarder, I have all the success in the world, but I skate in pools and I run from police. That's what I do."

There may be a rebel culture to it, but Curren Caples, a 15-year-old skateboarder from Ventura who competed in X Games 16, said he has noticed that has changed somewhat.

Caples said that when he started skating many kids frowned on events, saying competing meant "selling out."

Now, he said, "There are kids who are skating just to get sponsors."
When I was skating back in the 1970s and 1980s, kids could only dream of such things as the X-Games, or the global popularity of skateboarding.

More later. I'll be heading over with Staples Center on Saturday with my boys.