November 19, 2012

Leg Don't Lie

Damian Lillard, of the Portland Trailblazers, scored two meaningless points with an uncontested dunk at the end of a game against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, angering some Bulls veterans, who promptly told him after the buzzer, "You don't do that in the NBA." Local hoops writer Steve McPherson expands on how unwritten rules work in basketball and in life here, prompting the question: What's the state of skateboarding's unwritten rules?

It's changing. More and more we're penned in parks while the whole skateboarding demographic skews younger and younger. As weird as this sounds, scenes are moving away from any sort of central authority within a scene, creating smaller autonomous pocket scenes within a city or region. Without too much sociology 101 going on here, parks+youth+localism=a fracturing of the so-called "unwritten rule book." What's left in this book and what's been tossed out? What are the known unknowns? Let's go:

Out the Window

-Contrived Style is for Dork Purposes Only.
I used to have a lot of fun doing a trick called the "pop shuv-it flair." As you could guess, it involves a pop shuv-it and the popular ski-slope trick, the spread-eagle. It was loads of fun because doing one would devolve into a minutes long flair-off, with all making fun of something that, at the time, didn't really exist. Nowadays, beyond the fact I risk pulling my groin doing the flair, the whole "stanky leg" phenomena is not only accepted by a great many, it's exalted as a paragon of style. Yes, this clip again. While there are plenty of negative comments on there, let's bring some sabermetrics into this and analyze the "like" to "dislike" ratio on that clip: How does that stack up in Actual Dislikes By Viewer (ADbV)? ? Using some Nate Silver-esque Youtube analysis, the clip, which has been viewed by 151,397 people had an ADbV of nearly 9,084. That seems like a lot, but when you us the Effective Dislike Percentage, it carries an eDL% of 0.06%. The minority, dissenting opinion may be loud, but those numbers don't lie.

In Limbo

-Skating in Shorts.
Something I learned from the McPherson piece above: It's generally accepted that musicians should not wear shorts while performing on stage (arguments for and against, here). This same idea (remove "musicians performing on stage" and insert "skateboarders skateboarding anywhere") is in flux closer to home. I remember, and it's still sort of to this day, how jarring it was when Koston repped shorts in Goldfish (yes, he opens the part in them, but get near the end when he's in khaki shorts at the Courthouse; that was always so awkward). It just used to be rare, weird looking, and for the most part, not that functional. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly what opened the door to shorts, be it the athletic gear revolution of the late-90's, the slimming of gear as the aughts progressed, Jamiel's part in Weekend Warriors or the ascendency of Arizona skateboarding (or the 332 consecutive months of globally warmer weather?), but, shorts are becoming more and more prevalent, if not accepted. Yes, the thought of shorts may still make some rub their shins in terror, and yes, damn they're comfortable sometimes, even while on board. Short of some fancy-dancy math (watching tens of thousands of Youtube clips, or something), there's no numerical short cut to determine what's going on here.

The Still Unwritten-but-Written Rule

-Don't Kook It.
Sure, this is the easiest way out, but a pair of shorts aren't the same as how one acts (and yes, the "stanky leg" is an action, though it only really bums out 0.06% of people, so it doesn't count). Lillard's dunk was kooking it. It was showing up at a mellow session, snaking and trying the hardest shit. It was the self-triumphant arms in the air after landing a trick someone else was trying. He might as well have beamed the injured Derrick Rose, afterwards. Of course, skateboarding and basketball are both flashy things to do, and sometimes a little shock-and-awe-type-stuff happens, but it shouldn't be at the unnecessary expense of someone else (why both Blake Griffin and many a hometown hero are despised in some quarters) and the shock-and-awer must return to humility as soon as possible, shifting credit to teammates or a new pair of shoes, or, as has always been vogue (and developing in skateboarding), thanking God.

6 comments:

Benjamin Ragsdale said...

Love the Nate Silver-esque analysis.

And I'm getting a stanky leg tat on my neck.

sprntrl said...

Switch mongo push? Impossible's that don't wrap? Dog flips? Highwaters w colored socks?

Anonymous said...

Of all the questionable fashion in skateboarding I think shorts are the least kooky. Plus Rowley is a well known shorts wearer.

Anonymous said...

Rob, I will enter the fray defending the switch mongo push on two fronts: 1. I'll take a sw mongo push any day over one of the many, many kids that do some sort of uncoordinated sideways half-dab switch push solely for the sake of saying they are pushing switch. 2. If its good enough for Gino, Koston & Carroll...

-Dan Jackson

Anonymous said...

I should also add I won't counter any of Rob's other listed offenses. Note a good rule of thumb that if you happen to be wearing shorts, a proper impossible should take a little leg hair off your shin.

-Dan Jackson

Andrewpaulsen said...

easy on the dogflips sissi!!! want put a buck on one?