By Robert E Rinehart Synthia Sydnor
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Extra resources for To the Extreme: Alternative Sports, Inside and Out
Inline skating by itself already had a lot going for it; it was fast, fun, athletic, graceful, and easy to learn. On just its intrinsic qualities alone, rollerblading would have gone far. It was destined to permeate every middle- to upper-class household in the world. But I saw an even greater opportunity in rollerblading. As long as there was a vehicle that was capable of inﬁltrating mainstream culture on such a major scale, why not project some not so intrinsic qualities onto it and try to affect mainstream culture?
I predicted this. And I prepared for it. By the time I discovered inline skates, when I was sixteen, I had already long since deﬁned myself as a skateboarder. I was young and full of energy and aggression, so the physical act of skateboarding became my outlet for that. But what really drew me to skateboarding was its deﬁance. I loved how skateboarding was counterculture, how it criticized society and challenged convention—not just through the act of skateboarding, but by creating its own society, complete with its own language, its own music, and its own magazines.
More than any other action sport, rollerblading is prepared to accommodate this inﬂux of new participants. Of all of the action sports, skateboarding, freestyle bmx, and rollerblading have the most mainstream potential because they can all be used for transportation and they can be used anywhere, unlike action sports such as surﬁng or snowboarding, which require an ocean or a mountain. Of all the “big three,” rollerblading has the most mainstream potential because it is the easiest, and it has the most user-friendly image.