To Compete or Not To Compete?

That is the question. Last month’s First Words hinted at the subject, but the idea of “competition” in skateboarding should be grilled on its own. The notion of competitive spirit in skateboarding has long been frowned upon, not only because it suggests a jock mentality (a definite no-no), but also because it’s the exact opposite of individuality-a big reason why we started skating in the first place.

But riddle me this: If competitiveness equals a shit attitude, why is it okay for skateboarders to be so competitive with themselves? Undoubtedly, you’ve seen the temper tantrums in videos-hell, Heath Kirchart, AVE, and Kerry Getz have their very own board-chucking parts. One could argue that self-competitiveness helps boost you to that next level, it makes your bag of tricks that much baggier. Even so, I’d like to have a chat with the person who wrote that rule, because if you’re allowed to push yourself, why not push your skate posse to broaden their bag of tricks, too?

Then there are actual contests, where competition is in the back of everyone’s heads (that, and the $100,000 purse). This is a weird one, because the contest results are somewhat misleading. With no disrespect to Sheckler, Bastien, or P-Rod, contest skaters don’t have guys like Reynolds, Daewon, or PJ as competition. Why? Because they choose not to enter. Why? Well, partly because they don’t like the competitive nature of contests.

So what’s the answer then: To compete or not to compete? That’s something you’ll just have to answer on your own.-Carleton Curtis