It’s been difficult for me to find the words to describe Blading Cup and the significance of its tenth celebration. It’s an emotional one, more so than previous years. All of us have been in our own bubbles, isolated from the larger community than we’re accustomed to. What I’ve heard repeatedly from attendees was this year’s Blading Cup was markedly different in vibe. No one I spoke to could pinpoint a palpable reason.
I thought about this for longer than I should have (obviously). Blading Cup for me felt like a celebration of what we missed in our time away. The attendance and charged atmosphere were more akin to Winterclash. I couldn’t walk through the crowd without running into someone from every chapter of my twenty four years on rollerblades. That’s not an insignificant number and I imagine others felt that way as well. That’s how many friends and skaters over your lifetime? How many times getting kicked out of a spot, that ‘one more try’ guy you want to see land that trick, playing pranks and talking smack, being weirdos in a parking lot at 8 at night? For me, that’s countless years (your milage may vary).
In the absence of once a year events like Blading Cup, we learned to appreciate just seeing each other regularly locally. Covid made strange bedfellows of us all. I found myself skating with people I didn’t get to regularly see, new bladers, older bladers returning after years away, quad to blade converts, and quad skaters. Local meet ups here in Los Angeles have felt more inclusive than I can recall. Rollerblading is finally ready to start playing nice with other sports and trends again. That’s a unique revelation to have during the slow reassurance that’s been bubbling. It’s my hope that going into the coming new year we maintain that momentum.
Now before that happens, let me drop this before 2022 already. <3