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By Robert E. Rinehart, Synthia Sydnor

Insider and outsider narratives at the essence of recent "extreme" activities

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When sponsors make suggestions or demands, without clearly defined parameters established through years of steady growth to fall back on, we are more susceptible to compromise. Compromise at a glance does not look like such a bad thing, but when it is compromise after compromise after compromise, eventually we run the risk of compromising away everything that we believed in. Skateboarding’s bastard offspring that had such lofty aspirations for the virtues of the alternative sports underground is now a sleek, high-powered, made-for-television machine.

What we may not be able to recover from is the effect of the mainstream media on our identity. Without the advantage of decades of history to establish ourselves, we are the most malleable of all of the alternative sports. That fact, combined with the huge following rollerblading’s unique accessibility has provided us, makes us a prime target for mainstream media eager to reach a new audience without losing an old one. Psychotic Rant 25 Since rollerblading was designed to infiltrate the mainstream, mainstream media is a necessary and valuable ally, but if the mainstream media is able to distort rollerblading’s image to such a degree that it no longer represents the ideals it was designed to promote, then what is the value in the exposure?

14. Mike Opalek, “The X Games,” Box 5(4), 1997. 15. “MTV [and, in sport, ESPN 2, at the least] is about the sound of American hot and American cool, about style and affect” (Benjamin R. Barber, Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism are Reshaping the World (New York: Ballantine Books, 1996): p. 10. Dropping into Sight 49 16. Cheryl L. Cole and Amy Hribar, “Celebrity feminism: Nike style post-Fordism, transcendence, and consumer power,” Sociology of Sport Journal 12(4), 1995: p. 362. 17.

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