Back in 1997 during the X-Games, Nike launched a series of irony-laden commercials with the tag line ‘What if we treated all athletes like skateboarders’.
If you’ve never seen these ads or if you don’t know what a YouTube is then allow me to describe an edited version for you. An officer walks in berating a group of mixed doubles tennis players trying to get in a night game of tennis.
He asks ‘Do you see the sign?’
Large print has a ‘No Tennis’ sign on the wall. The net has a sign that reads ‘Tennis Prohibited’.
Then the officer turns to ask one couple what they’re doing. At that precise time the other couple drops their racquets! And high tails it to the fence! “Run Ashley!” yells their partner in crime. But it’s too late.
The officer says “Hey! Where do you think you’re going?”
Now the image of the couple (mid 50s) hanging on the fence like criminals, I’ve never been able to get out of my head.
Nike, had two other ads for the campaign. One was about golf the other running. The punch line was ‘What if we treated all athletes like skateboarders’.
Fast-forward 14 years, and skateboarders are treated like any other athlete. At the fourth annual Shake The Lake competition in Sylvan Lake last weekend, skateboarders and BMX riders competed to see who would win prizes of up to $1,000.
Yes it’s hard for many to fathom that doing tricks on your skateboard or bike could have you walking away with that kind of money. But this is the world we live in. And a prize draw of a $1,000 is no joke.
“We had riders from Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick this time around,” said Sean McIntyre with Shake the Lake.
The BMX Open winner was Will Fisher of Ontario. Other winners for the BMX competition included Anthony Zinc who resides in Blackfalds.
And the Young Gun (13 and under) winner was Carson Donovan.
On Sunday, Dustin Henry took the honour of winning the skateboarding open. The Amateur winner was Chance Hilderbrand and the Young Gun winner was Clayton Popow.
Who can’t remember a world where skateboarders were treated as hooligans?
Clayton, being a young gun under 13 years, was born after those Nike ads first aired.