by Jeffrey Schmid
No matter where you go, or what you do, it seems impossible to avoid… Sheckler hate. You’ve heard it at the local skate plaza, your favorite boardshop, and in your friend’s basement. It’s cool to hate on Ryan Sheckler. But why? Has this talented young man really wronged you? Let’s jump into this…
First of all, there are a lot of Ryan Sheckler fans out there… about one million teenage girls and myself. However, I rarely come across another actual skateboarder who is a fan. There are two pieces of Sheckler hate propaganda that these skaters love to use:
1) He acts like a “pansy” on his TV show.
2) He is not a legit skater.
The TV show is of course “Life of Ryan” which aired on MTV. The “reality” show followed Ryan around through contrived situations as he made his ascent to the top of the skateboard world. He is constantly ridiculed for complaining and acting like a baby on the show, especially when it comes to personal issues and his parents’ divorce. Even though the show was cheesy at times, I couldn’t disagree more. Considering Ryan was in his mid-teens when the majority of the show was filmed, I found his “friends and family first” attitude to be extremely commendable. In fact, he often acted much more mature and rational than his parents when it came to their family issues. The show also did a good job of portraying Ryan’s undeniable commitment to skateboarding. Yes, Ryan’s life is full of multi-million dollar endorsement deals and rockstar-like status, but he continues to focus on the one thing that got him there in the first place… SKATE LIFE.
So how about Ryan Sheckler the skateboarder? Well you’re right, he doesn’t do a lot of switch tricks. In fact, he skates a lot like someone else who didn’t do a lot of switch tricks… Jamie Thomas, a skateboarding legend. Yep, just like Jamie used to, Ryan spends his days flipping over 17-stair sets, charging at big rails, and pushing the envelope of transition skating. If there are any doubts about what Ryan can do on a skateboard, have a look at the video below… and make sure you get a look at the last trick. Putting your life on the line for something that you love is not something a “sellout” does… it’s something a skateboarder does.
I guess what I’m saying is this… Ryan is street skateboarding’s first ambassador to the outside world, and we could definitely do a lot worse.
When not writing for the Alli Expression Session, Jeffrey can be found standing sideways on wood somewhere in Western Canada, or contributing to his own action sports blog, streetjesus.net.