Action Sports, the Underdog?

By Kat Elsea

After reading Mr. Derek Egbert’s post on the fan-friendly aspects of supercross, I thought it was a great segue into a post that had already been stewing in my brain for some time. While I certainly agree that supercross and motocross feature some of the most appreciative athletes around, I also think that the topic can be expanded into saying that all action sports athletes are amazingly appreciative of their fans. It’s one of the aspects of action sports that I find remarkable, and why I find it so deplorable that they are not given their due credit.

Most of the time, I hear a lot about the traditional team sports. On the news, in magazines and newspapers, on the Internet. So much attention is given to football, basketball, baseball seasons. Even golf gets quite a legion of supporters.

Don’t get me wrong, team sports have some good athletes, but I personally don’t see much about action sports in the media, save for X-Games and, of course, Dew Tour.

To me, action sports are underrated. There’s a lot of hype about team sports, about the competitiveness of the athletes, the amount of teamwork they display, and the epic manliness that is necessary for a successful athletic body. Sure.

Action sports athletes, though, have a lot of those same qualities. They’re definitely competitive, they keep themselves in top form, and while they may not be part of teams per se, they support one another—just try following the likes of Ryan Nyquist, Jamie Bestwick, and PLG on Twitter, especially if you enjoy a little friendly smack-talk.

I think Travis Pastrana said it best when describing what it really meant to be an action sports athlete. I can’t remember the exact quote, but it comes from the fourth Nitro Circus film, Lock N Load, for anyone who cares to find it. It was originally in reference to his double backflip attempt at X-Games, about all the things that could go wrong in the air. He mentions that if he has to bail out, he, like any other athlete facing a fall, would have a very important decision to make: which body part does he want to sacrifice? What part of his body hasn’t been broken recently? Which one can be healed before his next competition?

It reminds me of Jeremy Stenberg’s Dew Tour fall in 2006 when he broke both his legs. Or Nate Adam’s broken femur. Or Brian Deegan’s ruptured spleen.

I can’t imagine having a job where my first concern is which body part do I break so that I can get back to competing as soon as possible.

But that’s what these guys do.

And they’re so nice, too. Every action sports athlete I’ve met—from Sheckler, Glifberg, and Bestwick, to Adams, Mason, and Nyquist—has been kind, generous, and appreciative of everything they have, most especially their fans.

So why don’t we see more of them in the media? In the last few years, Dew Tour has played a huge role in bringing action sports into more living rooms via television. Prior to the Tour, probably the only action sports event that was widely televised was X-Games. Not anymore. Leave it to Dew Tour to bring change and to remind the general public that there’s more to action sports than just bicycles and skateboards.

Kat Elsea is a recent college grad and a four-time Playstation Pro volunteer. She is now an intern for Alli Sports as the Festival Village Venue Manager for this summer’s Dew Tour. She’s an FMX girl through and through, but enjoys a nice double tailwhip when she sees one.

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One Response to Action Sports, the Underdog?

  1. derekegbert says:

    Nice post, Kat! I have thought about this a lot as to why action sports aren’t more popular. I mean, seriously, these sports are the coolest sports in the world because they are the perfect combination of athleticism, courage, and skill! As much as I can hope that any and all action sports will grow to a baseball or football-like size, I don’t think its ever going to happen, but I don’t think the sports are going to go away. There is something about action sports that many people just do not relate to…unless you have tried to jump a box jump on a bike, drop a 5-stair on your skateboard, or clear a 40 foot double on your dirt bike, you will have no idea how incredible the top action sports athletes really are. Most people aren’t into these sports because they don’t have the appreciation or understanding of how incredibly skilled the top guys are.

    I think the biggest growth in the world of action sports will come organically…all of the action sporters today will probably teach their kids how to ride and skate and instill in them a love for the sports which will cause some growth. Cool marketing campaigns and awesome events will also pull some growth and hopefully big personalities like Shaun White will help draw some more attention to our side of the fence where the grass really is greener!

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