Blades of Plastic
Rollerblading has been around for over 20 years now, but it started as much more a rollerskating alternative than a “sport” as it’s now sometimes referred to as. Much like skiing is to snowboarding, it sought to make a less-than-fresh general concept into a hip new lifestyle choice that hopefully made your parents mad or at least confused.
Much like how aspirin is a generic term in America but trademarked aggressively in Canada, or how LEGO sends cease and desist letters to anyone who dares to non-capitalize the entire word or who makes the sin of pluralizing it, Rollerblades are actually a trademark. The proper term, as you’ve assuredly already heard at some point is “in-line skating”. But much as the Brits are dead set on using the term “Hoovering” to describe vacuuming (confusing most Cold War-era Americans into thinking they’re making some kind of slight towards J. Edgar Hoover), Rollerblading is very much a generic term these days.
in 1988, Rollerblade Inc. made what is known as an “Aggressive Inline Skate” for the first time, starting with their “Team Rollerblade Series”. This was not a skate designed to more smoothly roll across the living room and then beat your wife after your football team lost the first post-season game, but because they were meant to aggressively tackle terrain for sweet tricks and grinds. And like any good 80s-era company, Rollerblade made a VHS tape to go right alongside their initial product launch. This particular tape is from 1988 proper, and runs 120 minutes… however, it loops 6 times in this. This would indicate that it was likely meant to be exclusively a demo for sporting goods stores to play. 6 loops means less wear on both the tape and the VCR that has to play and rewind it. Shocking, I know.
Back of the box copy:
The Team, The Skate, The Sport
Presents the ultimate in thrilling in-line
skating action, complete with hot, rockin’
music and even a bit of humor. This
one-of-a-kind music/sports video,
featuring Team Rollerblade (R)
and other adventurous guests,
is a sure entertainment–
yes, even educational– experience
you’ll want to view again and again!”
And of course, you fully can if you really want the whole tape to run start to finish.
Although the video truly does mostly speak for itself given it’s a skating video and not and not a typical hard-to-fully-metabolize and symbolism filled Matthew McConnaughy romantic comedy, there are a few FUN HISTORICAL FACTS OF NOTE.
-According to the back of the box, Greg Stump, the director of this particular video, was also the director of “Blizzard of Aahhh’s, Maltese Flamingo, and The Good, The Rad, and the Gnarly”. Bodacious.
-Alex Cole, headlined in this video as “college campus comedian of the year” (simpler times, they were), is now the “voice of Geek Squad”. If you’ve ever seen a video loop or ad with some dude acting like he’s some head Geek Squad dude, it’s him. If you were to try and connect the dots how his performance on this video would lead to working as an actor for a megacorp, I can’t help but imagine it’d be at least 300 pages wide.
-Neon green short tops and pink shorts are still just about the hottest way a woman can dress, as evidenced by several recent scientific studues.
-Using ski poles on the highway, even while wearing aggressive in-line skates is generally not recommended.
-Neither is using windsurfing sails in parking lots, unless you want to risk getting arrested for public looking stupid as hell.
-Could make a man of you.
-Please be advised that jumping over a BMW full of hot ladies is only advisable if you put a ramp next to their car first. Which is kind of difficult to do at a stoplight.