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.

Watch DEATH OF ANALOG: Rollerblade- The Team, The Skate, The Sport

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