Relationships are an interesting thing. The relationship somebody may have with skateboarding and snowboarding could be that of a total escapist activity. But, what would that perspective be flipped if skating and snowboarding were your job. In that event, would you still enjoy waking up at 6 am to go ride? Instead of waking up at 6 to go release yourself from the daily grind going to the slopes would be the daily grind. Maybe, maybe not, it all comes down to perspective and maybe that's a better way to give an overall sense of what we are looking at: perspective and relationships. This all stems from few years ago when I was running Lat34's editorial team. I thought an interesting story would be to interview the growing ranks of born again christian's in action sports. As with everything in that company it was shot down and we were left doing some event coverage. It might have been extreme para wake bungee jumping or something equally lame. However, the idea has always remained in the back of my head as to why athletes, celebrities and others suddenly embrace faith.
This is a topic that generally creates plenty of spirited debate (pun intended) and with a movie forthcoming I thought it would be interesting to bring up. The idea of being passionate about religion, to be very honest, scares me not from the "I trust blindly in my faith" but more from an "I'm a little too passionate" perspective. Now one guy I know who has been a longtime Christian is the skater Lance Mountain and I'm very curious as to how he became involved in the church. The main reason being he was in it before it was the movement of the moment. What draws an icon from the 80's hey day of skating into the church?
One Year Trailer Snowboarding & Christianity
The theory I have about this movement from a global level (whether it's artist, celebrity, skater or snowboarder) is very simple: if you lived out of a suitcase for 3/4's of the year your life would be pretty empty. Skating, snowboarding, music or whatever only get you so far. With this emptiness comes a big void and more than likely a lack in normalcy, whatever that means anymore. But think about this: how do these riders relate to people in the world when your job is flying out of half pipe and more importantly how do you cope when you are no longer on the top of your game? When youa re number 1 suddenly not making top 3 is big blow to the ego but it happens to everybody over time. It's not that big of a stretch for them to say 'I'm going to devote all my passion for skating and riding into believing in the lord." Because of this new found passion a rider or skater no longer has to believe in himself. Now they have a larger belief system to latch onto. Possibly because they never had the social interactions to build a system of ideals and beleifs of their own. It's important to stress: this isn't a bad thing. Some people need a helping hand in finding their personal true north.
The larger factor to take into consideration is that if they are happy, healthy, riding and skating then Christianity is a welcome addition into the world of action sports. If they provide places to skate or do good works through outreach then hey...even better. I can deal with a little god if it does some good things. Eventually though I do come back to the words of John Lennon
"I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong."
Then again he also said the Beatles were bigger than Christianity so that was probably a bad example. Oh well, we're supposed to forgive and forget right?