Thursday, January 8, 2009
Superstars are important. They do amazing things, inspire us and attract the casual fan. Ideally they show off the best aspects of whatever they are doing. However, once you get into something, you start to realize that there is more to it than just the big names. There are talented individuals who make substantial contributions that go unnoticed by a lot of people. I'm a longtime Los Angeles Lakers fan. While it is easy to give all the credit for their three titles to Shaq and Kobe, anybody who is into basketball knows they didn't do it by themselves. Without guys like Robert Horry, Rick Fox and Derek Fisher, there wouldn't be a column on Crailtap called Ring Ring Ring. Unlike basketball, where a player can carve out a successful career as a clutch three point shooter or lock down defender, skateboarding is a little different. You are only relevant as long as you are on an NBA roster. Thankfully skateboarding doesn't have employment requirements. If you are ripping, you might wind up on the cover of Thrasher or in the intro to 411 (back when there was a 411 on VHS). Skateboarding has more room for the underdogs and the people who are doing it because they love it. This is where Curtis Hsiang comes in.
I was bummed when I found out Curtis had died. He might have been sponsored, but was never pro or anything. Not that it matters. The impression I got of him was that he was a good guy who was down for skateboarding. I really don't know all that much about him beyond what was in the mags. He'd have a photo here or an article there. He was friends with the Deluxe crew and would pop up in Anti - Hero videos from time to time. Curtis also made art, including these neat drawings that used white out on selected words from torn out pages from books. For as much as superstars like Eric Koston, Andrew Reynolds and Chris Cole have done for skateboarding, it is always good to see the little guys get in on the action, too. It keeps things grounded. Most skateboarders aren't sponsored and probably never will be. That's not important. Going skateboarding and hanging out with your friends is more important. That was the message that came through with Curtis.
Slap - April 2000 Volume 9 Number 4