International tastemaker, former Sal Barbier employee and affable guy-on-the-couch TV guest star Jason Dill is in the messageboard headlines again, only this time for skate tricks. It’s a departure for Dill, one of the most quotable/misquotable personalities in the biz, and who seems very much aware of it. What do you think, this is the third career renaissance for Jason Dill? Fourth? Would it be pointless hyperbole to submit Dill as the Madonna of useless wooden toydom? Does this site traffic in any other sort?
The cynical book is easy to make on Jason Dill, who could be perceived putting himself just far enough ahead of the pack when it comes to trick trends, outfit choices and various cultural movements to appear streets beyond the yellow-shirted nollie crooked grinders of the early ’00s or the energy drink-hatted ledge swirlers of our current age. His occasional mouthiness — witness this month’s Thrasher, “We axed the Scientologist and acquired two new ams” — marks him as something of a snob, which maybe he sort of is, but any and all of that stuff I feel like is balanced out by what’s just as obvious to anybody who’s followed Jason Dill for any period of time, and he basically lays out later on page 149: “as a fan of skateboarding myself…”
Whatever foibles he’s got it’s hard not to root for a dude who lugs around several suitcases full of skateboarding history and potpourri underneath that now-dormant afro puff, hitching his filming wagon to some long-forgotten H-Street dude’s section 20 years ago or seeming to wear a wrist cast as some type of fashion accessory. Whether or not I personally recognize or relish whatever references and insinuations he’s baking into his tricks, you appreciate the effort to bring something more nuanced to the table with one eye on the history books and the other kids who may or may not pick up on it.
Rightly or wrongly sometimes I get to wondering about how skating is different than or same as big-league sports like basketball or football, and professional fandom is part of this wondering. Like, does Johan Santana subscribe to the MLB network so he can Tivo Joe Mauer’s at-bats? Or does Brian Urlacher have a shelf of VHS tapes handy in case he feels like watching some games with the Fridge? Do basketballers discuss it in the locker room if some dude on another team made a glorious slam dunk? On our end how many pros you think went out and bought the DVD/begged for PMs on the Slap board when “Stay Gold” came out? How many dudes with pro shoes on the market right now could rattle off Mike Maldonado’s last trick in “Welcome To Hell”? Should it matter?