Words and Photos | Jonathan Labez | @JMLabez

Writing for day II of Winterclash leads straight into an impasse. I could write about the manic energy, the number of groups that came into the pop up studio (Europeans clustered to capture that moment in time than Americans at Blading Cup who oft took individual portraits), or if you caught Day I of Faces of Winterclash, yearning for the days when we can return to this venue to celebrate with the people we hold dear. What I could say, I’ve said in our coverage of Winterclash 2020. So what now?

I have a string of thoughts about our community just scanning through the pop up studio photos.

When you get your favorite people together to celebrate your favorite pastime and add beer, the results are questionable, exuberant, and at times, outlandish. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Winterclash is like taking football hooligans at a match and holding it at Burning Man.

Age is irrelevant. Young and old or just plain middle of the road, there is no age to start and stop blading. We are young at heart if you consider this is just a fancy form of playtime. You look at the world and wonder, “How can I enjoy myself on this object using wheels on my wheel?”

Community is the core of our sport’s identity. We might solo session during the confines of our quarantine, but rollerblading is very much a group activity with an individualized component. You can session by yourself, but you certainly aren’t enjoying it as much without your friends. How much do you miss sessioning with your friends right now? More than you thought before the pandemic I’m sure.

Considering there are only two or three major competitions in the world, we are willing to make long pilgrimages to be part of something bigger than ourselves.

In that same vein, Winterclash (I might argue) is akin to visiting mecca for rollerblading. You need experience it once in your lifetime. Ask anyone about their first time adventure and why they keep or would keep going back.

Whenever the next Winterclash is held, I have a sneaking suspicion all that pent up lockdown energy is going to come out. Here’s something to look forward to!

Email Jonathan.Labez@Be-mag.com for high resolution copies of your photos.

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