Following events last weekend at the Fise contest, it brought a lot of issues to a head. It is time for the sport of Flatland to “grow up”. In so many ways.
The battle format has died, it promotes too much confrontation amongst the “egos” of the riders, and we all saw or heard about what can happen, also it has taken the level of riding down for whatever reason over the past few years. When I watched the park contest at Fise, the standard of riding was amazing!!! Everyone pushing their own level, debuting bangers for the first time! There was mutual respect between riders, and we have lost that! We need this back in the flatland scene!
The whole original point of the battle format, was to make flatland more exciting for the spectator, and sponsors, but I don’t see many sponsors jumping on board for flatland, and to be honest why would they?!. We have become stale, and it’s taking showmanship from the rider after the trick is completed (or not!) to get crowd applause, not the tricks in their own right. Are you a rider or a showman? What’s the message? We look desperate.
This issue of course is not a new one, it’s been going on for a while now, we as a sport almost seem to be begging to stay with the rest of BMX, we are willing to take anything, such as bad floors, judging for free whilst the rest of BMX get paid, arena too small, bad organisation, the list goes on. We are bottom of the pile in BMX, and the way to get back is to give the sport credibility, we can only do that by professional organisation, and starting to set standards like they have in World Cup skating. They started many years ago with Tony Hawk’s dad bringing in core basics, no money, etc, now look at them, every contest has to reach certain standards otherwise they don’t skate. They grew up.
Who of course will do that? That takes a lot! We can do the “small” things right to return to the bigger picture. We all love this sport. But we must have credibility.
Setting up international pool of judges to pick from, and judges to be scored on their work by an independent panel.
The absolute worst time for flatland is whenever there is a contest. That is a fact. Always the first question, was there any drama? Not who busted out? A similar drama repeats itself almost every contest without fail, peoples own agendas are allowed to dictate what goes on within the contest scene, time to squash that.
Contests in theory should be the best time, a celebration of the best and newest tricks. I can remember many years ago, only talking about new tricks returning from a contest. The numerous Worlds Championship contests will go down in history for all the right reasons. The jam sessions, the contest runs, you were on the edge of your seat!
We are an all-time low, right now. So now is the time to start again, get some basic rules and guidelines in place. An independent panel, to oversee the contest structure worldwide. Something needs to happen.
Part of the problem, is because there is very little money in flatland, everybody is scrambling like “rats” for a small piece of the pie. We are selling the Soul of flatland for that pie. It is understandable in some ways, (riders trying to make a living), but now is the time to take a look back, and make a change. Where’s the credibility gone? We can’t go any lower right now.
To make this clear, this is not about any individuals, this is about the sport!
Lets start again as a “collective”, and get serious about having fun!
Can we bring the real flatland back please!