How to spend $850k and alienate people | Simply Ranked

Plus: Jimmy Butler goes Xtreme, ASICS takes over NYC, Vans debuts a new shoe in... Roblox, and more.

How to spend $850k and alienate people | Simply Ranked

The definitive weekly ranking and analysis of all the skateboarding and other things online that I cannot stop consuming and how it makes me feel, personally.

How to spend $850k and alienate people

Rank: Blechh
Mood: 🤢🤮

Last August, the skateboarding community that built and maintained a local DIY skatepark in Martinsburg, West Virginia, celebrated the park's 10th anniversary with a public event and competition. Tim Pool, a noted far-right bigot and media personality who lives in a private compound in West Virginia and has made public proclamations about "taking over skateboarding," attempted to insert himself into the festivities.

Days before the event, Pool announced on Twitter that he was "committing $20,000 towards prizes at this local DIY skate jam best trick contest" and that "Richie Jackson will assist in judging" before noting, "I have done nothing to organize this and have no idea how it will even be possible."

According to a series of Instagram Stories shared by Martinsburg DIY local Chace Amos over the weekend, "This self-insertion was without the guidance or knowledge of the local skateboarders who led the DIY spot. To avoid possible negative attention that would be associated with Tim Pool, the money was refused, and Tim Pool was barred from attending the event by local skaters."

In the weeks after Pool's offer was spurned, the plot of land the DIY stands on, whose owner the locals were in communication with and "had permission to continue to use... for skating and minor obstacle development," was purchased by Will of The People Production LLC for $850,000. Who's behind Will of The People Production LLC? Tim Pool. A revelation that "devastated the Martinsburg skate scene."

I reached out to Amos over Instagram, who said he "learned that Tim Pool bought [the property] last year when it initially happened from locals who were in contact with the previous land owner. I showed up one day to skate, and [they] said that Tim bought the spot and that it was essentially the end of [it]."

Amos "was in disbelief... because how could he have bought it that quickly." Eventually, he found the documentation of the deed transfer online and "was astounded that the whole thing was true and nobody had made a statement for fear of Tim Pool siccing his followers on them."

"After buying the spot, nobody really saw [Pool] come there at all. He just pulled a stunt out of spite for us rejecting his unwarranted prize money. After learning he bought it, the locals stopped going for fear of a trespassing fine since Tim owns the land."

For his part, after Amos' Stories gained traction online, Pool said he "never banned anyone" and that "woke leftists" are "crying for no reason." He then claimed on Twitter, without evidence, that he offered the skate community 500k to go toward a new park on the property, which they somehow turned down even though it's Pool's land.

Shortly after Pool tweeted, "announcing an initial $50,000 investment into new skate obstacles and maintenence [sic] on my property in Martinsburg WV," money that would be "available to any local skater who wants to expand the skate area," they would "Just need to ask and we will get it done."

Whether the initial purchase of the property was some deluded attempt to ingratiate himself to the community or he did it out of spite, knowing it would be a blow to the local scene, one thing remains obvious; Pool is an absolute dipshit who doesn't get or respect skateboarding in the slightest.

Last August, his big, public, and unsolicited appeal to the local Martinsburg DIY scene was to throw cash at them and have Richie Jackson judge their anniversary contest. Richie Jackson! Pure, unadulterated loser behaviour. I've written about Pool in this newsletter too many times for my liking, and each time, his odious bigotry, rampant grifting, and abject kookery are the throughlines in everything he does.

He is so desperate to find any cultural purchase that he's willing to do, say, buy, sell, or destroy anything on the off chance it brings him attention. He is a hollow, hateful, repulsive person devoid of meaning beyond creating absolutely dreadful ideologically driven "content."

That's what needs to be emphasized in all of Pool's skateboarding-related dalliances — it's all a cover for or something to couch the bigoted, retrograde worldview he's steeped in and contributes to, as Cale, another Martinsburg local, would express to his community:

I realize that some of you who follow me have been skating with this person, and even helping generate content for his social media and website.

Ask yourself why someone with no ties to the local scene feels the need to co-opt events that real community members have worked hard on. Why does he feel the need to commandeer a diy spot that has been here for years?

If your response is that he's making the spot more accessible, you're ignoring his disgusting, very public attitude toward the lgbtq+ community as well as queer skaters who deserve our support, and would undoubtedly face discrimination when trying to skate a diy which has been open to all skaters for a long time.

Over Instagram, Cale told me, "To my knowledge, [Pool] hasn’t tried to limit access, but practically speaking, nobody wants to run the risk of running into him and whatever drama would come from that. And that’s speaking as a straight, cisgender man — I can only imagine how someone with an identity other than my own would feel."

Cale also thinks "the offer to pay for builds is bullshit..." and that "he’s just tweeting this stuff so that his followers get caught up in the drama of it, pushing the idea that the locals are stupid for turning down his offer for the contest prize and potential builds." Because, in the end, that's all any of this amounts to for Pool: content. A personal news cycle to post through and an excuse to rail against "the left" and remain relevant online. However, this must have been particularly embarrassing for him, as his immediate response to the news coming out was to employ the tired right-wing canard of suggesting your critics are pedophiles.

People's communities, livelihoods, and humanity are just a game to pathetic windbags like Pool. He thinks he's fomenting revolution when in reality, he's just an asshole with a microphone selling shit coffee. All he does is make life worse for the vulnerable as he poisons the minds of the gullible and takes their cash.

It's a sick irony — one that would probably be giving him too much credit to say was purposeful — that Pool purchased this property with his Will of The People Production LLC. The people didn't want him near their skatepark, so he bought it. The community rejected his bigotry, so he's trying to overrule them. He can't have his way, so he wants to enforce it against their will.

Crossover appeal

Rank: 1
Mood: 🏀🛹⚾🛹🏈


@JimmyButler with the assist to @nyjah and @Leticia Bufoni to get the double auto on the fan sign! #skateboarding #street #actionsports #xgamesventura @Miami HEAT #nba

♬ original sound - X Games

Jimmy Butler, the Miami Heat's resident emo, is apparently a fan of competitive skateboarding. Or just a fan of Leticia Bufoni and Nyjah Huston. Whatever it is, it certainly is something that an athlete and celebrity of Butler's stature made an effort to sit through an entire X Games contest, seemingly enjoyed it, and made his own little media moment out of it.

Is Butler an anomaly, or are there other big names out there who harbour some affection for the four-wheeled arts? Perhaps Shohei Ohtani is a big Rayssa Leal mark? Leon Draisaitl a Foy-boy? Could Russell Wilson be a connoisseur of Johnny Wilson's oeuvre?

Why not? I could see it. I'm sure high-level athletes from all sports can recognize and respect the ability of those from others. Things like Butler at the X Games and the increase of professional skateboarders throwing out ceremonial first pitches at MLB games are signs that skateboarding's popularity and influence are seeping deeper into the wider sports culture. Tony Hawk is no longer the only point of reference for those outside the bubble (though he is still number one).

While this is all still a surface-level acknowledgement, there could be a day when the mainstream starts to nerd out on skateboarding's minutia and its bench players. Maybe paparazzi catch Messi toting a Matt Beach The Firm board. Just picture it. I bet he'd ride Ventures.

Coping, blogging

Rank: 34
Mood: 😌

A certain kind of uncertainty rears its head when potential is assumed and ultimately unfounded. When you arrive somewhere with not just hope but determined avarice — what can be mine, will be mine — and then it does not become yours or even come near.

In skateboarding, sometimes one's eyes get bigger than one's abilities, which isn't a bad thing by any means and, in fact, is integral to one's continued progression. But not getting what you want still does, in fact, feel bad. Say, like when the spot, which by all other measures is functionally and aesthetically better than any other similar obstacle located near you, so you trekked out to the suburbs to skate it, is a lot harder than it looks.

It can feel like a personal slight to not get a trick on it, to have all of your advances and angles rejected, especially if you've succeeded before.


Before, *sigh*

It's enough to make one question oneself and the state of one's person. If the continued aches and pains are no longer a twinge of the future but a forever tender present, and the continued probability of clipping up seems limited at best.

However, it's all a matter of perspective, isn't it? One should be grateful for being humbled and for knowing where a limit lies because now the deficiencies are clear. Glowing, throbbing, and annoying as they are, but also something to be worked on. Small steps. Inch work.

Beyond the body and spiritual sulking, one generally does all this in the company of friends. What's better than struggling (and occasionally succeeding) with people you care about? It's like a lesser form of trauma bonding. The stiff back and sore legs that persist for days after are just memories of the good times had while performing badly.

Market capture (good)

Rank: 1
Mood: 👟👟

It's a savvy marketing move on ASICS' part to essentially scoop up the majority of the Late Night Stars crew. LNS' latest edit, LA 3, is replete with ASICS shoes on the feet of some of skateboarding's most exciting up-and-comers. In theory, it may seem a bit blunt to sponsor an entire friend group, but in practice, the Japanese footwear giant now has a solid grip on a very much in-demand demographic: cool New York City kids.

According to Free Skate Mag, LA 3 serves as a bit of a teaser for the new ASICS video releasing next week. One assumes that'll be another Jacob Harris joint, snagging his talents another strong move by the company. Kudos to ASICS brand manager Kaspar Van Lierop for laying out and executing a legitimately engaging marketing strategy.

It's still too early to say whether this has or will pay off in dollars and business sense, but at least for now, as an audience, we're spoiled.

Become a skateboarding legend

Rank: 2.o
Mood: 👟🎮

Speaking of the bold marketing strategies of shoe companies, Templeton Elliot of the Mostly Skateboarding podcast sent this gem over earlier in the week.

Vans footwear has once again partnered with Roblox, the incredibly popular (and predatory) video game platform, to create "Vans World 2.0." This comes three years after the release of "Vans World," which allowed players to rip around a digital House of Vans as a hotdog wearing Skate-Hi's or whatever.

In 2.0, players "[h]ang out with iconic pro skater Lizzie Armanto" and navigate Roblox simulacra of LA, Tokyo, and France. Why a city such as Paris is not chosen as opposed to a generalized "France" is unclear. Whatever the case, the game only wants what's best for you, which is to "become a skateboarding legend." Hell yes. Interestingly, the game description also notes a novel in-game item available for purchase: "Grab the new Mixxa shoe - the first shoe released on Roblox before it’s available in real life."

Is this also savvy marketing? Depends on who you're marketing to. Recent data shows that as of the first quarter of 2024, 32.1 million of Roblox's 77 million daily active users were 13 years old and under. That's a lot of kids who may very well be into the IRL version of the Mixxa, a shoe that looks like it was designed for children. Roblox players are already conditioned to make in-game purchases, so suggesting they make similar out-of-game purchases makes sense if that's the shit you're into as a marketeer.

It is fascinating, though. Roblox has created a whole digital "world" around a shoe brand. In the lore of "Vans World 2.0," you'd have to assume that since it is Vans' world, the corporate behemoth has annexed its playable locations, uniting them under a waffle banner. Considering their global, obviously imperialist expansion, they are likely an oppressive power, one to rage against. A Roblox revolution lies in wait. Off The Wall? More like Off With Their Heads.

Something to consider:

‘More horrific than Abu Ghraib’: Lawyer recounts visit to Israeli detention center
At Sde Teiman, Khaled Mahajneh found a detained journalist unrecognizable as he described the facility’s violent and inhumane conditions.

Lobbyist thing:

Meet the lobbyists connected to Canada’s federal party leaders
An exclusive IJF network analysis helps reveal just who knows whom in Ottawa

Good thing: Skatefolio with some great Don Luong bloggin'.

Don Luong’s All Time 10
We asked Don Luong to rank his 10 favorite clips he’s ever filmed and share the stories behind them.

Another good thing: The pals at Village Psychic asked Kevin Long to "repeat that." Subscribe to their Patreon to get the goods.

Screengrab from Can You Repeat That? with Kevin "Spanky" Long

A good old-timey boxing thing:

Fourth of July fight fiasco: How a Jack Dempsey title bout KO’d a tiny Montana town’s finances
The July 4, 1923, heavyweight title fight between Jack Dempsey and Tommy Gibbons in Shelby, Montana, stands out as one of the most economically disastrous events in boxing history.

Until next week… touch grass. No, seriously. Find yourself a patch of grass, sit down and relax. Lay back. Look into the blue draped in wisps of white. Close your eyes. Let the world surround you and become you. Forget about your phone. Work. Hold onto this moment. Take it with you when you leave.

Laser Quit Smoking Massage

NEWEST PRESS, available April 1, 2024


My new collection of essays is available now. I think you might like it. The Edmonton Journal thinks it's a "local book set to make a mark in 2024." The CBC called it "quirky yet insightful." lol.

Book cover by Hiller Goodspeed.

Order the thing

Right, Down + Circle



I wrote a book about the history and cultural impact of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater that you can find at your local bookshop or order online now. I think you might like this one, too.

Here’s what Michael Christie, Giller Prize-nominated author of the novels Greenwood and If I Fall, If I Die, had to say about the thing.

“With incisive and heartfelt writing, Cole Nowicki unlocks the source code of the massively influential cultural phenomenon that is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and finds wonderful Easter-eggs of meaning within. Even non-skaters will be wowed by this examination of youth, community, risk, and authenticity and gain a new appreciation of skateboarding’s massive influence upon our larger culture. This is my new favorite book about skateboarding, which isn’t really about skateboarding — it’s about everything.”

Photo via The Palomino.

Order the thing