Spaghetti squash or bushings? | Simply Ranked

Plus: USA Skateboarding's deficiencies, a handsome alternative to running for local office, Fred Gall, and more.

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

Heaven is a knee-high embankment

Rank: 1
Mood: 😇

Small banks, big banks, little slides, lengthy stalls, and a few ledge tricks for flavour—this is everything that’s ever needed in a Fred Gall video part, and we get a healthy eight-minute serving in his latest, Spiritual Healing. It’s imperfect, sometimes plodding and repetitive, but is that not what we love about the man himself? The everyman appeal and evident passion for riding his skateboard among the dirt and crust coalesce into the folk hero mythology we’ve built around him.

It’s also the perfect formula for career longevity as Gall pushes deeper into his 40s. I will adoringly watch this man noseblunt stall in a three-foot-tall ditch for as long as he wants to keep capturing and sharing them. Will his eternally beloved status help make Metal Skateboards a viable business, unlike the first go-around? That remains to be seen, but whatever keeps him rolling around this beautiful, crumbling planet of ours, I’m for it.

“D” for Deficient

Rank: Last

Brink rang the alarm, but were we listening? Not really. We were busy watching the new Fred Gall part. But, oh boy, he wasn’t wrong. The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s (USOPC) recent National Governing Body (NGB) audit found that USA Skateboarding has a pretty serious problem following the rules.

The report’s executive summary states, “Overall, Audit concluded that USA Skateboarding has only met 12 of the 48 compliance standards evaluated. There were also a number of significant concerns raised during the review, including athlete representation, conflicts of interest, USOPC funding, athlete safety, and managerial capabilities.”

Download the report by clicking here.

From not recording or posting their board meeting minutes, never meeting the required 33% athlete representation on the board itself, having their tax-exempt status revoked by the IRS (USA Skateboarding has since filed for reinstatement), not having an available board-approve conflict of interest policy, or even submitting their last annual report on time—that’s a heavy selection of compliance standards that USA Skateboarding has failed to meet, and those are just from the “Governance & Compliance” section alone.

USA Skateboarding is deficient across the entire “Financial Standards and Reporting Practices” category.

Some of those findings include:

USA Skateboarding provided per diem to staff members in excess of the days they traveled.
There is no evidence that financial reports were provided to the board in 2021.
There is no documentation a 2021 budget was completed, and the 2022 budget did not receive approval at the start of the fiscal year.
USA Skateboarding has no audited financial statements for 2019 and 2020.
USA Skateboarding has not provided a copy of its audited financial statements for 2019 and 2020. The IRS Form 990 for the last 3 years was completed after the IRS deadline. Additionally, USA Skateboarding has not provided its board-approved budget for the past three years.

When it comes to “Athlete Protections and Rights,” USOPC found that the US Center for SafeSport “was unable to conduct an audit in 2021 due to multiple last-minute cancellations by USA Skateboarding management” and that multiple board members, employees, athletes, contractors, judges and committee members either did not have background checks done or did not have to renew their background checks.

In overall “Operational Performance,” USOPC found “significant concerns with managerial capability and board governance,”  including USA Skateboarding’s CEO being removed “from financial control after receiving a letter of concern and a suspension of funding letter from the USOPC.” The CEO would eventually get the boot from the organization.

On top of that, another series of findings concluded that USA Skateboarding had incomplete grievance filing and hearing procedures, no board-approved  whistleblower policy, overall strategic plan, or equal opportunity policy, and the organization did not provide any anti-discrimination training to staff.

All of that makes you wonder what, if anything, USA Skateboarding has been doing all of this time. Because whatever it is, this doesn’t give the impression that it’s been very good.

Handsome and obedient

Rank: TBD
Mood: 🐕🥇

For former professional athletes, a post-athletics pursuit is essential. Life is long and can take one down many new roads, so why not focus your energies on a new challenge to keep that competitive fire burning? For noted slugger Barry Bonds, that has been working to make his handsome schnauzer Rocky the Best in Show. Since his batting average is of little use at Westminster, he’s had a whole new mountain to climb and a passion project to keep him occupied, one where his actions, say, don’t affect the lives of an entire city populace.

Mikey Taylor, former professional skateboarder and current business person, announced last week that he’s running for city council in Thousand Oaks, California. In a recent video posted to his @mikeytaylorcitycouncil Instagram account, he asks, “can government be run like a business?” That old chestnut. He goes on to describe how after using the online portal to fill out the forms required to get his name on the ballot, he was asked by the city how the application process went and if he could provide any feedback.

“Thank you so much; this is so valuable.” The folks from the city allegedly gushed after Taylor and his team noted some areas of potential improvement. In the video, he explains that as a man of business, he’s constantly looking for ways to “improve our product, service, or experience,” so he “always picks up on these things.” That, Taylor continues, is the “lens” he’d bring to city council to “create more efficiency and bring costs down.” He then leaves us with a question that feels more like an self-endorsement backed up by the cold hard facts of his anecdote about streamlining an online portal that only a handful of people ever use, “Do you think it would be good to have an entrepreneur in office?”

I think it’d be good if Taylor focused that entrepreneurial lens on the less civic-minded but no less fulfilling venture of making dogs handsome and obedient for prizes. Beyond satiating that competitive desire, just think of all of the ways to improve the product, service, or experience of dog shows that Taylor could suggest. Maybe the winners get digital prize ribbons emailed directly to their inboxes to save on the cost of production of real ones, or how about a big vacuum that decends from the arena ceiling to suck up any errant doggy doo-doo? The possibilities for an entrepreneur to enact positive change in this community are endless.

A most threatening, inhospitable embankment

Rank: 1
Mood: 🪡

Mariah Duran’s “Rapa Nui” video part, which debuted on Thrasher this past Wednesday, is another excellent offering featuring banks big and small (but mostly scary big). Duran also showcases an ever-expanding skillset of tech moves, kinked handrail grinds, and one exceptionally large hardflip. Still, the multi-story, double-black diamond embankments stuck out the most. There’s nothing quite like reaching maximum velocity and having to thread a most threatening, inhospitable needle.

Spaghetti squash or bushings?

Rank: 2
Mood: 🍝🍠

As skateboarding continues to grow at a rapid clip, it’s only natural that we take note of certain parts of the culture that could use some updating to make them more accommodating as our ranks swell. One thing, in particular, that hasn’t changed at all since its inception is the product toss.

The scene is always the same; a large group of kids are smushed together during a demo and then get soft and hard goods thrown at their heads. While exciting—because who doesn’t love the opportunity to get a free shirt that’s three sizes too small—what would really amp up the excitement level is throwing out product with a more universal appeal. Something that someone of any size or ability can use: food.

Whether it’s pizza, cookies, spare ribs, whatever—who doesn’t love a good snack? Especially after baking in the sun and watching skateboarding for hours on end. Imagine sitting in the grass with your friends eating the kielbasa Brandon Westgate just hurled at you, or the bag of Swedish Berries that Beatrice Domond dropkicked in your general direction. How cool would that be? What’re you going to do with a free set of bushings? Nothing. What’ll you do with the spaghetti squash that Karsten Kleppan rolled into the centre of your friend group like a grenade? Eat the shit out of it.

Something to consider: Security drones are also lil manual pads.

Good things: Wrasslin’ with your buds.

Until next week… remember to stretch. And floss. Also, sending postcards while on vacation is nice.