Festivus: Damn Am / YBAm Awards
Words: Rob Brink
The Skateboard Mag May 2010
One of the coolest things about The Skateboard Mag and Skatepark of Tampa’s YBAm / Damn Am awards is the fact that you might actually win (or get nominated for) an award that you don’t want to win. Like … that’s soooo cool. Seriously, how often does that happen in life? Being scared to win an award? So awesome.
Just imagine you’re sitting there at Tum Yeto Headquarters in San Diego during the infamous bi-annual ASR/Crossroads week, amongst hundreds of rowdy skaters, industry peers and friends gunning for the “night of their lives;” with a buttload of cameras rolling and everyone and their mother with itchy Twitter fingers, and you hear Brian Schaefer, in all of his scratchy-voiced, Natural Light-buzz-induced glory, shouting, “Okay, so up next is the “Never Gonna Win” award!”
And then droves of drunk people cheer for a moment …
“Uh oh, I hope that’s not me” is probably a thought that runs though a more than a few people’s minds.
I mean, if there’s ever an award you don’t want to win, it’s gotta be the “Never Gonna Win” award, right?
Well, come to think of it, last year’s “Most Annoying” award, won by Chris Troy, could possibly rank as the number-one award you don’t ever want to win. But let’s worry about this year for now because last year is soooo last year.
Contrary to most award show-type scenarios, it almost seems like being announced runners-up for the “Never Gonna Win” award, like Marius Syvanen and Abdias Rivera were, is a blessing compared to actually being the recipient of the award, as Ben Gore was. Congrats, Ben! According to “the industry,” you’re never gonna win!
Thank God some people still have a sense of humor these days.
But come to think of it, we’ve all heard the story of the ‘ol “Tampa Am curse.” Some might say you gotta avoid that one for sure. In that case, “never gonna win” could be a good thing. One less thing Ben, Marius and Abdias have to worry about.
There was also a time, long, long ago, when “winning” and skateboarding weren’t always words that belonged in a sentence together. People were often heard saying things like “Yeah, I don’t really care if I win. I just want to have fun.” Or, “Skateboarding isn’t about winning, its about having a good time” and things of that light-hearted, motivational, inspirational nature. I mean, yeah, maybe when it was Hawk vs. Hosoi vs. Gator vs. Lance vs. Cab in the early 80s or whatever … there was some friendly rivalry, but for the most part, skateboarding has never been about “winning.” Dare we throw out the “isn’t that part of what makes it cool” cliché? But it’s true.
Quite frankly, these days, skateboarding could use a bit more niceness and smiling and hugs and sensitivity. Which, in my opinion, makes Theotis Beasley’s award—Best Attitude—the most admirable of the evening. And it seems to be working for him. Take note, kiddies. Get off the message boards and back on your skateboards.
So congrats, Theo, for being amazing! And congrats Luan and Tyler, for winning the entire year of 2009. And congrats Ben and everyone who won an award—whether you wanted to win or not—you earned it!
• Team Manager of the Year: Rodney Johnson
• Most Improved: Shawn Hale
• Just for Showing Up: Caesar Fernandez
• Zumiez Overall Destroyer: Clint Walker
• Tampa Am Winner: Luan Oliveira
• Damn Am of the Year: Luan Oliveira (1st place Damn Am Costa Mesa and 1st place Tampa Am)
• The Skateboard Mag’s YBAm: Tyler Bledsoe
• Never Gonna Win: Ben Gore - Runner-ups: Marius Syvanen, Abdias Rivera
• CanadiAm: T.J. Rogers
• EurOK: Youness Amrani
• Done Growed Up: David Loy
• Better Hardflip Than You: Lacey Baker
• Pro Before You Know: Nick Merlino
• Mad Snaps: Luis Tolentino
• Little Big Man: Louie Lopez
• Came Out of Nowhere: Mark Suciu
• Best Attitude: Theotis Beasley
• Most Entertaining: Andrew Cannon
• Best Black Dude: Norman Woods
• Best Mexican: Paul Flores
• Gratitude Award: C.J. Tambornino
• You Choked: Mike Thompson
• Winner of Every Practice: Evan Smith