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Our View: Friendships forged at home lift Majerus to X Games medal

July 19, 2017

The path of a supportive friendship is a winding one. You wouldn’t imagine, for example, that a crew of street skateboarders would find themselves honored guests in the front row of U.S. Bank Stadium to help a friend, but this past weekend, that’s what happened.

With the X Games, the biggest competition stage for extreme sports, in his backyard and expectations mounting, pro skateboarder and Rochester native Alec Majerus made sure he had his friends along for the ride. The energy they lent him was a major factor to his silver medal finish.

“I was nervous, but the cheering overpowered my nerves with excitement,” said Majerus.

During the finals Saturday, with Mobb Deep’s “Survival of the Fittest” echoing through the stadium and his supporters cheering wildly, Majerus exploded onto the X Games street course with big, floaty flip tricks and unique lines. In skateboarding, originality is paramount, and Majerus’ run had that quality; his transfer to frontside boardslide down the handrail stood out to aficionados.

He ended his first run with a colossal backside flip (a 180-degree rotation with a full flip of the board) over the faux-Viking shipwreck, a trick he’d teased on Instagram earlier in the week. The crowd erupted upon touchdown, led in enthusiasm by Majerus’ section.

The judges gave him an 88.66, which stood as his best score of the day.

It’s a moment that will live forever in skateboarding lore, but had it not been for his friends and community, Majerus might not have had the support he needed.

“We just needed an uplifting moment with all of our bros; it’s so cool having this in the hometown, having all the boys come, get together,” said skater and longtime friend of Majerus Dakota Edward VanDemmeltraadt.

Their presence was a testament to strong bonds forged not in moments under lights, cameras, and action, but to supporting each other throughout a lifetime.

After graduating from high school in 2013, much of the crew moved into a one-bedroom apartment in California. While Majerus focused on his pro career, the rest of the crew got jobs and cleared the rest of their schedules for skating. It’s a legendary setting in the Rochester skate scene, and one recognizable to any kid who’s imagined living a skate rat lifestyle.

“That was the dream when we were kids, just move to California and skate,” said Torkelson.

“We let them go,” said Pam Sullivan, mother of skater Ben Sullivan. “They were good kids. They were following their dreams. And that what’s we wanted them to do.”

It may seem strange that those dreams brought a pack of soul-skating street rippers back home to a football stadium, but then again, these guys yell “Culpepper Moss!” whenever they successfully toss anything to one another. Maybe they’ve been destined the whole time for the center of a Vikings football stadium filled with fans.