March 18, 2012
As the years since the spot’s demise fly by, EMB alumni have traveled a myriad of paths. Captains of both the hardgood and softgood domains of the industry. Interesting NFL live-tweeters. Incarceration and varying degrees of vagabondery. Talent Managers extraordinaire. However, Greg Carroll took the most intriguing and least-hyped career path of all: life coach.
Life coaches, as a professional community, inhabit a space somewhere between Dr. Drew and that Al Franken “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it people like me” Saturday Night Live character. However, these professionals fulfill a niche for dudes who might not need clinical psychotheraphy, yet happen to be going through some shit. A positive voice. Shit they don’t teach you in college. Like some dude once told me, sometimes you gotta be like Tom Brady and slow the game down ‘n shit.
The one pro who I forsee possibly moving into the life coaching domain is Sacramento’s own Biebel, whose personal brand exudes a philosophy that, if fully adopted, would help anyone begin the long journey towards self-actualization. We will call this Biebelism, and this post will explore its many facets in an attempt to define one of the preeminent philosophies of the early 21st century. Frequent readers of this site will note that, in contrast to my usual rudimentary internet research, I conducted extensive research this time around–specifically, viewing every single video on the “biebelsworld” Youtube channel.
Fortunately, a lot of them are, like, nine seconds long.
First, though, if one is to trace the lineage of any philosophical movement, one must start at the roots. in terms of generations, Biebel blew up in that negative zone between the early Nineties EMB/World dudes and the Early 00’s uberkids (Paul Rodriguez, Eldridge). Another Sacramento native and positive thinker, Cardiel, is situated similarly, at the tail end of the Dogtown/ Steve Saiz miniramp era and the cataclysimic paradigm shift brought about by Questionable. Sacramento must be awesome as fuck—a reasonable assumption to make about a city whose top elected official once dunked on Hakeem Olajuwon.
Cardiel serves as Biebel’s hesh antecedent by modeling the quintessentially American value of versatility. As noted in his EL, Cardiel lives as an outdoorsman. A sportsman. Hunting. Fishing. American Traditions. While he does continue this tradition through frequent epic rope swings, Biebel transfers it to actual sports, in a macro “ESPN” sense. Indeed, the only sport of the Big Four in which he chooses not to participate is hockey. We knew of his basketball and arm wrestling prowess, but the dude also can WR and QB, has a killer backhand, and drives for 300+ yards.
All of the above encapsulates the first tenent of Biebelism: versatility. Applying supreme self-confidence to areas beyond the sports realm, Biebel also practices the culinary arts with a Foreman Grill in the Yeah Right extras and puts in work as a sports medicine consultant for those water-injected “game changer” insole things. The medium is not important. Killing it is job one. In Biebelism, one kills it just as hard as the crew chief at a McDonald’s franchise as getting up on them ledges in some futuristic communist marblescape in mainland China.
Truth be told, versatility is a core belief I have long held. If one sits down at a bar stool in Anywhere, USA, one needs to be able to discuss the Steelers running back situation and/or the latest 2chainz mixtape and/or the various implications of the NBA trade deadline. However, Biebel still retains elements of the Cardiel Norcal outdoorsman tradition, as seen in that one Sacramento “Day in the Life” video. After a long day skating one of those chill low-impact ledge spots that seem to flourish in that region, he and some homies embark on a fishing expedition in a weed-embanked river—possibly the same river into which that dude who impregnated that chick in The Grapes of Wrath disappeared.
Biebel: the new Steinbeck? He will, undoubtedly, win a Nobel Prize one day, but right now, through his video channel, Biebel tackles some of the same issues as that other legendary NorCal dude. Specifically, in that one DiTL vid with that dude from Captain and Casey, he deals with similar cataclysmic, life-or-death class/economic upheavals as the Joad family. Specifically, in his Hollywood condominium, he lowers the key on a fishing line rather than simply buzz the dude up. Regardless of the surreality of his current surroundings, Biebel clings to that which provides meaning via his own experience. This theory and practice—staying true to oneself, if you will—is the second main tenent of Biebelism.
BY THE WAY, that DiTL video also warrants mentioning for the footage of Carroll purchasing a yoga mat at Target. For the EMB generation, nothing highlights the transition from the Nineties to the 10’s more vividly than going from smoking crack at Embarcadero and taking ecstasy at raves to buying a yoga mat at a big-box retailer.
ANYWAY, another common thread running through the majority of the videos on Biebel’s internet video channel is valuing one’s friends. As he emphasizes in just one of his many stream-of-consciousness tour monologues, “circle of friends, trust, all that shit.” And in order to facilitate said circle of friends, one must establish the proper environment. Accordingly, Biebel equips his TF with couches for chilling, televisions for sports watching, and dart boards for dart throwing. In addition, he highlights the critical nature of environment while chilling at Eldridge’s beachfront, pool table-equipped condominium.
While Eldridge is one of the main reoccurring characters in the ever-expanding narrative of Biebel’s life, his main foil is a gentleman, who in many way could not be more different—Marc Johnson.*
Like Riggs and Murtaugh, Bunk and McNulty, and Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal (whatever the fuck those characters were called) in Running Scared, MJ and Biebel’s partnership is fueled by contrast. Beibel’s skating and everyday perspective seems driven by a combination of potent medicinal weed and positive vibes. On the other hand, MJ’s skating and outlook on life appears to run on a potent mixture of absinthe and self-hatred, filtered through the most impeccable of stylistic influences (Rickk, Jovantae). BY THE WAY, if you haven’t watched his part in Man Down recently, I can recommend no video part more highly. Off-the-cuff, progressive, low-impact, stellar #musicsupervision. In addition, it adds support to my theory that great skaters peak around twenty-three years of age. The aforementioned part also exemplifies his particular brand of self-depricating I’ll-make-fun-of-myself-before-you-can-make-fun-of-me video part antics, dating back to the Maple vid.
The one piece of video I discovered that most starkly reveals this contrast is Biebel’s demonstration of his signature dance move—The Go-To, which combines the Harlem Shake and that once dance that Patrick Swayze does in Dirty Dancing. You know what I’m talking about–one snaps one’s fingers, shakes one’s head back and forth, and shimmies toward one’s target. When MJ attempts this example of modern dance synergy, he lacks the total commitment necessary to pull it off; dude comes off more like a “wild and crazy guy.” On the other hand, Biebel proclaims–to any chick that doesn’t vibe off of this shit—that “he doesn’t know what her problem is.”
This brand of unfaltering self-confidence is critical to Biebelism. If you’re not picking up the vibe I’m giving off, it’s your problem—not mine. The opposite of codependency.
Sometimes, when I have been drinking, I contemplate undertaking various endeavors. Most of these involve financial suicide. The first is rebooting the 101 brand with Prime wood, Travis Stenger as the sole pro, and some as-yet-undiscovered Spanish or Brazilian tech dude as the sole am. The second is starting a skateboard magazine. However, this magazine would focus on #skatelife as a construct, rather than on skateboarding itself, or individual tricks. Like a skate version of early Playboy. Based on some rudimentary internet research, one can define a playboy as a gentleman who values nightclubs, travel, and the company of women. Especially as demographics evolve, and many dudes keep skating into their thirties and forties, the number of skaters who fit that definition will only increase. However, early Playboy also had a progressive, free-thinking point of view that set it apart from much of American culture at the time.
Biebelism speaks to this, as well. Interpreting and interacting with the world around us from a more assertive perspective. For example, if one can shift one’s reality by making a wine bottle magically stick to a wall, then what else can one accomplish today? To riff off an example from Quartersnacks’ instagram account, a fashion shoot at the skate spot is kinda cool. But you know what’s really cool? Paying a model to hang at the spot while you skate.
*probably deserves his own post, at some point