So You Want To Be A Team Manager?

So You Want To Be A Team Manager?

IT would be easy to imagine the life of a skate team manager a glamorous one. In theory, you’d befriend the world’s best skateboarders while parading them around the world to the delight of the legions of skate fans. Ask a few TM’s though and you will find, their job is often not very glamorous at all. In many cases the skate team manager is nothing more than a glorified nanny. The TM’s role is to deal with an assortment of issues that have absolutely nothing to do with skateboarding. The list of problems is a long one, Ams having nervous breakdowns, destroyed hotel rooms, drunken retardedness, stinky vans, primadona pros, unwanted pregnancies, vomit, emergency room trips, etcetera, etcetera. Next time you see a TM give’em a big ol’ hug, and tell him you appreciate all that he does.

JUSTIN WILLAMS (Force Trucks)
I was the TM for Venture Trucks at the time and Daryl Angel, Jeremy Reeves, and I don’t remember who else, were on our way to the Make A Wish contest in Texas. On our way we stopped down in Santa Barbra to party on Halloween. We went down to the beach and wound up losing the keys to the van. We had to pay a locksmith an insane amount of money to fix the ignition. We were late so we pretty much had to drive straight from Santa Barbra to San Antonio non-stop. We get just outside of San Antonio after countless hours of driving and all of a sudden a deer jumps out in front of us. Jeremy Reeves was sitting shotgun. I was doing about 90 mph, I tried to avoid it but I just wound up fucking creaming it. My life flashed before my eyes, I thought that I was going to kill everyone in the van. Everyone was like, “I can’t believe we just survived that”. We finally made it to Austin at like 7 o-clock in the morning.

On another trip to Texas, I had a team rider have a nervous breakdown. On this trip I had Darrel Angel and Adrian Willams, and a rider who will remain nameless, staying in my room. This dude came into the room freaking out. He was all, “I’ve got this problem, I’ve got to go home now. I’ve got to fly home now. You’ve got to fly me home now! I’m freaking out!”. I don’t remember what it was but it was something totally stupid that couldn’t be fixed. He thought he could go home and his mommy could fix it for him. Darrel and Adrian were like, “ Dude, you’ve got to calm down it’s your first trip, this is what happens on tour”. He couldn’t take the pressure of being teased. Everyone fucks with each other on tour. He pretty much got let go from the team after that.

Duffy was always fun to TM. One time we were at a demo in Davis, California for a shop called Ground Zero. It was Duffy, Dan Drehobl, and a couple of ams we had riding for us. We did the demo and Pat goes off and starts drinking with some guys from the shop. We had to be at another demo in another town the next day so I was like, “Okay guys, come on we’ve got to go get a hotel room.”. We get Duffy and it’s like 2 O-clock in the morning. We stopped to get gas, and Duffy’s like, “Beer”. I was like, “Oh my god, we don’t need you to drink anymore.”. He was just wasted, and he walks into the gas station and a skater happened to be working there. The dude goes, “Oh, my God! Its Pat Duffy!”. The dude’s like, “Just fucking take what ever you want.”. So Duffy just grabs like 2 cases of beer. I was thinking, “Oh shit!”, a cop is going to see him walking out with beer past 2 o clock we’re fucked. I didn’t know it at the time but every hotel was booked, it was open wine tasting that weekend. I had to drive ‘till like 6 am. I finally get to where the actual demo is and there’s no place to sleep. I wound up sleeping at the skatepark in a ditch. Somehow Duffy gets a room piss drunk. At like 10 o-clock in the morning I finally find them in their room, and I’m like, “Yo, we’ve got to do this demo!”. Everyone’s passed out wasted, no one can even talk, they’re all just piss drunk. The room is just destroyed. I can’t get Duffy up. The mayor’s kid was super bummed that Duffy didn’t show up, I had to make up some story about the team getting into some car accident.

The next great TM horror story happened to me at the Tampa Pro. Duffy and Kareem Campbell were out parting all night getting wasted as usual. I get back to my room and go to sleep. At about 4 in the morning I get woken up by Duffy and Kareem, I had never met Kareem until that night. Duffy just drops Kareem into my bed. I was sharing the bed with Renton Miller. Kareem comes flying between us like a wet noodle just passed out. I was like, “What the fuck Duffy? Get him the fuck out of here, put him in his own room.”. Duffy’s like, “It’s your problem now, I’m out of here.”. I grabbed a pillow and a sheet, and right when I grab the pillow and sheet Kareem pukes everywhere, all over Renton. I was trying to wake him up, I was like, “Get the fuck up Reem! Get the Fuck UP!”. I ended up sleeping on the floor, by the crack in the door trying to breath fresh air because it smelled so bad. Renton slept in Reem’s puke. His nickname became Potato Neck because he had potatoes all over his neck. After that incident Kareem and I became like best friends. That same night Duffy wound up doing a double gainer off the third story balcony into the pool and split his shin open. These are the kind of things that you have deal with being a team manager. People like to drink and the team manager is always going to be the bad guy.

RENTON “POTATO NECK” MILLER. PHOTO: BRIAN FICK

SEAN “SPEED” LEWIS (Ezekiel)
The only dude that I’ve had to manage that has been a nightmare was Rodrigo Lima. He is a foreign diva. He wanted to be pampered and he had this attitude like he was god. I was like, “Come on dude you are just a skateboarder!”. Within the short time that I have been at Ezekiel I dealt with the most bullshit from him. He would come in here and demand boxes. One day I was driving down to drop off a photo at Transworld and he asked me to turn around, to get him some tee shirts. I was over this dude, I kicked him off the team. When I was TM at Axion it wasn’t too bad. I didn’t really have to deal with too much Team bullshit over there. Back then Chris Cole was a bit demanding. He wanted a lot. He wasn’t even that big a name yet. I was giving him 6-7 pairs of shoes a month and he still wanted more. When I was TM at City Stars though, there was a bunch of craziness. It was with the OG City Stars team, Fabian Alomar, and Kareem Campbell. On our first trip we went to Canada, it took like 9 hours to cross the boarder because these dudes had police records that probably stretched a half a mile. This last Florida Ezekiel trip fell on Saint Patrick’s Day. That was bad, everybody was drinking heavily. It was Louie Barletta, Stewart Graham, Kerry Getz, Mike York, and Jeremy Holmes. All they did was drink. They started at 10 am and didn’t stop until the next day we had to get on the plane the next morning at 11. I had to be a dick. I yelled at Louie, “This is just getting out of hand, you guys have gone way too far with this shit.”. Louie was so obliterated that he came up to our van eating Oreo cookies and drinking beer and spit it all over our van. At that point I just snapped. I hopped out of the van. They were just being stupid. That’s the worst. I really don’t deal with a lot of drinking issues cause I just say, “Do what ever the fuck you want to do.”. On our way back to Orlando Louie starts hounding me, “I need water, I need water!” I was like, “You can wait!”. I finally gave in and he comes out of the gas station with two 12 packs of beer. At that point I wasn’t speaking to anybody. These dudes were already wasted out of their minds. If it’s not skate related I just leave these fuckers to themselves.

LOUIE BARLETTA. GOOD TIMES FOR EVERYONE BUT THE TM. PHOTO: SPEED

VERN (Listen Skateboards)
I don’t have any horror stories from team riders. I wouldn’t be a team manager if I didn’t like the teams I have worked for. If there have been any problems, they were all my fault. My first trip as team manager for Aesthetics, was with Clyde Singleton and we were driving to Make-A-Wish. Our plan was to catch up with the Venture team and go out with them on their tour. They left a day before us, so we had to catch up to them in Flagstaff. At this time, I was still fairly new to California. I had no idea how far it was from the last semi-major city in California to the boarder of Arizona. So needless to say, when the gaslight came on and we are still out in the middle the dessert at night, I started sweating bullets. Clyde was passed out and had no idea what was going on. I saw some lights in the distance and I was just praying that we can make it. As soon as we hit the exit ramp, the car runs out of gas. At that point Clyde wakes up and I tell him that we ran out of gas. Clyde just starts ripping me a new asshole. Clyde gets out and pushes us the rest of the way just cursing at me. Now I make sure I have no less than a quarter tank of gas at all times and I always rent from major car rental agencies.

R.P. BESS (Duffs)
Back when I was team manager for Planet Earth, we were in Vancouver for Slam City Jam. Chris Lambert stepped on a hypodermic needle left by the previous person in the hotel room. I had to take him to the hospital in the middle of the night. It was a very scary situation. He ended up not skating the contest and his dad flew in. It was huge ordeal.

THE NEEDLE INCIDENT DIDN’T STOP CHRIS LAMBERT. NOSE GRIND. PHOTO: MATT MACERO

With Duffs I had to manage Rag Doll, need I say more? Even before he was on the team I took the ams to Vegas for a skate trip. We ended up meeting up with Rags and he tore one of the hotel rooms apart. The combination of Ragdoll, Mike Sante Fe, and alcohol is not a good thing. We went to check out and the room’s floor was completely wet, like a swamp. They tore the pictures off the walls, and completely wrecked the place. I don’t even want to remember. Believe it or not, after that, we put him on the team. This was Jon Goemann’s first trip. He was like 13 or 14. This was a good way to break him in. Hotels take the beating from Team riders. Team rooms are bad ideas unless you’re willing to pay for the damages. I’ve twice had to pay for damages at Marriotts. You’d think I would have learned the first time. At ASR we were the first people to stay in the Marriott in the Gas Lamp in San Diego. Everything was brand new in the rooms. The first night of the show I was on my way to dinner and I see Nuge, Aktin, Rags, Angel, Lizard and a handful of others standing on the corner looking guilty about something. I came to find out they had tore the brand new room apart. They torn the legs off chairs, the whole nine. The hotel staff was pissed to say the least. Duffs is no longer allowed to stay at Marriott Hotels anymore. Same type of thing happened 10 yeas before that at the other Marriott on the bay in San Diego. This time I was at Vans. I couldn’t tell you who was in the room. All I know is I come back and I can’t get into my own room. Chairs were being thrown off the balcony and the partying got out of hand. The TM life is not glamorous.

NOT ONLY CAN THE NUGE DO STYLISH FRONT BLUNTS HE CAN ALSO DESTROY HOTEL ROOMS. PHOTO: MATT MACERO

NICK MATLIN (High Grade Distribution)
On every trip I fear a DUI. Not necessarily from me drinking and driving but from everyone partying in the car like we are at a nightclub. The vans always smell like foul feet and piss from everyone trying to pee in a bottle while we are driving. For the most part the Satori guys are pretty chill. It’s the Westside and Yellow Brand guys you have to watch out for. I get a little crazy some times too; I just do it at the right times. The hardest person to deal with by far is Ryan Nix. On every trip he drinks from the time he gets up to the time he passes out. He just drinks himself to death and it sounds like he dying when he’s asleep. I would say about 3 times every trip someone has to stop me from beating his ass or sending him home early. Don’t get me wrong, I have known Ryan for like 10 years and I love the guy, but he sucks to deal with. Trying to get every one’s ass out of bed in morning is one of the worst jobs of a TM. That and trying to get the team to clean the van. The team loves to trash hotels rooms, I want to kill them because everything is in my name and I get fucked if some thing happens. It is no fun being responsible for them sometimes.

RYAN NIX IS A TRUE PAIN IN THE ASS. PHOTO: LUCIAN MOON

BRIAN YOUNG (Split Clothing)
The worst single day of being a Team Manager was when I was at Hellrose. We had just gotten the team together and Ragdoll was supposed to be one of the original members of the team. But for whatever reasons it didn’t work out right away. I continued to pursue him and finally after about a year we came to an agreement. We figured out how much he was going to get paid. We put together a deal, everything was great, I was like, “Rags, are you sure you want to do this?”. “Yes, I definitely want to do this.”. I rushed to get the contract written up, and in the meantime he called up Black Label and quit. He got back to me and was like, “Hey, I just quit Label.”. I was like, “I need to get that contact from Hellrose ASAP.”. I hadn’t gotten it yet because I was living in LA and they were down in San Diego. I called the office and they were like, “Ah yeah, um um um, yeah we’re going to not be able to do that.”. I was like,“What do you mean you’re not going to do that?”. “Well we kind of decided we are going forward with Plan B and pretty much shit-can Hellrose.”. I just had an ugly mess on my hands now. Ragdoll, a good friend for a long time, just quit his board sponsor to come ride for me and the whole time I was telling him how great it was going to be and how much money he was going to make. Now I had to call him and tell him that they dumped Hellrose. I felt extremely bad. Not only was the team out of a job I was also out of a job. This all happened the same day he quit Black Label. Luckily he took it well but that was the most fucked thing to ever happen to me as a TM.

RAGDOLL. PHOTO: BLAIR ALLEY

 

 

 

 

 

 

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