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MTV Sports (Please Come Back)

Editor’s Note: The following essay was originally featured on THE ROCK FIGHT podcast and is available to listen to in the player below.


Today I’m picking a fight with…MTV. Because we need MTV Sports more than ever.

Call up Dan Cortese, order him up some HGH so he looks good in that Color Me Badd t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, have him grow out his hair and get him a bunch of fresh new headbands…

We need MTV Sports to come back.

MTV Sports was on at a time when MTV was at the peak of their power. The show ran from 1992-1997 and for teenagers and those in their 20’s alike, there was no more important television network.

Music videos were as important as listening to songs on the radio and call me biased because I was their target audience but for an outdoor grom, kook, or newb, MTV sports provided for many their first real exposure to people like Ace Mckay Smith, Craig Kelly and Mat Hoffman or sports like snowboarding, windsurfing and inline skating with a soundtrack from artists like Beastie Boys, Body Count and Ministry.

The network leaned into its bread and butter by editing the segments to resemble a fast past hard hitting music video with a host that carried the sort of everyman quality you wanted for the breadth of sports and activities the show covered.

Now I know that I’m risking THE ROCK FIGHT ever appealing to a younger demographic right now because there is no one under the age of 40 who even remembers MTV Sports, but for the fledgling outdoor and extreme sports world in the early 90’s, MTV Sports was sportscenter for the non-ball sport crowd.

And we need it back. That younger demo needs it more than ever. The best modern day comp we have for exposure to new sports or exciting ideas is TikTok. And anything genuinely cool is buried in there under thousands of nut shot videos, dance offs and couples somehow simultaneously loving and hating each other.

(Quick aside, TikTok kinda rules. If you get caught in a TikTok vortex you’re going to enjoy yourself more than you're not and every time you think you’re all done and there are no more good videos you get hit with a doozy that automatically signs you up for at least 5-10 more minutes of scrolling and you’re totally ok with it. Sorry, I know it’s trendy to shit on TikTok, but I have to admit, I kinda love it. Anyway, back to the topic at hand.)

I implore you to go to YouTube and watch clips of MTV Sports. The show is maybe the best relic we have of the early to mid 90’s, a perfect time capsule of trends, sports and music.

And the mash up of sports will blow your mind. The players you are going to expect are there. Snowboarding, mountain biking, skateboarding and skydiving even if some of them are still in their formative stages.

But there are also sports like Ice Hockey and the decathlon.

Yeah, decathlon.

MTV Sports went in deep with Reebok and the Dan v Dave fiasco from the 1992 summer olympics. Google it if you want the details, but the point is, try to think of going to REI and finding decathlon equipment on the shelves. The outdoor industry was not yet what it is today.

And that’s why we need MTV Sports back!

We need a hub to be defining what the outdoors will be 30 years from NOW. I want to see segments about pickleball players who ride e-bikes to the beach to play spikeball and go skimboarding.

Or maybe this week Dan is riding cruiser bikes around Pike Place Market with Courtney Dauwalter, Killian Jornet and the cast of The Sex Lives of College Girls before trying Swim Running in Puget Sound with some of the players from the Seattle Kraken.

And in this week's throwback to the 90’s segment Kid n’ Play returns to inline skate with Dan in Central Park but this time Jason Momoa crashes the party to promote the latest Fast & Furious movie.

Who doesn’t want this?! If you tell me you don’t, I know you’re lying. And I know the reach of this podcast grows every day so I’m calling on you, Rock Fight Army. One of you knows Dan Cortese. Put me in touch with the man I’ll take care of the rest.

And to MTV, some real talk. You’re a shell of your former greatness. My kids don’t even know who you are. You are mired in a pit of Ridiculousness.

But Jackass keeps on kicking. You brought back Beavis and Butthead (thanks for that by the way). Why not resurrect the show that predates them and launched the same year as THE REAL WORLD and helped shape athletic culture more than anyone could ever have imagined. C’mon MTV, throw a few rocks.

It’s time to bring back MTV SPORTS.

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