ASA Extreme Tour fails to flip students’ perspectives on bullying

September 17, 2015 — by Olivia Lu

Professional X Games medalists on bikes, skateboards and rollerblades performed stunning ramp stunts and reached incredible heights during an outdoor assembly in the front parking lot on Sept. 2. The pretense for the demonstration was an anti-bullying message.

While admirable and eye-opening in terms of the athletes on display, the assembly ultimately did little besides entertain the students.

Professional X Games medalists on bikes, skateboards and rollerblades performed stunning ramp stunts and reached incredible heights during an outdoor assembly in the front parking lot on Sept. 2. The pretense for the demonstration was an anti-bullying message.

While admirable and eye-opening in terms of the athletes on display, the assembly ultimately did little besides entertain the students.

The Action Sports Association (ASA) High School Tour visits  schools around the nation at no cost for the school faculties. In the past, ASA has been sponsored by big-name corporations such as Apple, Coca Cola and Nintendo. This year’s ASA tour corporate sponsor is the United States Marine Corps, which set up a booth specifically for students to buy merchandise, participate in contests and win prizes.

Sadly, the contests were presented in such a manner that they revolved solely around self-promotion rather than any meaningful anti-bullying message. The main performance was also largely concerned with advocating ASA social media platforms. Was a free T-shirt or lanyard really more important than a lesson on an issue quite prevalent at our school?

As a member of the audience, I kept waiting for the actual assembly about bullying to begin, but soon realized that the extent of bullying education would be a few statistics and facts about bullying haphazardly crammed into the spaces between stunts by the emcee, a message essentially lost in the crowd’s noise.

The speaker ended up talking more about the BMX tricks than the actual prevention of bullying, and the result was an inane event of all style and no substance. Students were too busy “oohing and ahhing” over the athletes to contemplate the actual anti-bullying message. Although the stunts were impressive, they distracted from the event’s purpose: Bullying is a serious issue that should not be buried beneath extravaganza and amusement.

The assembly could have been greatly improved if the athletes had shared why they decided to work with the ASA and related their own experiences with bullying, or if a larger portion of the assembly had been solely dedicated to discussing the topic. The stunts should have been a hook that grabbed students’ attention, not the centerpiece of the show.

All in all, the ASA campaign failed simply because of its focus on performance and inattention to anti-bullying awareness. The event wasted valuable class time only to teach students a lesson in self-promotion and ultimately emerged a disappointing affair.

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