This Throwback Thursday comes from the very first issue of Alliance with the very first “Matters” column ever written. Matters has always been a section of the mag dedicated to the opinions of the riders, and sometimes our editorial staff. It has been a place where tough topics could be discussed in hopes of making readers think and in turn helping the sport. What’s crazy looking back at the words the legendary Gregg Necrason wrote nearly 16 years ago is how they still hold true today. With that, here is Matters – 1.1:

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I’ve been in this game for a few years now, and I think if there was one thing I could tell the new guys it’s how much more there is to wakeboarding than just wakeboarding. All the kids coming up right now need to know that if they’re going to make it as a pro, they’ve got to act like one. And that means a lot more than just taking care of business on the water. It also means everything else that comes off the water, like taking responsibility to see the sport grow the right way. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that non-wakeboarders will only take care of themselves, not the sport.

Hopefully, in five or 10 years, everybody I know will be behind their own desks and in control of wakeboarding’s destiny. People like Thomas and Nelson who have started their own companies and know what’s up. People like Scott, who realized a long time ago (in the Competition Era) that he doesn’t have to compete to make a giant impact on this sport. People who are out on the road doing the clinics and actually living the life.

For that to happen, everyone needs to start thinking about the future right now. They need to start thinking about how the big guys want to own everything and take the small guys out. They need to start thinking about not just making money, but having the sport be around for awhile. Hopefully, sometime soon, the people that are busting their bodies today will be both reaping the rewards and in control of the ship tomorrow.

It might not happen right away, it might take a long time. But look at all the stuff that’s hap- pened in just the last few months. Riders are starting to create things for the sport, not just stand aside and wait their turn. People like Chase and Shane and Danny Harf are shooting videos. Other riders are having legitimate influence on designs. I don’t necessarily know if their ideas are going to be better than anyone else’s, but at least they’re taking an active part. And if someone of us, no matter what level rider, is going to get something back out of the sport we’ve given to, I think that’s the way it should be.