This I Believe

Ben - San Rmaon, California
Entered on July 25, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: freedom, sports

Labor of Love

I believe in fighting for what your believe in, I believe in taking a stand, making a difference and getting things changed. I am a skateboarder, and I believe in taking a stand and fighting for skateboarding, As a teenager, I already have an uphill battle, then add a skateboard in my hands and it might as well be a bulls-eye for any type of authority figure. Skateboarders see things differently than everyone else, we see things to skate, we see tricks, we see fame. The thing with skateboarding is that you can do anything you want, you can say “wouldn’t that be cool?” but then you can just take out “wouldn’t” because you can. With skateboarding you can do anything.

I have two examples of how its important to fight for what you believe in and how skateboarding is important. By law everyone regardless of age is required to wear a helmet at a skatepark, in California. So they build a great(sometimes its not so great) new place for everyone to skate, outlaw skateboarding everywhere else in the city, and then have the police write tickets to people not wearing the required safety equipment. As a 19 year old the government recognizes me as an adult and as an adult I don’t want to wear a helmet while skateboarding. I didn’t like this law, neither did other people, including a couple state Senators, and the IASC(international association of skateboard companies). I went to Sacramento with a bunch of other people and well, try telling a room of 60 year olds that we don’t want kids wearing safety gear while skateboarding. SB1179 would have made California not liable for injuries at skateparks, like 30 other states in the country.

My friend told me about this abandoned basketball court in San Ramon, like I said before skateboarders don’t see abandoned basketball courts, we see possibilities. After a couple days of some hard work and stealth-fully bringing some objects to skate, we were greeted by a man who told us that the police were on the way. I was skateboarding on a slab of concrete surrounded by dead grass. One officer eventually showed up after we waited politely and he told us that it was a liability for the neighborhood for us to skateboard there. If I sued someone every time I fell then I would have some huge legal expenses and skateboarding would be even more illegal than it is. Now I have to meet with the neighborhood and the city to try and work out some solution so that skateboarders can skate there, and I don’t care, I’m fighting for skateboarding, its a labor of love.

Being a skateboarder isn’t very unique, over 13 million of them, and a billion dollar industry, but the actual act of skateboarding can be so unique. It is so organic, there is almost unlimited terrain to skate. It is a ridiculous game of cat and mouse with property owners vs. skateboarders, but where there is a will there is always a way. Can’t skate there during the day? I will show up at 3 a.m with lights and a generator. Put knobs on the rail or ledge, I’ll come saw them off. I love everything about skateboarding. The point when you land a trick is what makes it worth it, you can get completely thrashed but you want the trick. Rolling away from a new trick is greatest feeling in the entire world and thats what I’m fighting for.