This I Believe

dylan - springdale, Arkansas
Entered on September 17, 2007

This I Believe

Of all the things I believe in, I believe in skateboarding most of all. Unlike most sports, in skateboarding you do not have a coach. Not having a coach means sculpting your own path. It means you make your own rules; it means you can have your own style. It means you having a team or not doesn’t decide your success. It means you decide to learn your physical and life lessons flying solo or with friends, at your own pace, on your own time.

In skateboarding I have learned to accept criticism better. I am thirteen years old, and I am short and skinny and often made fun of. Since I skateboard, I am often viewed as a criminal and a hoodlum. Other examples of me being picked on are that I am considered weird because I am a boy, I wear skin tight jeans, and I have long hair that reaches to my collar bone easily. I am also treated as though I am a bad person because I skate at local schools, restaurants, places of business, and anywhere else I find stairs, ramps, gaps, and rails. I have learned to become tougher against enemies.

When I started skating I began to learn lessons about fear, responsibility, forgiveness, respect, and trustworthiness. I have learned that it’s okay to be afraid, but not to let my fear control me. I’ve taken this into everyday life. As I’m writing this, I’m recovering from a bad sprained ankle and a messed up knee, but as soon as I heal up I’m going to try the same trick off the same stair set and I won’t let my fear stop me from doing it. It’s so ironic that just the other day, after I began this essay I got a fortune cookie that said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but it is the replacement of fear.” I’ve become better at being responsible. I’m more responsible for my actions, and I am more responsible with my money do to the extra expensive skateboard essentials. I’ve learned to forgive and forget when people judge incorrectly or insult me. I’ve learned to respect the places I skate by leaving when asked and picking my trash up and putting back anything I move. I’ve become more trustworthy by using these lessons, so my mom lets me skate where I want to without her worrying about anything.

As I have skated, I’ve become aware of social changes. Before I started skating, I often had fair weather friends and never had a true friend I could depend on no matter what. Then, I started skateboarding and it all changed. I met my best friend Marshall through skating and no matter how mad we get at each other or how bad things get, we always stick together and get over it and stay tight. Since we are viewed ignorantly, we have to stay together and fight off our opponents. I truly believe in skateboarding