Skaters are taken for criminals, but not all are

Patrick - Austin, Texas
Entered on February 6, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I have been skating for about 5 years. For much of that time, the activity that gave me my greatest joy was tagged with many labels, most of which were ugly. When people think of skateboarding it’s usually associated with the drug abusing teen, long hair, lazy and good for nothing. “It was a kids’ joy, a waste of time, a dangerous pursuit, and most of all a crime. Even during those dark years, I never stopped riding my skateboard and never stopped progressing as a skater.” As said by Tony Hawk

There have been many times when I’ve been frustrated because I can’t land a trick. I’ve come to realize that the only way to master something is to keep it at—despite the broken bones, bloody knees, and the people around me saying I can’t do it. Once said by Tony Hawk, “Skating has gained much needed recognition in past couple of years but it still has many negative stereotypes.” I started skating just for skating and to see what it’s like, no graffiti, no drugs, or anything like that. A lot of people say that skaters are destructive and do and sell drugs, and just do things to piss people off, but that is just the stereotype. I won’t lie, some do those kinds of things, but that doesn’t mean they all do. Everyone has the choice to do what they want and if they want to mess up their lives with crime, drugs, and alcohol then that’s their problem and I’m just going to stay away from them.

In skateboarding I have learned to accept criticism better because sometimes you will be walking down the street with your board and people will give you a nasty stare or business owners will come out and stand in front of their shops to make sure we don’t steal anything. Other examples of me being picked on are that I am considered weird because I am a boy who wears almost skin tight jeans and used to have long hair that could easily reach my neck. 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 can find stairs, ramps, gaps, and rails. I have also 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. I’ve learned to forgive and forget when people judge incorrectly or insult me and I just move on with my life. I’ve learned to respect the places I skate by leaving when asked and putting back anything I move. I’ve become more trustworthy by using these lessons, so my parents let me skate where I want to without them worrying about anything. Skateboarding will someday be a major sport maybe even in the Olympics. People are going to keep on trying to make skateboarding illegal. But what they don’t understand is that skateboarding for some of us is seriously all we know. It’s our lives, our passion. And it is horrible that people are trying to make it illegal for us to do what we love doing. This is what I believe. I believe that skateboarding and skateboarders deserve to do what they love without being punished for it.