This I Believe

Jason - San Diego, California
Entered on November 29, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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An Eight-Foot Wave That Breaks Daily

I believe in an eight-foot wave that breaks daily. This wave keeps it’s shape day and night; in fact, this wave never changes. Made out of concrete, it can be found at a local skatepark, in the streets of downtown, or in the empty pool of your neighbor’s house. I feel this never-altering eight-foot wave has taught me life lessons on how to treat others with respect.

On my 7th birthday, I received a visit from my father and a gift that I will never forget. The gift was my first skateboard. Being an active child growing up, I progressed immediately after putting my foot on the board for the first time. While my father was in town visiting, I asked him to take me skateboarding somewhere new and exciting, because the flat street in front of my house was boring. Simply, it was too easy for me.

So, I got what I asked for; a challenge I never dreamed of. My father took me to the local skatepark and my eyes swelled up to the size of baseballs. There were quarter-pipes, half-pipes, ledges, rails, and pyramids dispersed throughout the park. I was thrilled, wound up, eager to go skate, but I was intimidated. There were many skateboarders with experience and skill. It was like being in kindergarten and playing with the 5th graders on the swing set. I was scared! Despite my emotions, I took my first run, pushing off with my left foot and I started to ride making it one of my most memorable moments. I went down the quarter pipe flawlessly and gained enough speed to reach the other side when suddenly, I was hit from behind. An older boy had knocked be flat on my rear and said, “Watch where your going little kid!” I picked up my skateboard and walked away from the park without saying a word to anybody. I was embarrassed and had enough for the day.

Growing older, I participated in local counsel sessions regarding the abuse of the skatepark rules. Young kids and teenagers do not wear protective gear, curse out loud, paint graffiti on the cement walls, and most importantly, treat others without respect. The city counsel has threatened to shut the park down unless we obey the rules. I believe some of these teenagers are arrogant, bigheaded, and are less tolerant of others. I ride the same skatepark almost everyday that my father took me to and I look for these “big kids,” who would run a fellow skateboarder off of the road. When I am there, I make sure that everyone gets an equal opportunity and has fun. I watch out for the little kids being pushed around, because I was that little kid.

Just like surfing, people whom skateboard need to take turns on the next big wave. I feel communication is a key factor in respecting each other and is necessary in order to stay safe.

The never-changing eight-foot quarter-pipe can always be there with the cooperation of the community. This concrete wall will not change, but I believe the attitudes of the riders can. My father gave me the opportunity to learn to appreciate others and in return, enjoy our eight-foot wave that will continuously break for as long as we let it.