Nothing is more pathetic than the 30-year-old long boarder appearing disheveled as if he just rolled out of bed, skating down the street with a dumb, smug smile on his face. These people are idiots and should be treated as such; infants stuck in arrested development. However, as a young man growing up in a small town, nothing was more exciting than that beautiful sport of skateboarding.
As a teenager, many boys have teenage angst and aggression. This is just natural for young bucks. Playing war, wanting adventure, violence, and tons of youthful energy; what to do with all that energy? Your body is also going through all sorts of weird changes at that age, like getting hair where you didn’t have before and constantly getting boners. It is a difficult time.
I was no different and needed an outlet. I loved playing sports, basketball being my number one. However, it was missing something. One day, I was introduced to skateboarding by the older kids in school and my childhood changed forever.
Basketball was fun, but it was far too team-oriented for me. Playing basketball in school involved memorization of useless and ineffective plays. It really took the fun and spontaneous nature out of the sport. Skateboarding was not like that. It involved you, and only you, against the world. It retained individualism and the fun of being spontaneous. It also fed into my wanderlust and need for adventure, including finding new spots to skate and exploring my surroundings.
As I progressed in the sport, I realized that all of your skating progress was solely dependent on how you invested your time. If you slacked, it showed in your abilities. In skateboarding, when you failed, you literally would dust yourself off and try again. Eventually through determination and patience, you would succeed, and the victory was only yours. No team, no group, no herd.
Nothing tasted better than this kind of personal victory as a young man. Landing that trick you’d been trying for months was the greatest reward from hard work. If you wanted to learn a new trick, you would work at it like any other craftsman may work at something; progressively getting more technical. Skateboarding is a microcosm of the real world and a good life lesson for young males.
If you did want to skate with a group, it was always a cutthroat competition. You and your friends would see who could “out skate” the other. It taught you how to work at something and to rise above the group as the best. This was always a trial and error, you might not always be the best, but you would strive for it. It was also fun to skate around with a little crew, doing what boys do; causing some trouble and being rebellious.
I remember sneaking out late at night just to go skating. It was an outlet as a young male to melt away the anger and frustration that comes with being a pimply teenager. Besides being a great individualistic sport to build character, personality, honesty, integrity and enjoying one’s own company and solitude, girls always thought skateboarders were attractive, which was just an added bonus.
As an older, wiser man now, I have given up the sport (as adult males should at some point). I would say that the experience of skateboarding still translates to many things including progress in career, love, and life. It taught me the valuable lesson of determination, self-discipline, honesty, and patience. It also taught me to enjoy being by myself and to relish the silent victories I accomplished in my solitude. These are the most important victories of all.
It was after I fell on a rail while attempting a difficult trick and needed cortisone shots in my back, that I realized the dangers and hung up my skateboard forever. But in a time when war and violence is nearly unheard of, the new war for young men is a war on your own body. You beat yourself to get better and better. You push yourself to do your best.
It is the most spiritual and necessary thing in our modern world for young males. With no real wars, with daily emasculation and docility forced on young men, with a lack of experience to build courage, skateboarding is a way to gain a skill in a productive and goal-oriented way. Nothing in the world is more important than this kind of personal battle and eventual victory for young males.
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