The art of skateboarding requires little talent and relatively no equipment to begin learning. You only need a skateboarding and your own two feet. Anyone can try it and many people already have. Word spreads quickly of a remodeled skate park and before you know it at least a handful of people shred the park on any given day.
There are currently over 13 million skateboarders and this number grows at over 10 percent per year. This makes skateboarding one of the fastest growing sports in the world, overtaking basketball and football (fact 7).
The Santa Rosa skate park is a public park open to all skateboarders no matter how much experience you have. Local skaters from around the county cruise over and skate all night long until the lights go out at 10 p.m. They support one another and they push each other’s own limits. Freestyle skateboarding legend, Rodney Mullen, described the difference between talent and passion in skaters.
“I see people with talent and all those things, but the one thing they don’t have is just that love for the sake of doing it,” Mullen said. (link here)
Skateboarders love adrenaline and they never give up. If you fall off the board, you get back up and you try again. You never stop trying until you can land it. And finally, you shock yourself and land it. The feeling of success, accomplishment, and pure shock all rush through the bloodstream and pump out more adrenaline. Tosh Brownlee, a Los Osos native, described why he skates at Santa Rosa.
“I go to school during the day and then I come straight here (the SLO skate park). We all meet up here and just skate. Good weather, great park, and all your friends hanging out at one place,” Brownlee said.
The SLO skate park became almost twice as busy as normally has been in the past two years. More people want to skateboard and more people want to learn. The local skaters must support those beginners and encourage them to keep trying. Nothing comes easy, but like anything else: the more you practice, the better you will become.
Historically, the skateboarding community never commanded respect from the other “real” sports. Outsiders did not believe in it nor should be included in the epitome of sports competition, the Olympics. The close community advocated for skateboarding to be included in the games and remained steadily persistent in true skateboarder fashion.
After years of debate, finally, skateboarding will debut for competition in 2020 in Tokyo (fact 4). This goal captures the passion and motivation skateboarders possess. Tony Hawk, the god of skateboarding, revolutionized the sport forever and described his feelings on the Olympics.
“I have confidence that it will inspire a new, diverse generation to embrace skateboarding as a lifestyle, a culture and an art form. Some will consider it a sport from the get-go, but perhaps that’s what it takes to introduce skating into countries that don’t readily understand the intrinsic values it can teach: determination, creativity, self-confidence, perseverance and a sense of community among uniquely creative individuals,” Hawk said (link here).
Skateboarding is more than a sport. The values and lessons learned along the way promote a healthy lifestyle. With any major challenge in life, when you fall or fail in any way, you must get back up and learn from your mistakes.