Skateboarders are everywhere aren’t they? What a nuisance. Ollie jumps off walls, grinder flips down stairs, Mc twists into grannies and don’t even get me started on the clothing…, Satan’s spawn I tell ya. Vile, destructive, misled youth, a scourge upon our peaceful communities. The worst of the worst, evil personified… apart from the fact that they’re not. As much as many people would like to think, they are not quite rapists yet. Not yet peadophiles, not yet abhorrent racists, not yet religious sex attackers, not yet full bore junkies and not yet bankers, or for that matter, politicians. Yes, all these aspirational futures may dwell deep within all human beings but a lot of these boys and girls are not quite there yet. So why on Earth are they seen as such? Twisted media portrayal? Ingrained populace fear? General lack of understanding or is it just jealousy?
I have never known any one member of society as determined as a skateboarder.
‘Really’ you might be thinking, ‘those silly fucking idiots wearing stupid clothing clattering about on those “wheelie-board” thingies?’… Yeah, those guys. I can give you a great example of what I mean and I can assure that anyone who knows anything about skateboarding will easily agree.
Google “Danny Way”. You can either do it now or wait till you’ve read this and you’ll see what I mean. There are hundreds of skateboarders that have left a serious impact on the world and I can use anyone of those to illustrate my point but lets go with “Danny Way” for now.
This is a man who has definitely been living life to the ‘max’. This guy has got life’s balls in a vice like grip. He wins some competitions in the late 80’s, gets Tharasher’s Skater of the year in ’91 and then breaks his neck in ’94 riding a motor-cross bike. After being told he may never walk again he spends the following year in recovery and starts to walk again. He actually enters a competition and comes second. I mean… Fuck me! This guy is determined. I think everyone really wanted to give him first place just for the sheer gusto this guy had for pulling himself out of purgatory but everyone has to play fair i suppose. Anyway, he goes on to get a world record for “Biggest Air” then he bomb drops out of a helicopter into a half pipe (jumps. out. of. a. fucking. helicopter!) then carries on to gain numerous world records for long distance and height, I might as well throw in that he got the land speed record on a skateboard here too, a whole bunch of X-Games medals, and you’ve got your self a pretty serious contender for the “I’m slightly determined” award. I forgot to mention something, it’s only small and not that important… like… y’know… no biggie or whatever.
Mr Way is the first, and still, the only person, so far, to jump over the Great Wall of China on a skateboard. Whats that you say? Still not impressed? OK you miserable waste of space, fine. Danny way jumps the Great wall of China… with a broken ankle. A broken fucking ankle!
If you can’t appreciate this level of commitment, this insane quality of “get up and go”, this “never say die” attitude then you’re dead inside. Every skater has this cast iron will within them, maybe not to quite the same level of Danny way, I grant you, but it is there. Yeah Ok, often there is a fair amount of weed that might need to be smoked and maybe a few beers that need to be had and possibly some out of date crisps and sweets from the corner shop might be involved too, but don’t underestimate these people. This lot will give themselves a really good kicking and get back up for another few rounds with their own worst demons. They deserve respect for their ability to get back up and say to themselves, “just one more” (it’s always more like fifty).
For some, skating comes quite naturally, for the rest? It’s not so easy. Some spend all day, days, weeks, months and even years trying to learn and perfect certain tricks. Tricks are learnt and just as easily forgotten as new ideas come through. Fun is the ultimate game with a huge coating of satisfaction brown in for good measure. If Mozart had had a skateboard then I know for certain there would be amphitheatres where the elite of the world would dress up in their tuxedos and ball gowns and they would applaud the live Opera being performed out in front of them. It might well be an Olympic sport already.
The level of athleticism is second to none.(Ninjas possibly ranking higher but even then I think skaters might still win in a fight, check out Neen Williams’ heelflip – Bruce Lee would be shitting it)
I personally don’t feel it should be an Olympic sport just down to the fact that each skater has such a personal style. My fear would be that the entity that is “skateboarding” would become homogenised and soulless. Its unique character may well be lost. Some say it has already been lost. Some people already argue that the industry has been corrupted by global sports brands, that we are already heading down this very steep mega ramp to vanilla oblivion. Because of this sterilisation of a counter-culture though, we have a counter-culture growing within. Like a parasite feeding off a fungus, there is a new blooming fungus feeding off of the said parasite and here we have the resurgence of skater owned brands again. Lots of the main brands within skateboarding started like this but they are not allowed to be “cool” anymore. It’s ok though, they will just become “retro” and kind of cool again anyway(to the public at least), such is the nature of these things.(penny boards for example)
Skaters have more will and grit determination to succeed than anyone. Wether it’s hopping fences to get into forbidden spots or re-working landscaped areas to turn a non existent spot into something usable, these guys are architects of their world. Skating curbs, cars, walls, tackling roof spaces to a bank underneath a flyover, sewers (Ninja Turtles anyone) to traffic cones, stairs and rails to nuclear bunkers, high streets to abandoned warehouses, skaters know how to use their surroundings. The ultimate re-cyclers, everything is used and nothing goes to waste. This is a socially conscious group. Yes, there are problems but never has there been such an adaptable group of people that exist within our community. I would want my children to grow up with these ideals set in stone for sure.
If only we had politicians and world leaders that had this same fight for life for the good of mankind, where could we be?