By Stephen Morrison
I still haven’t found an activity that offers more opportunity to kids at such a young age than skateboarding. I started to skate and play basketball around the same age. As I continued doing both through middle school, I saw all the creative outlets skateboarding had to offer open up. The only thing skateboarding required was to keep doing it, keep participating. Meanwhile, all the doors to participating in basketball started to close. Qualifying for school teams, keeping your spot on the team, traveling, physical ability and attributes. All these things were designed to keep people from participating.
Creativity, community and change are born into all aspects of skateboarding and there are so many different avenues to explore. It starts with the physical activity. How you skate is an expression of who you are and what you like, and there are other ways to contribute if the physical isn’t your thing. You can make artwork for the board, or the videos and magazines. Redesigning the board. Repurposing objects in your environment to designing and building your own environment. Skateboarders end up diving into what, why and how their activity works.
In 1994, there were four or five public skateparks in the Bay Area, all of which were at least a 45-minute drive away from Alameda. Through an Alameda High School program called the “Home Project,” students got together and held demos, went door to door getting signatures, and motivated the city to donate land from the Alameda Navy base and about $25,000 for supplies for a public skatepark. The skaters and people who supported them poured the concrete and built the park. Now, its age is showing and it’s not the best park. There are better parks within a ten minute drive, but 22 years later people still enjoy skating it for what it is. But this story isn’t specific to the Bay Area. Towns and cities all over the world have similar histories. As a result I have an ever growing list of destinations that I want to visit. That’s what it’s like to skateboard and be a skateboarder the word over. Let’s use these lemons and make some lemonade.