By Eric Hongisto
For 33 years, skateboarding has been the ultimate teacher. From tic-tacking in my parent’s driveway, to grinding Boston’s 15’ deep community swimming pool, this activity has provided many memories. Beyond the physical health that skateboarding gives, this activity is also a problem solving and critical thinking area.
In the northeast, winter was a tough situation; because of sand, snow and ice, we spent countless hours drawing architectural skateboard ramps. When spring arrived, we would build out these plans; learning hand and power tools. To fund these projects, we worked part-time afterschool jobs. We were forced to budget out for boards, wheels and trucks. We used our skateboard equipment to the point of product failure. This gave us real world budgeting skills.
As we matured into car driving maniacs, we would road trip to indoor skate parks, or to warmer climes down the east coast. During the lean times of the 90’s, we would take annual trips all the way from Maine to Florida, just to find dry concrete. We met other die- hard skateboarders, traded stickers, found out about new spots, made mental notes on which spots had mean guard dogs, friendly security officers, and which towns gave out tickets for being downtown. This free urban education gave us geographical and social knowledge.
Drawing graphics, making DIY stickers, cutting blank skateboard decks into your personal shape was very much part of the culture. During my college days, I switched my major to fine art/architecture. Looking back, this was largely due to a love of skateboarding and the associated activities surrounding this culture. Without skating, I probably wouldn’t have gone to college and become a college professor.
Don’t forget to cheer on your friends for cool tricks. Don’t forget to pad and helmet up for skateboarding. Go build a little ramp. Grind a curb. Smell the wheels after a power slide.