I’m skating tomorrow, and I’ve told friends where I’ll be. I hope some of them will show up and skate with me, but no one has said they’ll be there for sure.
That doesn’t concern me now, but I can remember a time when the thought of showing up at a park on my own terrified me. On my first trip to a skatepark, I watched through the fence. I was simply too afraid to go in. My heart was racing. The park looked challenging, but the thing that really freaked me out was the hoards of teen-aged skateboarders that ruled the park. The skaters looked really aggressive to me, as a beginner. They skated fast and furious, they took hard slams, and their boards sometimes flew out of control. Some were smoking, they were sweaty and dirty, and some swore and threw their boards as they missed a trick for the hundredth time. They seemed utterly fierce from my vantage point outside the fence. I imagined it was possible that some wouldn’t appreciate the fact that I was there to skate, and might even try to “teach me a lesson.”
To ease my nerves, I hired a 16-year-old neighbor to give me a lesson at the park. None of my fears turned out to be true. The other skaters either ignored me during my lesson, or complimented me as I rolled up and down banks for the first time.
Since that time, I’ve skated at hundreds of parks across the nation, and I’ve never felt unwelcome. Most people I meet are very friendly, and stoked to see another skater at the park. They tap their boards on coping as a sign of respect when I make my trick, as I do for them. If you ask, they are usually happy to show you a line, or to offer a trick tip. The kids follow me around and tell me they wish their moms would skate!
So, I won’t be upset if I see only strangers when I show up at the park tomorrow. I’ll session the bowl and, before you know it, I’ll have made a couple more friends.
Patti skating the park in Heber City, Utah