The Trinity Church in Boston's Copley Square is world famous, that's for sure. Is it the world renown choir? Is it the Tiffany stained windows? Is it the 120-year-old spires? Well, maybe, but to a lot of young people, it's the velvety smooth pavement, it's the low, brown sandstone steps, it's the wheelchair ramps and metal railings.
"We're just trying to skateboard and we get hassled." They say, those young people on boards with wheels, which is one of the fastest-growing sports in America, with its own clothing, language and music, too. And, with its own damage to municipal property, too. In that aspect, skateboarding is not unlike bicycling, running, motorcycles, cars, and you-name-it. All take a wear and tear on property. The skateboarder's "natural terrain" involves standout structures and public places meant for something else. But, like everyone else, skateboarders utilize what's available. "Kids don't see the world in the same way that adults do. They see a beautiful marble ledge as being a great thing to jump off of," states Fran Edwards, director of Transworld Skateboard Magazine.
The Trinity Church is an amazing natural terrain for skateboarding. The streets of Newport are also outstanding. Boston Public Library's steps are awesome and irresistible, as are the steps of the government buildings in Washington, D.C. and Montpelier, VT. Of the 200 private skateboard parks that opened around the country, all but two are closed in fear of personal injury suits. But now skateboarding is being burgeoning as a street sport. Public skateboard parks are on the rise, while at the same time that many towns have tried to ban skateboarding. But trying to control skateboarders has been compared to "organizing earthworms." Skateboarders like to do their thing in public areas, and the sport draws a crowd. "The girls really like it." one said, smiling.
As these kids grow up, most of them abandon the skateboard for girls and cars. ("It's hard to make out on a skateboard.") Some states have passed laws exempting municipalities from law suits. The mecca of the sport is of course California. With all of the bruises, broken bones, head injuries, broken fingers and road burned skin, many states are starting to treat the sport as a "at your own risk" activity like surfing, skydiving, and spelunking. It keeps growing anyway.
Remember that not everyone looks at the world exactly as you do.
When you're so busy telling everyone how it really is, remember would you analzye the risk/reward of rolling down a forty-step granite stairway with all the talent and enjoyment you can muster in the rush of adrenalin and laughter and the sheer happiness of youth? Hey look, over there someone is coming out of the same church after a service, walking slowly down those same steps, solemn and sublime, in the peacefulness of maturity.
It's not always about you. Sometimes it's about life. Maybe it's always about life.
Varied, individual, satisfying life. Try to remember. It's our differences that make it all interesting.