Skateboarders Nationwide Restless; A Problem That Needs Attention? Skateboarding. A sport that only requires a board and four wheels. One needs only seventy to one hundred dollars to get one. It seems pretty simple, doesn " tit? Well it's not, and for one important reason.
On a typical day, a skateboarder usually gets up at about 10 a. m. , throws their board in the trunk of their car, puts a Bad Religion tape in the tape player, picks up several other skaters and sets off to find a good spot to aggressively push their bodies to doing the unthinkable. Defying gravity, stretching the laws of physics and subjecting themselves to much physical pain and discipline all ina day's work. Everyone takes turns trying new moves and cheering each other on, a sport with no pressure to do better than anyone else, there are no winners or losers.
You skate until you are exhausted, and go to bed early only to wake up and repeat the process the next morning. Skateboarders are mostly straight-edge, which means that they do not use drugs, or alcohol. This is because skateboarding, and improving requires almost constant practice. This determination in only clouded by the effects of drugs.
Anyway when one performs an intricate maneuver flawlessly, the rush is greater than any pot or coke. Unfortunately, this cannot happen when a skater is denied access to their sanctuaries, there favorite spot. A good example is given by Johnston foster- 'Last summer, me and some friends were skating at Phi Beta Kappa Hall, the theater at the College of William and Mary. I pulled a phat 360 kick flip down the three steps out front. The session was hot, we were all on (landing most attempted tricks) and it wasn't too hot out side.
We all sat down to rest and then heard sirens in the distance. We saw a blue and white William and Mary Police officers' car pull into the parking lot. We got ready to run, but then realized it was too late. The officer made generalizations and decided that we are the skateboarders that previous complaints had been made about. Not listening to our sides of the story, the officer proceeded to write me and five others, ages ranging from 11-17 trespass warnings, stating that were not allowed to be on the William and Mary campus for a year. The thing that sucks is that we had never been asked to leave by anyone before, no one at Phi Beta warned us and no signs were posted.
How could she do that? How are we supposed to practice with such unnecessary consequences? It's really frustrating. @ (interview Foster) Good areas to skate are few and far between in most cities. A good spot (place to skate) has curbs and ledges (preferably made out of marble), stairs with hand-rails and lots of flat, smooth concrete. Also, skaters prefer drop-offs from sidewalks, or 'banks', which are inclinations which are used to separate uneven levels in parking garages, tennis courts or parking lots. These things that make up the composition of a good spot. Good spots are usually schools, hotels, college campuses or business plazas, which are all illegal to skate.
They are illegal to skate for a few reasons. When a skateboarder practices with his friends, called a 'session', they usually fly down stairs, and grind on curbs or handrails. Grinding requires jumping up onto a ledge, curb or handrail and scraping the metal wheel connectors, called 'trucks' on the edge of the object, and then jumping down with a smooth landing. Well, this 'grinding " scrapes the paint off of the curbs or handrails and chips expensive marble ledges. This is destruction of private property as well as trespassing and can result in lawsuits, fines, or being arrested.
Many local skateboarders sympathize with Johnston Foster's opinions on a lack of area to practice. Billy Sheeran commented on the subject, AThe nearest functional skateboard park is located in Hampton (Virginia), and many skateboarders are too young to drive. @ (interview Sheeran) Many reasons tie into the need for a local public skateboard areas. A local skate park can help keep local skaters out of trouble, and keep local businesses and Police officers happy. Skateboarders have this problem of a lack of area to practice because of the many rules and regulations making it illegal to skateboard. Many different factors tie into the limited area to skate.
One factor is the Virginia state law number 46. 2-932. The law states ANo person shall play on a highway, other than on the sidewalks thereof, within a city or town or on any part of a highway outside the limits of a city or town designated by the Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner exclusively for vehicular travel@ (interview Davis). Many people are aware of the lack of areas for skateboarding, A Williamsburg police officer, Lt. Doug Davis, said that he is sympathetic to the skateboarders' problem and knows they have nowhere to go. (interview Davis) This problem is not just evident in Williamsburg.
Michael Price, a principal of middle school in California, often has to ask skateboarders to leave and say she would prefer to offer them an alternative site, but doesn't know of any place public or private where they can go. (Rodgers 95) Quinn Taylor, a sixteen year old Williamsburg skateboarder said, Kids get discouraged when they get kicked out of a good spot. When kids get bored, they usually start to find other things to do, such as go tagging (vandalizing with spray paint) or start using drugs. @ (interview Taylor).
A skater in Leesburg, Va named Phillip Beam provided a similar response, AIf you keep getting kicked out, it becomes pointless to continue trying. @ AAnd most people just get idle. That's when people get turned on to drugs and alcohol. @ 'They do this to take up the hours they used to spend skating, and try to get the rush they used to feel.' (Chandrasekaran 95).
The City of Williamsburg Police Department reported that most of the calls they receive involving skateboarders are when skateboarders skate on privately owned property such as schools and businesses. These areas are the most desired by skateboarders because of their handrails, planters, steps and curbs. (Matsuda 95) A San Diego newspaper commented on the same subject, AMore often than not, skateboarders practice their sport illegally by sneaking onto school campuses, parking garages or other places with an abundance of hard scape@. (Rodgers 95) Enough complaints lead to city ordinances outlawing skateboarding. The cities dub these laws as Laws to protect quality of life@. North Arlington recently adopted an ordinance banning skateboarding on public property.
(Tedeschi 95) Another example is how Tampa, Florida recently banned skateboarding in it's downtown area. (Lammers 95) Lt. Doug Davis offered some insight as to why business owners became be so upset with skateboarders invading their parking lots and sidewalks. Lt. Davis commented that the merchants are worried about business being driven away and liability problems that might occur if a pedestrian was injured by a careless speeding skateboarder. (interview Davis) He said A Older people aren't used to kids whizzing by on skateboards, they can't move very fast and are afraid they might get hit.
People will sue you for anything. @ (interview Davis) These problems support the local need for a public area for skateboarders to practice. Billy Sheeran, 16, said he would even be happy with a smooth parking lot where they could bring obstacles to skate. (interview Sheeran) In Indianapolis, the city council recently proposed a local skateboard park. The idea is greatly accepted by the inhabitants of the town, including Bryan Howard, 18, who said AThe Broad Ripple park idea is prime. It's beautiful.
@ AAs long as we can go into the park, we can lose Broad Ripple (a local business area where people skate). @ (O'Neal 95). Another local skateboarder in the same area said AWe " re just having fun with no real place to go. @ AIf they made a skate park, it would help. We hang out in Broad Ripple because it's the only place togo. @ (O'Neal 95).
David Kersey, a skater in Leesburg, Virginia said AWe don't want to cause trouble, we " re just looking for a place to skate. @ (Chandrasekaran 95). The town officials in Leesburg are studying the feasibility of a skateboarding and rollerblading area as we speak. The idea of constructing a Williamsburg skateboarding area is very possible. Lt.
Davis commented on the topic, AIt's worth a try in my opinion. I don " think anyone has ever approached the city council before. @ (interview Davis). A Williamsburg skater, Quinn Taylor, 16, said a local skateboard park would be great because it could provide teenagers with jobs and give kids a place to go, keeping them out of trouble.
(interview Taylor) If the suggestion of a skateboarding area was brought up at a city council meeting and was approved, Taylor said that the local skaters should be able to provide input and would be glad to help raise money or help with construction. (interview Taylor) This would be useful to the success of the idea because when the city of Davis, California opened a skateboard park in 1992, the design was out of date, and because of this, the skateboard park is not used as often as was expected. (Matsuda 94). Even with current parks built in coordination with local skaters, one must contemplate whether or the kids will want to be limited to a small area. Skateboarding requires grace, dedication and inspiration. This may not be easily achieved with having to travel to a skate park, or abiding by annoying rules that skate parks require (such as wearing protective gear).
With proper supervision and help from the local skateboarders, at least the skaters all across the country will at least have one guaranteed option. Works CitedChandrasekaran, Rajiv. ASkateboarders seek pavement. @ Washington Post 20 April 1995, sec.
Weekly-Virginia: V 1 Davis, Doug. Interview, October 24 th, 1996 Foster, Johnston. Interview, October 23, 1996 Lammers, Dirk. ASkateboarders learn freestyle had price, Police say this week they " ll step up enforcement of the downtown skateboard ban.
@ The Tampa Tribune 3 April 1995, sec. Peninsula: 1 Matsuda, Jeff. Skateboard Sanctuary@ Sacramento Bee 28 April, 1994, sec. Neighbors: N 1 O'Neal, Kevin. Council bans skateboards, Broad Ripple business owners had complained. @ The Indianapolis News 18 July 1995, sec.
News: A 1. Rodgers, Terry. ASkateboarders practice craft under cloud. @ The San Diego Union-Tribune 28 December 1995, sec. Local: B-1.
Sheeran, William. Interview. October 23, 1996 Taylor, Quinn. Interview, October 23, 1996.