And here's the thing - it's all right. A lot of people throw out the phrase, "Skateboarding is all about _____," and I'm sure they mean it. For them, it's true. But what fills that blank is different for each of us.
I read on a skateboarding forum recently where a guy was talking about how for him, skateboarding is like a religion. He feels that he gets the same feelings out of it that faith gives others. Now, I'm a believer myself, so I kinda want to react to that. I want to say, "No man, you don't get it! Faith is totally bigger. Skateboarding is more like ..." And here's where I'm wrong. I can't correct him, because for him, it's true. Maybe through skateboarding he finds peace. Maybe through skateboarding he touches God. How do I know?
I know other guys who say skating is all about discovery and creation. "Skate and Create." Other people say it's a way to channel anger and rage into something constructive. For still others, skateboarding is all about pushing yourself, forcing yourself to grow. Or maybe about danger and risk.
For me, skateboarding is about freedom. I never feel so free as when I'm ridin', alone at night, just the sound of my wheels. Nothing else matters.
For me, skateboarding is also about friends. People to push me, encourage me, in everything. A place to be.
Every skater has his or her own drive. Focus. Core. There's no right word for it, but that goes right along with what I'm saying.
Think about it, the next time you see someone skate in a way or with an attitude not like yours. They're still skaters. Still family. Whether 4 or 40, girl or boy, longboard or short. Hating gets us nowhere.
For a long time, one of the hallmarks of skaters has been our inclusiveness and defense of our own. I remember a couple of years ago, hangin' out at the skate park, and seein' a little black kid all padded up, trying to push along the edge of a bowl. He was trying hard, when he came across some older white kids. One of the teens looked down at the little grom (young beginner skater) and said, "New board?" The little kid lit up, and showed off his brand new Element complete skateboard. The older kids smiled, complimented it, and rode by. They were all skaters. That's all that mattered.
Remember that. Encourage each other. We're all a family. Save your hate for something else, focus it into your skating if you want, ride your way, and enjoy it all. It won't be long before you're too old, or too broken, or skateboarding has evolved and your style has been left in the dust.
So what's skateboarding all about? Only you can really answer that, but remember, life's too short for hate. Enjoy what you get out of skating - skate hard, love it all, and have fun! If you want to share what skateboarding is about to you, or read what other skaters have to say, check out Readers Respond: What's Skateboarding All About...