One of the hardest parts about skateboarding is trying to skate on the streets. Security guards always kick us out, cops get called on us, sometimes we get tickets, and occasionally even arrested. My worst experience ever with this happened when I was about 16. Me and a couple friends were skating this school in my hometown of Victorville, CA called Brentwood Elementary. We didn’t grow up with a skate park to go to, so the streets was all we had, our skate parks were schools, churches, shopping plazas and whatever else we could find. Brentwood was a bit known for having the cops show up unexpectedly, but we couldn’t resist the precious 3 block on the inside that we loved to flip our boards down. As a bunch of 15 and 16 year olds that didn’t know any better, anytime the cops would get called on us, we would always take off running. Most days we would get away, but this time we weren’t so lucky. There were about 7 or 8 of us at the school this time, and as soon as we heard the cops coming, (as our usual routine was) we took off running, but unfortunately, two of my friends and I happened to be the unlucky ones that got caught. Getting caught by the cops after running is bad enough, but it just so happened that we had to get caught by the worst cop that has ever put on a badge. He gave us all full, intense searches, so much so that I kept fidgeting because he would get a little too close for comfort in the crotch area, which he replied with, “If you move one more time I’m going to slam your face into this f***ing car,” and after he searched us he put us in the backseat of the cop car. Keep in mind that as a couple of 15 and 16 year olds, we had no idea what was about to happen, we weren’t sure if we were about to go to the police station, go to jail, or what. But fortunately all he did was call our parents to come pick us up while we waited in the cop car. When our parents got there he accused us of vandalizing the bathrooms, tagging up graffiti all over the school, and stealing things out of the classrooms. And he told us that if anything get’s reported in the next 7 days then we would get blamed for it, which thankfully never happened. Luckily my mom understood that all we were there to do was just jump down our precious 3 block, and not to do any gnarly vandalism or theft, so my mom kind of laughed off the whole matter and thought the cop was a little crazy.
As crazy as this cop seemed to be, I can see why he would be so quick to accuse us of theft and vandalism, for people that don’t understand skateboarders, all they see is kids trespassing on the inside of the school, and when things get vandalized or stolen, their thinking is, “well it must have been the skateboarders that I always see in there.” A thief or a vandal though, is not going to want to hang out inside of a school for hours and make a bunch of noise, so it shouldn’t be hard to distinguish between a skateboarder and a thief/vandal. Someone that does understand skateboarders, like my mom, can distinguish what a skateboarder is inside a school to do between a thief and a vandal. The cop couldn’t, so as a result, we got treated like criminals, not like a group of kids that were just trying to have some fun on some stairs. I have dealt with many understanding cops as a skateboarder, and getting kicked out by understanding cops is always a much more pleasant experience than with one that doesn’t. When people don’t understand something or someone, that misunderstanding is usually always met with ridicule and persecution.
As a Christian, we too will get ridiculed and persecuted by the people that don’t understand Christianity, partly because Christians are different than the rest of the world, and partly because we get lumped into the same category as in-genuine, hateful Christians that the world can’t distinguish between. Paul says in 1 Timothy 3:12, “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” For the non-christian, all they see in a Christian is just some weird person who bases his or her whole life around something they can’t see, or someone with morals they don’t understand, like “not having sex till you’re married.” And just like how skateboarders get associated with the vandals and thieves that they have to share a playground with, Christians share a playground and get associated with hateful, in-genuine Christians like these that are by no means representing Christ correctly:
People will always ridicule and persecute people that they don’t understand, and there will always be people that we have to share a playground or similar lifestyle with that causes us to get associated with a negative and destructive group of people. As Christians though, we are rewarded for putting up with the ridicule from people; Jesus says in Matthew 5:11-12, “Blessed are you when others revile and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.” If skateboarders can stay strong and keep going into those private properties to skate those concrete paradises, with the reward just being a new trick on film, than how much more the Christian? A genuine skateboarder will always be persecuted for skating on the streets, and a genuine Christian will always be persecuted for living a life that is contrary to popular culture, but there is always a reward awaiting those who stay strong and prevail.