I’m sure we’ve all heard people talk about how skateboarding has enriched their life. How it has given them many great friendships, how they see the world differently because of it, and how they now redefine everything around them by seeing this concrete jungle as something to be skated on; a stair set is not just something to be walked on, but a playground that has endless potential, etc.. All these things are great and they give us a sense of awe and wonder toward skateboarding, but what can we learn from it in a way that makes us better people? Is there any wisdom in skating that we could say allows us to live in a way that we wouldn’t be able to if we never became skateboarders?
Skateboarding tends to be seen as a burnout culture, a culture that is full of high school dropouts and stoners, and for the most part, that assumption is not exactly false. Just look at the graphics on most of the top brands, and we’ll see what the values of a skateboarder tend to be. Even though this assumption or stereotype may be true, there is a lot of good in skateboarding, we just have to look a little deeper.
One good characteristic that comes from skateboarding is that we understand the value of being a good risk-taker. If we look at the most successful business people in the world, as well as the most successful skateboarders, an underlining theme for both is that they are good at taking risks. In skateboarding, not only is being a good risk taker crucial to our progression, but skateboarding is a lot more fun when we are taking those risks. When I go to a park and just cruise around and stick to what’s easy, I get bored really fast. The excitement in skateboarding comes from taking risks, and it’s the same in everyday life. If we are not taking risks and making investments in order to progress in life, then we are pretty much doomed to a life of monotony and boredom. The skateboarder risks their body for some excitement and progression, the everyday person risks their time and money for some excitement and improvement to their standard of living.
One more thing along these lines, is that skateboarding exercises our ability to deal with failure. The willingness to trod on and give it another try after we have already thrown ourselves down an obstacle a hundred times, and for some reason, continue to press on in hope of victory, is a great character trait in it of itself. Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before he invented the lightbulb, and he is famous for saying, “I did not fail, I just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” Being able to deal with failure is a crucial part of moving forward, and skateboarding exercises this in our character.
In my experiences, skateboarding is a beautiful thing that has taught me a lot and has made me a person that is better equipped to handle the difficulties of life. There are many life lessons to be learned beyond the board, we just have to look a little deeper.