It was a different time.
When I started skateboarding in the eighties, my municipality had essentially outlawed skateboarding. In an attempt to rid the streets of the four wheeled scourge, the city sent it’s ‘finest’ out to serve and protect the masses from youthful exuberance.
We were not allowed on suburban streets.
We were not allowed on sidewalks.
Skateparks did not exist.
And private property?
There we were met by security guards armed with a flashlight and a walkie talkie.
As these marginally employed powerless people chased us from one place to another. As they did, we ridiculed their powerlessness with out favourite joke: STOP! OR I’LL SAY STOP AGAIN!
Most of our time was spent running from the police, security guards and our teachers.
Now, with support, skateboarding is in the Olympics.
Now, everywhere I turn, I see a new place for people to play.
Now almost every reel I see on my phone features tricks and innovations that would have been unthinkable back then.
Imagine what it would have been like had the ‘adults’ of the day responded with support rather than fear and condemnation.
We had cops and security guards stopping us from playing.
We broke the law.
We dug in our heels.
And now I can watch Tony Hawk talk about skating on national news.
If it’s good fun and does little harm, keep going.
It’s likely that the only cops are there, with you, in your head.
Imagine they are security guards, powerless and pathetic, shouting:
STOP! OR I’LL SAY STOP AGAIN!