More Respect for Skater Freaks
The wheels of the board grind across the asphalt pavement, carrying its rider across the parking lot. His loose clothes rustle in the breeze, and his hair flies around his face until he puts on his baseball cap to control it. In one fluid movement, he pushes on the back of his board, curls his front foot, and leaps into the air. But the board seems to have a mind of its own and tangles itself in his feet. SMACK!! The skater's arm rakes across the pavement as he hits the ground-"road rash." The boy gets back up, returns his cap to his head, and continues to skate with hardly any hesitation. Skating is not a safe and sheltered hobby like collecting stamps or baseball cards; it requires much determination and concentration.
At first glance, most skaters seem to be the typical stereotyped version of "skater freaks," the way most adults see them. They wear long hair, loose clothes, and, of course, the typical skater shoes (Vans or Airwalks or some similar brand). However, according to one skater, there is a difference between someone who skates and the stereotype. "They do the fashion thing . . . Super Duper baggy pants, backwards caps, and, what annoys me the most, boxers hanging out of the back of their pants!" says Lee, one skater I have talked to.
Lee is about 5'11" with blue eyes and light brown hair hanging down the sides of his face to about his chin and shaved in the back. He is sitting at a table in Papa's Pizza restaurant after closing hours with me and fellow skater, Eric Turnbull. Eric has chin-length light blond hair and clear, bright blue eyes. Both of them are still in their work clothes, but considering the fact that their "uniform"...
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...tempting to show me how it is done. Lee is moving his fingers around the table as if they were a person's feet skating, and Eric is still awkwardly trying to show the tricks without his board. Although it is quite entertaining for me, during all of this commotion, they manage to completely confuse themselves.
After talking to them about their hobby, I no longer saw them as just "skater freaks"; I realized just how hard working and determined they are. When they skate, it's almost like a well-choreographed dance; their graceful movements and acrobatic leaps betray their hard-core appearances. Their skating is a series of motions rehearsed to perfection. I would like to see more people look beyond their clothes and hair and see the years of hard work and practice that these people put into their skating. Respect is the least thing we can give them.