Making Skater Heaven

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I’m not being a grumpy old man about skateboarding. It’s just that they need a place.

I’m a fan of skateboarding: I watch the X-Games, I used to play the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series, and the history of skateboarding – Rodney Mullen, Jamie Thomas, Steve Caballero, Bob Burnquist – appeals to me. I don’t skate (and I can’t, for that matter), but I do appreciate the thrill of pushing the limits that comes with it.

At the same time, though, I don’t want to see anyone get hurt doing it. I’ve seen people twist their ankles on an ollie up the sidewalk. I’ve seen at least five skaters almost get crushed because they’re dodging cars while the “Do Not Cross” sign is on. I’ve seen two or three office workers get bumped by an errant skater.

I’ve overheard some conversations that skaters should be “banned” from BGC. I’m not so sure about that, though. The most authorities can do, I think, is to remind skaters to wear protective headgear and pads when they skate.

I could whine and moan and complain about it, but there’s too much of that in the blogosphere already. Too many people whine about bad blogger events, moan about the state that this country is in, and complain about GoPros and selfies and monopods (I’ll get to that last one soon).

Rather than do that, though, I’ll just say this: skaters need a place to skate in. If BGC can set up anything from traffic directions to smoking areas and invisible class barriers (whoops), it sure can make a skatepark happen.

I’m pretty sure that many lots in BGC have already been parceled and sold to developers, and will soon be turned to multistory parking buildings or condos or malls. But that doesn’t mean that a small parcel of land can be turned into a proper skatepark.

I think BGC should do that.

In that skatepark, they can build vert ramps, funboxes, rails, half pipes, quarter pipes, or what-have-you.  Then you can have companies like Vans or Zero or Volcom and independent local skateboarding companies set up shop there. Maybe put up enough walls for graffiti tagging. Or divide it into zones for casual skaters, advanced skaters, and hardcore competitors. The important thing is that skaters have a place to skate.

Maybe our local skaters can even set up skating clinics there to share knowledge, demo tricks, and more importantly keep it safe. BMX riders and inline skaters can also go there to have fun. Besides, a skatepark like that can attract so many other things that can breathe life in an otherwise antiseptic urban cocoon like BGC (more on that when I feel like it).

Best of all, skaters can then go here to tear it up for free: under the condition that they keep the park clean, safe, and in tip-top shape.

I don’t know how that will fly with local skaters, but there’s an idea. We avoid potential accidents on the road, skaters have a place to tear it up, no one has to “ban” skateboarding, everyone’s happy. A skater heaven: sounds like an idea to me.

What do you think?

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