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Skateboarding Not A Crime Essay

     NO SKATEBOARDING. These signs are posted throughout most cities, but does one ever a see a NO FOOTBALL sign or a NO BASEBALL sign? No. The reason behind this is that these are sports excepted by the general public. People say that perhaps a skateboard could go flying off into a crowd and injure a bystander, but couldn�t the same thing happen with a baseball or football? Yes, and that�s why skateboarding should be looked upon as a sport just like any other sport.

     Skateboarding can cause damage to property. Street curbs are sometimes waxed for grinding and over time that curb will appear tarnished and worn. But don�t all sports come with the possibility of property being damaged. For example, a baseball through a window or a football denting the door of a car. If an individual is caught skateboarding, their board is confiscated and a $60 fine is issued. If people are throwing a ball back and forth or a child is playing a game of frisbee with his father they are not reprimanded. The reason for this is that people, who are ignorant to the sport, feel that these activities add to the goodness of the community while skateboarding diminishes its value.

     Peoples� first opinions of skateboarders is not positive. People see a gang of kids wearing baggy clothes and immediately the word �hoodlum� pops into their heads. These individuals refuse to focus on the skill involved in the sport. There are many different tricks involved in skateboarding that take years and years of practice, and having no place to practice and constantly looking out for the police makes it even harder to master these hard tricks. Football consists of a bunch of big guys trying to hurt each other, and this is glorified. If a child picks up football he is viewed as an athlete, but why is it that when a child picks up a skateboard he is seen as a criminal?

     The world today is basically unable to provide for the needs of teenagers. A prime example of this would be a local park that offers a baseball field and open grassy areas for activities such as football, but if one looks around that park it won�t be long before their eyes rest on a NO SKATEBOARDING sign. Teenagers are generally looked upon as bad. Skateboarding should be looked upon as a blessing because it gives teens something to do. A group of teens could be out getting drunk or getting high, but no, they decide to skate - and yet they are still doing something illegal.

     The main thing that needs to happen is that skateboarding needs to be recognized as involving skill and practice just like any other sport. During the past few years skateboarding has been getting some positive feedback. Television programs on channels such as MTV and ESPN are embracing it as a sport. This recognition is great, but people still need to open their eyes and look past the opinion of the general public.

Tony Hawk got his first skateboard when he was 9 years old. Five years later, he turned pro. Hawk's autobiography and video games have been best sellers, while his foundation has funded skate-park construction in low-income communities across America. hide caption

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I believe that people should take pride in what they do, even if it is scorned or misunderstood by the public at large.

I have been a professional skateboarder for 24 years. For much of that time, the activity that paid my rent and gave me my greatest joy was tagged with many labels, most of which were ugly. It was a kids' fad, a waste of time, a dangerous pursuit, a crime.

When I was about 17, three years after I turned pro, my high school "careers" teacher scolded me in front of the entire class about jumping ahead in my workbook. He told me that I would never make it in the workplace if I didn't follow directions explicitly. He said I'd never make a living as a skateboarder, so it seemed to him that my future was bleak.

Even during those dark years, I never stopped riding my skateboard and never stopped progressing as a skater. There have been many, many times when I've been frustrated because I can't land a maneuver. I've come to realize that the only way to master something is to keep it at — despite the bloody knees, despite the twisted ankles, despite the mocking crowds.

Skateboarding has gained mainstream recognition in recent years, but it still has negative stereotypes. The pro skaters I know are responsible members of society. Many of them are fathers, homeowners, world travelers and successful entrepreneurs. Their hairdos and tattoos are simply part of our culture, even when they raise eyebrows during PTA meetings.

So here I am, 38 years old, a husband and father of three, with a lengthy list of responsibilities and obligations. And although I have many job titles — CEO, Executive Producer, Senior Consultant, Foundation Chairman, Bad Actor — the one I am most proud of is "Professional Skateboarder." It's the one I write on surveys and customs forms, even though I often end up in a secondary security checkpoint.

My youngest son's pre-school class was recently asked what their dads do for work. The responses were things like, "My dad sells money" and "My dad figures stuff out." My son said, "I've never seen my dad do work."

It's true. Skateboarding doesn't seem like real work, but I'm proud of what I do. My parents never once questioned the practicality behind my passion, even when I had to scrape together gas money and regarded dinner at Taco Bell as a big night out.

I hope to pass on the same lesson to my children someday. Find the thing you love. My oldest son is an avid skater and he's really gifted for a 13-year-old, but there's a lot of pressure on him. He used to skate for endorsements, but now he brushes all that stuff aside. He just skates for fun and that's good enough for me.

You might not make it to the top, but if you are doing what you love, there is much more happiness there than being rich or famous.