When you visit your local skatepark, you probably won’t see any scoreboards. You probably won’t see any referees, or goal posts either, and that seems to be a theme within skateboarding. It’s almost like, all the things other sports need in order to function; like scorekeepers and coaches, are obsolete to skateboarders.
But what is it that makes skateboarding so special? No points to score, no jerseys to wear, no smelly locker room speeches to endure, how did we get so lucky? The answer I believe, is pretty obvious: skateboarders want to skate and we don’t need coaches to convince us to do it. And although this answer may seem painfully obvious to anyone reading, It only became so clear to me at our most recent Square State lock-in.
The session inside the SquareHouse last weekend was absolute pandemonium, just a blur of boards flying and BBQ being eaten. It was so much fun. The session centered around a pair of daunting blue curbs and kids and counselors alike were attempting to boardslide through both. Things got squirrely when the group decided to adjust the curbs to an increasingly harsher angle periodically (sort of like a game of boardslide limbo. Whoever could make it through the harshest angle got a new board and some well deserved street credit).
Sure a new board is an enticing prize for any skater, but what fired up that session and what kept it going with such intensity was not the thought of winning a new board. It was healthy sense of camaraderie felt by everyone in the session.
Why do I know that? It’s the same reason why our community doesn’t need referees or coaches, or 7th inning stretches. The dozen or so skaters attacked those blues curbs well past the point of good judgement simply because they were having fun doing so. The group wasn’t competing against one another, they were sessioning alongside one another. Each time someone fell, someone from the group would help them up. And each skater to make it through the curbs unscathed was met with cheers and high fives.
This feeling of good sportsmanship and camaraderie is the heartbeat of any great skate session, and you’ll know if you’re in the midst of a good session if you hear these four words: “I got your back!” Those four words epitomize everything that’s right with skateboarding. “I got your back” is our way of supporting our friends while challenging ourselves. It’s motivating in a way that points and coaches never could be in skateboarding. It’s what makes a skateboard such a good friend-maker.
The best part of this story is that these sort of sessions are not rare occurrences. In fact, the act of going skateboarding and the possibility of having a good time with friends, pretty much go hand in hand with each other. Even if you’re not having a particularly good skate day, a crew of a few good friends can change the whole day. Some high fives get thrown around, some tricks get landed, and before you know it, your friends are making you feel like you could street plant a 12 stair. Or, maybe nobody lands anything. But hey, you’re still skating with your friends, which is never a bad thing, right?
“I got your back!”