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If you’re reading this, then chances are you’re looking to get a better scope on what this whole “skateboarding” craze is about. Maybe you’ve heard your kid talking about wanting to learn to skate instead of signing up for another season of peewee football, or maybe they’ve even been bugging you to take them to the skatepark recently and now you’re panicking.

Skateboarding? You think to yourself. No coach? No teams? No trophies? Doesn’t sound like the childhood I had. Is it even a real sport? As a parent, these are all perfectly acceptable reservations to have. When signing up for afterschool sports and activities, you want something that will both engage and enrich your child, and as far as organized sports go, skateboarding is admittedly loose on the organized aspect. But just because skateboarding lacks rules, does not mean it lacks lessons.

Skateboarding is much more than a hobby. It is a way to learn discipline, make friends, and build confidence in oneself. But don’t just take my word for it. Jerry Seinfeld, arguably the most successful comedian to ever take the stage, had this to say about skateboarding while interviewing fellow comedian Chris Rock for his series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee:

Jerry: “I tell ya one of the great activities is skateboarding. To learn to do a skateboard trick, how many times do ya gotta get something wrong till you get it right?

Chris: “And you’re fallin’ and you hurt yourself.”

Jerry: “-And you hurt yourself, and if you learn how to do that trick, now you got a life lesson. Whenever I see those skateboard kids, I think those kids will be alright.”

Chris: “Yeah.”

Thanks for the endorsement Seinfeld! See, although Jerry admits that skateboarding poses certain risks, he also realizes the overwhelming benefits of skateboarding as well. Like most things worth doing, skateboarding is not easy. Progress can be painfully slow, cuts and scrapes should be expected, and you won’t always land the trick. Still, rather than look at these as a case to be made against skateboarding, I believe that these are precisely what make skateboarding great.

Imagine an outlet that not only engages your child, but does so without stigmatizing their mistakes. One that encourages self expression, experimentation, and problem-solving. Just imagine an activity that doesn’t hold the only view of success as being better than anyone else. An activity that focuses on individual benchmarks, yet still promotes social skills and has a cohesive and encouraging community. It sounds like what every parent is looking for!

I have skateboarding to thank for many of the best parts of my life. The friends I’ve made, the places I’ve traveled, and the self confidence I’ve gained are all invaluable experiences that have enriched my life over the past fifteen years.

I hope that this post allows you to see the benefits of skateboarding, but again, you don’t have to take my word for it (or even Jerry Seinfeld’s word for that matter). I invite you, yeah you, to try skateboarding if you haven’t yet. The friendships made and lessons learned are not limited to children. Regardless of your age, now is the perfect time to start you new favorite activity.

-Kyle Garlock

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