Last week we explored some of the many benefits of skateboarding. As a sport, it is a great way for a child to learn self discipline and motor skills, and as a creative outlet, skateboarding offers a figurative blank canvas to explore creatively. In a nutshell, I argued that skateboarding’s lack of rules is precisely what makes it great in the first place.
“But Kyle, what do you have against rules?” I hear you say. “I played organized sports as a kid and I had to play by the rules, things turned out ok for me.”
Just calm down a second would ya? I was just getting to that before I was interrupted. My argument here is not that rules are bad, rather that a lack of rules can be good, and instead of just stating a vaguely redundant phrase and moving on, let me back up what I’m trying to say with a little help from a very trustworthy source.
Sir Ken Robinson is a pioneer in education. His work as a college professor, education advocate and bestselling author have made him a prominent voice in the discussion of children in schools, not to mention he has been knighted by the queen and has given the most popular TED talk of all time. Although he has not (at least to my knowledge) specifically talked about his opinion of skateboarding, I invite you to read the preceding passage from his TED talk Do Schools Kill Creativity? through the lense of skateboarding.
“Kids will take a chance. If they don’t know, they’ll have a go. They’re not frightened of being wrong. Now, I don’t mean to say that being wrong is the same thing as being creative. What we do know is, if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original. And by the time these kids get to be adults, most of them have lost that capacity.”
-Sir Ken Robinson
Beautifully stated. What skateboarding offers is the chance for kids (of all ages) to make mistakes, whether it’s falling on a trick or simply being suddenly jolted off the board by a crack in the sidewalk. Skateboarding allows us to fail without feeling embarrassed, to struggle without feeling like we lost.
Coincidentally, it’s these very same struggles within skateboarding that bring us together as a community. As skateboarders we wear our bruises and scrapes proudly because it’s those scrapes that remind us that even though we fell, we always got back up.
Imagine what you would try in your life if you weren’t afraid to fail. The ability to cope with adversities and hardships is a skill, and one that skateboarding helps refine without stigmatizing. It’s a lot like the quote from Pablo Picasso that goes “All children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.”