This past Thursday we celebrated National Go Skate Day, which conveniently lands on the first day of summer. Each year, swarms of skaters all over the world storm the streets and take over their respective cities, if even just for the day. Countless contests, demos, and product tosses are held all in the spirit of celebrating all things skateboarding. Basically, June 21st is like Christmas for skateboarders, right?
Well that question turns out to be pretty polarizing actually. I’ve asked countless skaters what their thoughts were about the holiday, and I’ve only ever gotten one of two responses. You’ll either get something like:
“Oh man I’m so pumped for Go Skate Day! I’m gonna wake up at the crack of dawn and skate alllllll day long. I’m gonna eat bearings for breakfast, griptape for lunch, and I wont stop skating no matter how much my legs cramp up.”
“Go Skate Day? What are you talking about, everyday is go skate day. I don’t need some stinkin’ holiday to tell me when to skate. I’m a real skater.”
Now obviously, both of these answers are silly. Go Skate Day is not the sacred tradition some kids will lead you to believe. The holiday was established in 2004, so a big chunk of current skateboarders can remember summers spent not celebrating it. But it’s also not something to be ignored. June 21st is the day that we as skaters have decided to come together and celebrate the thing that connects us. Sure, Go Skate Day is really just any other day, and you’re no less of a skater if you don’t spend every waking moment on your board, but I think that our community deserves its own day to toot our own horns. We’re pretty rad, we deserve it!
So I may not know what the right response is towards this skateboarding holiday, but maybe that’s because I’ve been on both sides of the fence before. I’ve been the skate rat that woke up at 4:00 AM to take the first bus down to Denver for an all day skateboarding pilgrimage. I’ve had a run-in with the law for being on the front line of the “Running of the Bulls” (when a swarm of skaters take over a busy downtown street and disrupt traffic), and I even jumped into the platte river to rescue a stray board.
But I’ve also been that skater that was put off by the structure and parameters of such a holiday. Marking my calendar in anticipation for something I did everyday felt strange. And skateboarding symbolized a complete freedom of expression. You can’t schedule in something like that.
The point is, skateboarding doesn’t need a holiday, but I think it deserves one. I think it brings enough joy to enough people to justify a day in it’s honor. Whether you decide to participate by dodging cops and traffic in the “Running of the Bulls”, or by dusting off your neglected board and throwing out some kick turns in the garage, or even by simply watching an old favorite skate video, I hope you have a great Go Skate Day...everyday.