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Skateboarding

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the park, chatting with Mike, the owner of the cafe there. He was telling me how wary he was of plans to build a new Skatepark there. He explained that, while he had nothing against skateboarding per se, he was just worried it would increase the number of young people in the park, especially after dark. I didn't know what to think or how to reply: I could certainly see his point; yet that is not the image I associate with skaters. Admittedly, I don't know many of them, but when I think of people who skateboard, I think of jolly, lively young men dedicated to their hobby who wouldn't hurt a fly. The type of chap who listens to bands like The Cat Empire.

However, that lack of knowledge captured my interest. Once home, I began to look up what I could about skating and skater culture. It wasn't that I was ever going to take the sport up myself, but - who knows? - it may lead to some interesting film or blog material.

What I found was a phenomenon I had been previously completely unaware of. Skating is now being used, worldwide, as a force for social change. By giving people a physical activity to focus on, it is becoming a great leveller. It requires practice, skill and dedication. For example, I just came across this TEDx video of a man explaining the impact the introduction of Skating has had in Afghanistan. It is remarkable how much can be achieved through this simple little hobby.

I'm still a newbie, of course; I need to look a lot deeper, especially into the filmic aspects of skating. It feels like an exciting new culture I need to explore. As for the proposed skatepark though, I still can't make my mind up. As open as I am to the sport, that particular spot may not be ideal; there may be better places to put it, not far away. There's also the risk that it might attract other, less wholesome people, not so interested in practicing their skills. Having said that, I think it might be cool to see this vibrant new culture come to Charlton.


[Edited 03/05/2017 at 13:46:49 - Added a bit]

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