Carving out new territory


Photo courtesy of Lukas Bato on Unsplash


“Buzz, buzz” The alarm strikes nine, Haleigh turns it off and gets up. No time for sleeping in today, the skatepark is calling.

Skateboarding: Loud, dangerous, corruptive. Skateboarders: Punks, criminals, delinquents. Meet the stereotypes of skateboarding. Now meet the truth; since its beginning in the 1970s skateboarding has been looked down upon by many adults. They believe skateboarding is a reckless activity for criminals and delinquents to use in their pass time, when they’re not wreaking havoc upon local shops. They however do not acknowledge the benefits of skate boarding.

Haleigh Coalson has been skateboarding since sixth grade. She and her dad Jeff go out every saturday to the Denver Skate park to practice their moves.

Haleigh decided she wanted to be a skateboarder in sixth grade.

She begged and begged her dad for a skateboard. When he finally complied he walked in the door with “a crappy K- Mart board”, but Haligh took it without hesitation.

She began to practice her moves, up the side walk, down the street, on the ground when she took a fall. She was persistent, when she fell down she got back up.

Her dad took notice of her improvement and her enjoyment, and he decided to give it a shot. It clicked. He was a natural.

They started to go out as often as possible. They hit the park first thing in the morning, breakfast or no. They just wanted to skate.

“He does kick turns, I carve the wall.” Haleigh and her father are an inspiration to skateboarding cynics everywhere. They each have their own strength and are constantly working to improve. To them skateboarding is not a pastime for criminals, but a time to get outside and bond doing the thing they love.

When cynics think of skateboarding they only see the loud disruptive side, ignoring the fact that skateboarders are outside, exercising, expressing themselves through their tricks. Skateboarders develop their  passion, they set goals to learn new tricks or push to surpass their records  This is a life skill that many people do not acquire until college.

In many ways Skateboarding is relaxing, instead of working people up it’s calming them down. When Haleigh was asked about the effects of skateboarding she stated, “It depends on the type of person, If you get out there and do it without fear it releases a lot  of energy and is fantastic.”

Haleigh stated that skateboarding is the type of activity that takes effort and bravery. “(Skateboarding) is very calming, but also it it can be very aggressive, depending on how you are skating or your mood, It’s pretty indescribable, it gives you the feeling of tranquility and peace. Even though there is alway the risk of falling and that can make you nervous, you do it once and then that goes away.”

Skateboarding is an outlet for many individuals to release their emotions.

Haleigh knows about the stereotypes of skateboarding, when asked about them she responded saying, ““I think its really stupid, not everyone who skates is a bad person, but they (skateboarding cynics) see a few troublesome people who are skating and they deem it as something delinquents do. “

Haleigh skates at the Denver Skate Park, a bit shabbier of an area, however, even after seeing the down side of skateboarding she still believes in its greatness. “Once we drove up and there was a police car there because of a fight, but I’ve never really seen them (troublesome skateboarders).” The skaters that cause trouble keep to themselves, though they hang around the skatepark, but it doesn’t mean that every other skater is like them. “

Look at some of the best professional skateboarders. Tony Hawk is a large charity donor, Bob Burnquist donates to the environment and overcame asthma to skate, Rodney Mullen has a masters degree. Just because someone is a skateboarder, it does not mean that he or she can’t be charitable or educated. Haleigh spends much of her time reading and writing. She has even written a ninety- six page love story. But the greatest testimony to the transformational power of skateboarding is that it serves as a bond between a father and his daughter, allowing them to spend quality time together.

Skateboarding with its loud noises and its unfriendly stereotypes is a missjudged sport. Though there can be the occasional crime or criminal, for the most part, skateboarding is just a fun activity. The majority of those who skateboard are not looking to wreak havoc, they are just looking to enjoy themselves doing the thing they love. Skateboarding. Relaxing, tranquil, enjoyable. Skateboarders. Brave, persistent, inspiring. This is the reality of skateboarding.