The Problem With Skateboarders

You find yourself skating at your normal skate spot with some friends. There is a no skateboarding sign but you tend to ignore it because this is a good place to skate and you have no other place to go, all of a sudden a police officer shows up and tickets everyone. Is the officer just doing his job or does he hate skateboarders?

“They get a bad rap because of the culture and the stereotypes surrounding the culture and some members of the community not acting in an acceptable way,” said senior Griffin Ouellette. Ouellette has been skateboarding for the majority of his life. Any time he has a release block or free time you can find him at the skatepark working on new tricks and progressing his ability to skate.

“Skateboarding has changed my life, it’s really fun…it also gives me something to do…it has really gotten me active, I’d probably be obese without it, but it has kept me active and I have made friendships because of it,” said Ouellette.

Skateboarding has been around for close to 70 years now but is still frowned upon by the public even though over 6 million people or 2.7% of the US population skateboards according to an article on publicskateparkguide.org. Skateboarding has always been associated with punk culture and when you ask someone who does not know much about the sport they most likely believe it is destructive and disturbs the peace. This negative view towards skateboarders has been around since skateboarding’s creation.

“‘Skateboarding is prohibited’ is a warning my friends and I have had to fight my entire life. Growing up in Boston, skateboarding has always been thought of as a punk sport, where the kids do drugs, and the parents don’t know their kids. This isn’t the truth. I have known skaters my whole life and drugs are not part of the skate culture I have known.. Skateboarding is really a way of expressing yourself, a way of demonstrating who you really are. It’s an outlet away from real life, and without it some kids may never truly grow up,” said senior Joshua Jacques who loves to skate and surf.

In Maine there is 30 total Skateparks out of the 432 towns according to https://www.concretedisciples.com/skateparks/usa/maine. That means that there 402 towns without a skatepark . Saco is one of those tows if the skaters want to go to a skatepark they have to drive over to Biddeford or Old Orchard Beach. If they can’t drive, what do they do? Many skaters turn to just skating on the streets or going to schools, storefronts, and parking garages. Many of these places also have visible no skateboarding signs, but that does not deter skateboarders. This is where skaters get the bad wrap because people see them skating at these places where they are not supposed to skate but it’s not their fault, they have nowhere else to go.

“I have been kicked out of T.A,” said Ouellette. Thornton Academy’s policy on skateboards is that they are not permitted on campus during school hours and after school hours. This doesn’t deter skateboarders from skating at TA. “TA has some pretty good spots to skate and it’s a great place to learn new tricks,” said Ouellette.

Skateboarding culture has become what it is today because of the negativity and dislike from the public.“Yeah that’s how it always is being a skateboarder, you feel like an outlier. Skateboarding is a subculture and a counterculture and it goes against the norm, I don’t want that to change,” said Ouellette.

According to skateboardhere.com skateboarding got its relations with punk culture in the 80’s and that’s how many people still see it. “It makes sense why some people view skateboarders negatively, some people in this community don’t respect others, I hope that skateboarders won’t be as hated and that skateboarding will be viewed more as an activity than a way for teens to cause havoc,” said senior at BHS David Bourque.

Ouellette and Bourque often skate together and have built their friendship off their love for skateboarding. “Skateboarding is a great way to spend time with your friends and just have a good time,” said Bourque.

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