I have now been skateboarding, on and off, for close to 30 years. It has taught me valuable life lessons. These are the most important ones.
(1) You will fall. A lot. Get up. Try again. Many people speak of this as a life-metaphor. For skaters this is reality. You actually fall. You actually have to get up. You actually have to try again.
(2) In order to progress, you must fall/fail. If you don’t, you are not trying to tap your potential.
(3) You will get hurt. Often.
By the thing you love most.
(4) Failure to fully commit can often result in a much more serious injury. You can’t “half-try” (a handrail). Confidence is a must. Self-doubt will kill you.
(5) Potential is everywhere. You just have to “see” it. Skateboarding fundamentally changes the way you see your environment. A curb is not just a curb. A ledge is not just a ledge. Once your “vision” has been changed, you see the potential to reappropriate and reevaluate the face value of everything in life.
(6) To see the potential (above) also requires creativity. The more creative you are, the more opportunity you will find. The way in which you interact with your environment is an art.
(7) There will always be people who are much, much better than you. There will always be others who will never be as skilled as you are. Do not be ashamed of your ability, or envious, around those who are better. Ascertain what you can learn from them. Do not be egotistical, or entitled, around those of lesser ability. Ascertain what you can teach. In both situations, you can flourish.
(8) Rolling down the street, or at skate park, you have unlimited number of tricks to choose from; how to do them, what ramp to try them on, how fast to go, what to link them with, etc. Life is full of choices of how to respond to obstacles/environment around you. Some choices can be timid and inconsequential. Other can be brash, and reckless. The difference between them can be very subtle. The daily line you draw between those risks is up to you.
(9) People will judge you. Be it “cool kid,” total menace, or super freak. Neither should be any of concern. Follow your path, not theirs.
(10) People who push themselves, and fall hard, and often, get more peer respect than those who put in no effort.
(11) Things get harder as you get older. You also learn to enjoy the simpler things.
(12) With time, dedication, and real conviction, you can do things that you once thought impossible. You will have to fall, many times, in the process.
(13) Fun can be had anywhere. It is a choice.
(14) A small, unforeseen, pebble in the road can cause you to come crashing down. Be circumspect.
(15) Things you could once do, you will, at some point, no longer be able to. Skate spots, also, come and go. Life is fluid. Do not be attached. Enjoy what is here, now.
(16) Skin grows back.
(17) No one will tell you what tricks to do. How you do them, in what order, etc. is of your own making. Be an unabashed, unapologetic, individual.
(18) Everyone is trying to figure out something new. Everyone falls. Everyone has their own battle, and scars.
(19) No one can skate for you. Failure, and success, are yours, and yours alone.
(20) If you do the same tricks over and over, you will become very proficient at them. You will also quickly grow bored. Diversity is essential to keep life interesting.
(21) You will be treated as a lesser person, who participates in a lesser activity. In many places your very existence is criminalized. Just carrying a skateboard may make you a suspect class. This is a window into how other marginalized people experience life. Have compassion.
(22) The police can be assholes.
(23) Some tricks will be naturally easier to you. Others will be harder. No one is perfectly well-rounded at everything. Know your strengths, and your weaknesses.
(24) The first time anyone sees an “ollie,” they think they have just witnessed magic, that the laws of physics have just fallen apart. Always remember the wonder of life.
(25) Find what you love. And let it kill you.