Today I was at a skate park with my son who is learning to skateboard. I was very present— and observant of the community he’s been gaining access to over the past few months.
As skaters of all ages and skill levels arrived, I was struck once again by the overwhelming culture of positivity.
First to arrive was a young man we’ll call Justin. He’s about 15 and he always wears a brown beanie even though it was 86 degrees today. He’s attempting a move I can’t pronounce and it’s hard work. But he finally does it. I can see and feel his sense of accomplishment.
A few minutes later a guy we’ll call Cash skates in. Cash is about 28 and he’s ALWAYS at the skatepark. Today he’s in a tie-dye shirt, thrasher hat, and vans. He greats us in that rad tone you’d expect to hear, “What’s up little man. What’s up little man’s mom”.
Justin wastes no time telling Cash about his triumph and Cash let’s put a loud “Right on, man! How’d that feel? Well done!”.
This was the interaction that got me thinking about how intentional the skating and surfing communities are about the way they live.
Cash might’ve had a bad start to his day. Maybe his car broke down. But you’d never know it by the way he treated this other skater… It was as if Cash had landed the Ollie himself!
For weeks now I’ve hung back and watched these young men and women cheer one another on, pick each other up, dust each other off. It occurred to me that they are so happy being a part of something larger than themselves...the community of people trying to better themselves through their craft.
For a kid my son’s age it’s been helpful to watch grown men try and fail and try again. He’s found the lack of competition inspiring— everyone is just trying to better herself or himself.
That kind of passion, purpose, and positivity spill over into the other parts of one's life. We could learn a lot from skaters and surfers.