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A Closer Look at Skateboarding and the Culture Behind It

 Skateboarding and How it has Affected Me

Skateboarding is the most important aspect of my life. Without it, I do not know what I would be doing, who I would be friends with, or what my hobby would be. Skateboarding has impacted me more than words can say. This is why I made A Closer Look at Skateboarding and the Culture Behind It. While producing the documentary, I had to act more as a journalist than as a skateboarder. So, in this written piece, I would like to share my experiences with skateboarding, as a skateboarder. 

I grew up in Phoenix Arizona, and while growing up, I participated in many sports and athletic activities, including football, BMX racing, and taekwondo. But of everything I tried, skateboarding was the only one that stuck. After starting skateboarding at the age of ten, I slowly stopped participating in the other hobbies that I had done for the majority of my life. Skateboarding gave me something that none of those other pastimes gave me, a community and somewhere that I fit in. 

Though I felt accepted within the skate community, that was not the case for other aspects of my life. As a skateboarder, and like most skateboarders, I was picked on by kids for skateboarding. This did not bother me much though, I found it quite funny watching people try to argue with me for something that does not affect them. But as skateboarding gained more mainstream popularity, especially the skate style and clothes, it began to get a bit more frustrating. Many of the people who would pick on me for skateboarding would do so while wearing skateboarding clothes, particularly Thrasher Magazine t-shirts, and Vans shoes. These people knew so little about skateboarding or skate culture, to the point that they did not even know that the brands they were wearing were made by skateboarders. Skateboarders are often perceived as being degenerates who have no regard for people or greater society, but this is not the case. Skateboarding has a very tight knit community that stretches around the world, and I have felt this first hand. I moved to London in 2019 knowing nobody, and now in 2022, I have met my best friends, all through skateboarding. The places I visit, the things I like to do, the music I listen to, and the clothes I wear, are all influenced by skateboarding and the scene that I have grown up with for these past 11 years. 

Skateboarding has taught me more than any other thing I have experienced. Skateboarding taught me how to socialise with other people, and make friends. I am naturally very shy, and had trouble making friends and meeting new people, but through skateboarding, I have a group of very close friends, as well as friends all around the world. As well as this, skateboarding has taught me how to be motivated, and maintain a good work-ethic. Skateboarding is an extremely difficult activity, in which people who have been skateboarding for several years are still constantly improving and learning new things. Skateboarders may try one trick for hours, or even days, to only land it once. This process of trial and error has influenced me to not give up on my goals and stay persistent. 

Skateboarding has also introduced me to a potential career path. I have been filming and making skate videos for the past several years, and through this, I have found a passion for videography and video production. This passion is the reason that I decided to study journalism at university, as I believed the two subjects would correlate well. Now I am set to finish my degree this year, and I have two potential career paths that I can choose to go down. Because of the influence skateboarding has had on my life, I feel that I have the potential to be successful. 

Though skateboarding has given me countless good things, I cannot claim that skateboarding is perfect. I do understand people getting frustrated at skateboarders. There are many aspects of skateboarding that, to onlookers, can seem quite disruptive and childish, but skateboarders are not purposefully disrespectful. Skateboarding is very different to a typical sport or hobby, and it utilises different parts of the environment. Street skateboarding, which is skateboarding outside of a skatepark, is one of the most important aspects of skateboarding. Unlike most sports or activities, street skateboarding does not have a designated space in which to do it. Much of street skateboarding takes place in areas that skateboarding is not allowed, and all of street skateboarding takes place on terrain that was not designed for skateboarding. This inevitably results in clashes between skateboarders and the general public, and can cause tension.

Overall, skateboarding has impacted my life in an amazing way, and that is what inspired me to make my video piece. Skateboarding helped me grow up, gain confidence, make friends, and find potential career paths, but most of all it has given me something that I can do everyday that I enjoy. 

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