The Priceless Outdoor Skate Park
In cities around the world exists a plethora of skate spots. Skateboarding is a sport that challenges an athlete’s ingenuity against the complexities of urban terrain. In many cases, this terrain is built specifically for the sport is designed in such a way that it creates the skate park. As the popularity of skateboarding rises throughout the generations, skate parks are growing in number, and in diversity. Parks can range from crudely built ramps and stolen infrastructure to complex systems of pools, ramps, rails and obstacles specifically designed to enhance the skater experience. Whatever the case, if a city has skaters, it most likely has a skate park.
Not all skate parks are open to the common skater. Many skate parks were built without the intent to provide unique terrain to challenge skaters, but rather were built to turn profit through paid admission. These parks are often frowned upon due to the fact that they exclude many of the common skaters, including the broke skater, and the “fuck-that-payment-bullshit” skater. These athletes are not to be excluded, as they are often the most talented and passionate skaters, or at the very least, the most amusing. Paid admission parks are often inside and encourage athletes that want to feel safe, supervised, within designated boundaries, and close to snacks. However, these athletes have forgotten, skateboarding has never been about safety.
That leaves the skaters with the Priceless Outdoor Skate Park (POSP), a skate park that is outside and does not charge admission. Here is a place where no skater is turned away and can enjoy the fun regardless of wealth or principles. Not only does the Priceless Outdoor Skate Park, or POSP, includes all skaters, but it also welcome a wide array of folks from all about town with an arsenal of intentions. Gathered at one of these parks you may find a deckles skater, an aspiring athlete who for some reason (broke, inebriated, forgetful, in denial, etc.) is without a skateboard, and has been brought to the park out of the sheer love of the sport. You may also find the photographic skater, which may be and athlete or a spectator with a passion for the aesthetics of skateboarding, and can be found sporting a video or still camera capturing his or her friend’s wild moves. KOWABUNGA!
The park is also joined by a colorful group of spectators. There’s the basic and sometimes stoned spectator, who has come to watch the glory of skateboarding unfold before them. There’s watchful and protective parent, who excitedly refuses to cut the chord and allow his or her child the freedom of the sport. There is also the female spectator, or “pro-ho,” which has come with a watchful eye to find a skater to seduce in search of self-esteem. Let’s us not forget, of course, the outcast spectator, who has found themselves at the park because they really have no where else to go, and have found a place where they can call home.
Now, there are many complaints about the POSP. Many feel that depending on the community, they may find a crowd present that interferes with the image and attitude of the sport. But to these skateboarders we say, “Get over it you nincompoop. Nobody wants you’re miserable ass around either.” Yet crowds can cause a legitimate concern to the skateboard aficionado. An eager skater may be denied to chance to move freely throughout the park or to attempt a trick enough times to make the session worth the trip as an abundance of people lacking experience or courtesy may become a physical obstacle. While a defendable argument, this problem only works to further open the POSP. Skaters with this problem are challenged to find all the best times, day or night, to best skate without interference. This allows the Outdoor Skate Park to provide more opportunity as and open spot in a city. Another solution may be the well-kept secret to the location of a POSP. While this may seem as an exclusionary tactic, it actually allows a more diverse group of skaters to meet, as the location of a secret POSP can be passed in a tree like formation, branching out through a city, an giving a skater more reason to travel greater distances.
As you can see, a POSP is the perfect nominee for the Arsenal of Inclusion. It is a tool that brings together people linked through passion, purpose, performance, boredom and acceptance. Whether you’ve traveled across town, or are merely passing by, anyone is welcome, unless you’re a dirty ol’ fruit-booter, of course.