"Out With the Old and In With the New!"
As I walked past the gym doors of my school yesterday, I couldn't help but notice the number of people playing basketball and wearing Adidas track pants. What ever happened to the baggy, down to your ankle jeans and the skateboards? Did they disappear or did everyone get bit by the "jock bug"? I guess it's safe to say it was "out with the old and in with the new!" Skateboarders stopped doing their 360's and started dribbling and shooting balls up and down the court.
Remembering the days when guys would skate in the school parking lot, is just like going back to the days when kids would rush to the toy department and beg their parents to buy them a troll. You know, those queer looking dolls with fluorescent colored hair. It seems so long ago when skateboarding was the center of a teen's world. Nothing was more important. Skateboards, skater shoes, and the different tricks people had accomplished were the topics in the lunchroom. Everywhere you looked you would see someone with a skateboard holding on to it for dear life. (I guess you would - considering their skateboard probably cost at least $275.00!) It was the "cool" thing to do at the time. Dress up like a slob, carry around a skateboard, and then pretend you knew what you were doing when you were on it. Nothing in the world could come between skateboarders and their boards.
Times have changed however, and so have we. Skaters have pushed aside their boards and brought out the basketballs. Everywhere you look now, you see jocks instead of skaters. Why did this dramatic change occur? Joshua W, a classmate of mine at I. J. Samson Junior High School in Newfoundland, turned from a skater into a jock about six months ago. When I asked him why he gave it up, he said, "It was time for a change. Skateboarding wasn't interesting to me anymore because I knew all the tricks and felt it was a waste of my time." He also disliked the attention he got from his friends and fellow peers. "I'm a really shy person and hated standing out in the crowd", explains Joshua. "I really hated it when people from school asked me to show them a trick. That's not my style." Joshua is now a well-known athlete at my school and plays on our school basketball and volleyball teams. He would prefer playing these two sports than skating down the street on his board anyday!
Money was another reason why many skaters gave up their hobby. Sharon W., a previous skater concludes, "It was too expensive. By the time you bought your board, the proper shoes, pads, and a helmet, the cost was so overwhelming. Since I skated only four times a week, I decided it wasn't worth the cash". Basketball and volleyball, on the other hand, aren't nearly as costly if you're only involved in it during your free time. All you need is a thirty dollar basketball, a proper pair of sneakers, and a set of shorts, which most people already have anyways.
Many skaters at my school who have turned into jocks gave it up because of the lack of facilities. There was no "real" place to skate except the "War Memorial" on Water Street in downtown St. John's. This, however, caused a great deal of controversy. The public strongly disagreed with skaters skateboarding there. The War Memorial was a place to remember those who fought for us in war, not a place to skate. Skaters however, didn't see what the problem was. I caught up with a group of grade eight boys at my school who used to skate there fairly often. When I asked them their opinion about the situation they said, "We didn't realize at first the problems we were creating for the public. They used to complain about us skating on the streets, in parking lots, and especially the War Memorial. We were sick of the complaints which was one of the reasons we gave it up". Skaters are now banned from the War Memorial, but some continue to skate there.
Skateboarding to many was just a phase that people went through to create an image. It was the "in" thing to do at the time, but after awhile it got old. It wasn't as exciting and fun anymore. Amanda N., a previous skater herself says, "A lot of people really do enjoy skating, but others just got involved in it because they wanted to fit in with everyone else. In other words, it was all for popularity". People have now pursued other sports like basketball which interests them a lot more. In Amanda's mind it was time for something new, something more exciting than doing spins in the air!!
There is a whole new generation of teenagers now that are tying up their sneakers and starting a trend. Skateboarders have gone to never-never-land and the jocks are coming out of the woodwork. It's a dramatic change, but a change that people, like myself, can get used to. Believe me, I'd rather be a jock over a skater anyday!