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Testimony of an addict

If you read renowned skatemags like TWS, Thrasher, Big Brother, etc. you might have come across one of the ads by the fairly young company 'Transit Skateboarding'. I just did and I'd like to quote a short text this ad featured labeled 'Testimony': 'When the powers that be snap their fingers and bark their orders the mass majority lines up and takes the abuse. Luckily there are still some people with unbroken spirits and courage enough to go against the grain and do what makes them happy despite the frustrations such a pursuit can carry with it...... . Deep down everyone wants to be a skateboarder, most people just don't have what it takes.' - Stacy Lowery

Some might say: 'Get out of my face with that crap!' but to me these words say a lot. Every skateboarder knows the frustrations and the pain skateboarding can bring, but every real skateboarder also knows that these 'flaws' that accompany skateboarding are easily beat by the extreme feeling of happiness and accomplishment achieved by the landing of a new trick. And every real skateboarder also knows what happens to those who can't deal with the frustrations, who 'just don't have what it takes': They give up, quit skating and become rollerbladers or 'honest citizens'.

But why do you think 'honest citizens' hate skateboarders so much? Well, they destroy benches etc. in the cities doing their stunts on them and by the way they're all freaks and drug addicts and criminals and dangerous, aren't they? - Yeah right! Let's have a simple little Q and A game: What happens if you do lots of drugs? - right, you lose your coordination. What do you need lots of for skateboarding? - coordination, right again! So let's see what happens to the skater doing drugs while skating: he slams. Well I guess he must want to slam, just like the 'honest citizen' probably wants to get in a car accident.

Although I have to admit that we do tend to destroy things, it's not like we do so just for the sake of destroying them. It's merely an unwanted side-effect skateboarding brings - just like slams - and if you think a little farther you'll also notice something else: we also destroy our own equipment and hardly anyone likes destroying things of their own, especially here in Germany, where boards etc. are very expensive. Ok, ok but they're still criminals! - Sure! Please, please tell me, how you can not be a criminal, if you are criminalized. If bike riding was prohibited, bike riders would be criminals. Do you think it's any different with skateboarders? They're dangerous though. They can run into people when they race down the sidewalks! - And cars, bikes, rollerbladers, babybuggies, ice-cream- and hotdogstands can't? Gimme a break. You're probably more likely to be attacked by a shark than run into by a skateboarder. Since the skateboarder wants to run into you probably as much as you want him to run into you, he'll most certainly avoid doing so and, unlike the rollerblader, bike rider or car driver, he can jump off of and stop his board if it gets too dangerous. By the way there are many more rollerbladers on the streets than skaters which also increases the possibility of being run into by a rollerblader.

I think the only reason for hating us is plain envy. They see we can do something they can't and that's why they can't accept us. This, referring to Stacey Lowery, would make us skateboarders the object attracting all the hate from the 'mass majority' being built up by taking the 'abuse from the powers that be'. I hope people will someday wake up to look the truth in the eye.

I've also been thinking about the topic of skateboarding being worth all the pain it brings quite a bit recently because I sprained my thumb and half-ripped some of the tendons attaching it to the rest of my hand while kickflipping a gap. This got me pretty mad at first because I've hurt it before and I hate skating with a cast on my hand because my hands are always the first thing I fall on, you probably know what I mean. But when I went skating the next day after having seen the doctor, I knew it wasn't so bad - as long as I could skate with it - plus, it meant I didn't have to go to my afternoon sports class at school and I could skate all of Wednesday afternoon for the next couple of weeks.

For me a day not skating is a day wasted and so, comparable to the smoker or drinker who knows his habit will eventually alter his health, I consider myself a skateboarding addict.

-Alfred Hochrein