New York Times Critisizes Aging Skaters

Typically if I have a minute or two, I will search google news for the topic of skateboarding.  This brings up newspaper and mainstream website articles on the internet. I did this today and was surprised this opinion piece from the New York Times. I feel mainstream newspapers really blunder coverage of skateboarding, and someday I aspire to write some true articles about skateboarding for a wide range of audiences. But this article I took personally. I even left two comments which I’ve never done for the New York Times article. Does this mean I can claim my writing has been on the New York Times website? My guess is that would be a no.

This opinion piece was written by a book editor and questions if people should skate or use scooters if they are over the age of 35.  That is dangerously close to my own age, I am 33. The opening of this piece describes a scene of the writer seeing an older skateboarder out of control, and worrying if this man would cause an accident. That’s a solid problem, and I do think that skaters should not collide with pedestrians on the street. Etiquette does need to be followed in societies, and that includes people that skate. I’ve skated a few times at the bandshell in central park, and as I did so I always worried about so many people walking back and forth.  I concluded that if my board shot away from me and made someone slip and break his or her leg, I would be accountable for that person’s injuries. So I don’t skate there that much and mostly go to skate parks now. So if this article went in the direction of irresponsible skating and I would have to chin up and think it is something to think about. But the article does not do that, it focuses on the age of the skater he observed.

The writer’s second example of old people doing ‘youth sports’ is a father with two kids and they all are using scooters. Humor is tried stating that the father could not do it at all compared to the two young kids. This writer is a prick, fathers and sons have bonded by playing catch for a long time, and now the game is changing to other interests. If the father is able and wants to spend his time in this way with his two sons that could be considered quality time, and much better than fathers that do not spend time with their kids.

The ending of this piece states if old people want to skate or scooter they should take training similar to licensure for motorcycle riding. I’ve never drove a motorcycle and I never will, but that comparison if pretty weak. The stakes are a little higher with going seventy miles an hour on a highway.  With things like skating, scootering, and roller blading people probably can learn quickly or the can not adapt to it. People are bad at any age, and people make mistakes.

I’ve collided with bikers and skaters at skate parks, but I have never in my adult life have collided with a pedestrian.  When cruising or skating at street spots I’m hyper attentive to my surroundings, and if someone is in my way I’ll step of my board, or simply wait until the person moves. I’m not a beginner skater, but this opinion piece blankets every adult involved in skating as having ‘Peter Pan’ syndrome.

I’ve been told by family members and people close to me that adults do not skate. I’m sure the next time I injure myself I’ll have another round of lectures. I have taken a lot of time off of skating in my adult life from other interests and some injuries.  Currently I’m skating and have been for a year or two. And it’s a good way to spend a day off, and you can gage progression. Skateboarding is as legitimate as other sports in that there are steps and a learning curve. There are standards of tricks to learn and a wide variety of things to keep you occupied. I think it is better now with people staying with it, but when I was younger there were all sorts of pressures to quit. A lot of people quit in late high school because they get introduced to partying. Then people graduated high school and then go to work or college. All the sudden they are too old for it. If you’re not sponsored or pro by eighteen why do it?  Skateboarding has been battling this stigma of ‘not for grown ups’ for a long time, and it does not need New York Times to reinforce this prejudice.  Adults can play golf, softball, run, bike, go to the gym, tennis, and a variety of acceptable activities. Outside of work people should have choices for their activities, and more people are going to skate in their free time from now on. I think the skaters that never stopped and are ‘old’ really have skills. This opinion piece doesn’t really address that, the people that are old and can really do it well. I follow the skate industry news and there are several pros that are in their forties.

I took a long time off and really enjoy skating now that I’m back.  I went from years of not exercising much at all, and now I feel great. And I don’t feel like I’m simply putting time in exercising at the gym, I’m progressing at a sport. I’m not super good, but I don’t need the New York Times to tell me that trying to get good is trivial and that I should do a grown up sport instead. So F-U guy that wrote this opinion piece and all the people that wrote negative comments about it too.

Here’s the link to the opinion piece:
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/16/complaint-box-uneasy-riders/

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