It was a mostly sunny weekend here in Connecticut, so Saturday and Sunday saw lots of skateboarding for Sk8terdude and his friends. He even started out in shorts this [Sunday] afternoon (although I warned him that it was colder out than it looked). Sure enough, by mid-afternoon he was asking me to bring long pants to the skatepark. Normally I might have let him suffer the consequences of his decision - since it wasn't exactly frostbite weather - but I was heading back to the park anyway to pick him up midday for a quick haircut. When I tried to snap a photo of him getting the back buzzed short, suggesting that I might post it here, he made it quite clear that I did not have his permission to do so. I find it funny, actually, that he had such a vehement reaction to the idea of a back-of-the-head-haircut-photo since, on the way back to the park, he mentioned that his friends had taken some great photos and video of him today if I wanted to post those.
Skateboarding videos: in
Haircutting photos: out
A few weeks ago I posted a bunch of questions, some of which were answered by Tony on the Enclave Skate Shop (New Haven) blog (with installment 2 and more answers to follow soon). This week the tables were turned when I had a chance to answer questions for a reporter who is writing an article about skateboarding, BMX biking, and parenting kids who participate in those sports.
[Okay. This was where I stopped writing last night so we could go to dinner. Now it's Monday morning. OlderBrother has already left for school. I have six minutes in between getting breakfast for Sk8terdude and getting into the shower. Think I can finish????]
She asked questions geared mostly toward helping parents whose children were just starting out with skateboarding and BMX biking, and one of the questions really got me thinking: "What lessons has your child learned from skateboarding that go beyond the actual sport?"
I think that skaterboarding has taught Sk8terdude the value of perseverence. There's something about trying a trick over and over and over again and then finally nailing it that really drives home the "practice makes perfect" lesson in a very tangible way. I'm not saying kids don't learn this in other sports, but there is a difference, in my opinion, between the return on investment in individual sports versus team sports (which are also important and also teach valuable lessons....) in terms of how it feels.
Sk8terdude and OlderBrother both play basketball. Particularly for OlderBrother, whose team has had the best record two years running in our local league, there have been lessons learned about practice, about teamwork, about putting the good of the team before the glory of the individual, etc. And sometimes the boys work on a specific play, for example, and practice it over and over, and then, when the play works during a game, they can see that their hard work paid off. But I don't think they internalize personal success in the same way they do from their individual accomplishments.
Sk8terdude can see his skateboarding progress in very measurable ways. For example, he knows that in the beginning he wasn't able to ollie but now he can. And he went from being able to skate down the big launch ramp at S.P.I.R.I.T. and up the quarter pipe on the other side, to being able to land at the top of the quarter pipe, to being able to catch air at the top and continue down the ramp at the other side, to being able to do a 180 at the top: specific steps that built on one another, which he was able to tackle with a little determination and a lot of bumps and bruises.
For Sk8terdude, this has been invaluable.
[Now if only I learned this lesson at an early age, I might still be looking for the cable so I could download the video from yesterday's session at the park. Sadly, my determination to finish this post is being thwarted by my stronger desire to take a shower before I leave the house. So those of you looking for video will have to...well...persevere...]