Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Estrogen in the House

After a fun morning with Sk8tergrandma (first visiting The Raptor Trust, then doing a skateboard-related art project), we arrived at GardenSk8 at the appointed hour (according to the website, they opened at 3 p.m. today), only to find the lights off and nobody home.

Well, technically, there was a guy servicing the vending machines and another guy (friend of the owner) skating inside, but we were told there was no one working and they weren't sure if the place would be open today because it was the owner's son's birthday.  Hey, as a mom, I totally get the importance of birthday celebrations.  But would it have been so difficult to post a note on the website if they weren't planning to open?

Fortunately for us, the skater called one of the guys who works here and we were told they would be open shortly and Sk8terdude could go ahead and start skating, which he did.

So I set myself up in the ubiquitous parent lounge (warmer than last December but not as warm as yesterday!), turned on my computer, and then, before I could really get started, in walked C & J, two adorable girls, long hair flowing out from under their helmets.

I've written before about barriers to entry for girls who want to skateboard, so I was interested to hear what the girls, both sixth graders, had to say.  I assumed that most girls who skate start out with older brothers who skate.  To my surprise, C & J told me that their initial interest in skateboarding came from the Naked Brothers Band and, specifically, Alex Wolff, who skateboarded on (and, presumably, off) the show!

So around age six C was given a small skateboard and a mini-ramp from Toys'R'Us for Christmas.  She tried to skate on her own.  Last year a google search turned up the fact that GardenSk8 was located less than 30 minutes from their hometown.  C took some lessons, convinced J to tag along, and a passion for the sport was ignited.

Both girls are familiar with Girls Riders Organization and attended their event here at GardenSk8 last summer.  They also attended the Streetleague finals in New Jersey last summer.  But neither girl was able to name any women pro-skaters.  C said that for vert she likes Andy Macdonald and Bob Burnquist and for street she likes Paul Rodriguez and Ryan Scheckler.

Beyond skateboarding, the girls say they've both played soccer and basketball, they participate in gymnastics, and they've both taken dance.  And they both agree that C is a bit more of a "tomboy" than J.  They were delightful, articulate, and happy to talk about their lives as skateboarders.  [When I said I wouldn't/couldn't put their names or faces on the blog without their parents' permission, they asked me if I would still be here when C's mom picks them up so I could ask.]

Happily, both girls report that they've never been hassled about being skateboarders and that the boys have always been nice and accepting of them.  I hope that their passion for skateboarding won't be squelched as they move into those teen years, when being different becomes more difficult for so many.  And both girls acknowledged that it would be great to have women role models to follow... who knows, if they keep skating, maybe someday in the future younger girls will be talking about the two of them as role models!

In the meantime, I was just happy to see a little estrogen in the house.

Many thanks to Sk8terdude for willingly giving up the "spotlight" for this post!

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