What I Learned from Going to a Skatepark, without even knowing how to skate

Strangers are awesome and dangers are awesomer

strangers are friendly

I walked in with a board and my pads, not knowing how to use any and hoping I’d leave with a handle on at least some. A stranger came over and taught me how to put on my helmet (have to start with the basics), how to position myself on the board, how to skate, how to fall, and how to turn. He spent over an hour of his time teaching someone he did not know, which I doubt he was expecting to do with his night. Nonetheless, he did it with kindness, patience, and love. He said it was brave of me to show up at a place that looks so daunting, knowing no one and nothing. I really appreciated that because I hadn’t felt brave up until that point; I had just felt foolish. Perhaps that’s what bravery is: being willing to go after what you want and believe in even if you feel foolish in the process.

you have to fall to fly

It is not until I was ready to fall and fail in public that I could make progress on having control over the board. The most important thing is to learn to fall without harming yourself and having the courage to get back on and try it again and again until it clicks and sticks. One of my coworkers called out how I’ve had a board for years but I didn’t decide to show up at the skatepark until I was being forced to lean into learning from failure at work. In fact, he’s the one who asked to reflect on the experience and how the skating and my work life relate; how I chose an analogous outlet at night for the fears I waded through during the day and how that was no coincidence.

no one cares

I fell. Over. And over again.

we all cope with our demons differently, and that is beautiful

A lot of people view skating as a home when they cannot find one elsewhere, a place to release the feelings they wouldn’t be able to express otherwise, and a gathering of people so committed to their own growth that they fall in front of everyone every day to get there.

Written by

Product manager | Leading with empathy.

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