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A diversion from desolation

Interesting to see the mostly positive effects of children experiencing skateboarding for the first time in Afghanistan.

Skating really is a sport that crosses the class barrier, and is favourable towards the poorer or working class in terms of accessibility – all you need is a deck and you’re good to go. When I first started in the early 80’s I had a cheap green plastic deck that I think I swapped a friend something for and it did the job for me to learn the basics of skating. Not that it mattered where it came from, as back then pretty much everybody was skating similar plastic decks that would shatter under a heavy impact.

In that regard, it’s a shift to the opposite end of the spectrum from one of my other favourite sports – tennis. When I was in my teens and a member of my local tennis club, I always found that the other kids – generally from the middle and upper classes of the area – had much better clothes and equipment than myself. I was using a metal hand-me-down raquet that vibrated like a big tuning fork as I struck the ball, when the rest of them were using carbon fibre and other exotic materials. (It made it all the more satisfying when I occasionally beat one of them – rare occurrence, sadly!)

Of course, nowadays both my tennis racket and my skateboard are made from exotic materials and cost a good bit more than your budget variety. Hasn’t improved my skills at either sports, sadly, but it does always make me smile at a skate park to see some kid tearing up the place on a board that looks like it was found in the trash. 🙂

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