What do skateboard parks and retirement communities have in common?

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Some of my fondest memories are from over 25 years ago when I would ride skateboard from sun up to sun down. Back in those days skateboarding was an underground sport; it’s hard to imagine how mainstream it’s become

This summer I started skateboarding again with some other friends my age that shared this passion from our youth. We would “cruise” on long boards, nothing too extreme. One day on my way back from a meeting at a senior living community I noticed a skateboard park. A few weeks later I had a follow up meeting and threw my long board in the car.

Much to my dismay there were other skaters in the park. I wanted to test out this place solo, and after all I was in my work clothes and riding a board not designed for a skate park! It felt a little like walking into the retirement community 30 years “younger” than I “should” be, instead now was I entering a skateboard park 30 years “older” than I “should” be.

I intentionally avoided the other skaters in the park; much to my surprise a friendly voice welcomed me across the park. When I rolled over I was greeted by a couple of skaters that looked to be my age! One was a 42-year-old attorney named Patti Hurst who stepped on her first skateboard a few years ago and now seems to be an icon in the skate scene across the nation! I found an interview with her, click here.
A few minutes riding in the best pool I had ever skated made me feel like I had discovered the fountain of youth! I fell a couple times, ripped my pants, but I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face driving to my next meeting.

My eyes have been opened to the huge numbers of others that never gave up skateboarding or returned with similar path as mine. I don’t think many would argue that skateboard parks are a symbol of youth just as retirement communities are a symbol of old age. In this year I guess I have discovered that the sweetest reward can come when you break those barriers.

This evening I attended a public hearing for a skateboard park being built in the town next to mine. Some comments prompted me to say a few words about how important this park could be to the community. After the hearing, a reporter from a local newspaper ran after me in the parking lot to get my name. When I told him my name his response was “I thought that was you! You’re the guy who moved into the retirement community with your son.”

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