Nov 20, 2020 in Law

Observing Skateboarders

Research Context

In this assignment, I will attempt to study the life of teenage skateboarders to gain insight into the specific kind of lifestyle and culture they have. I had several weeks of observation by studying a group that frequently gathered in an abandoned building located in one of the poorest sections of the town. The motivation to observe this group comes from a deep sense of curiosity because they are an interesting group of people to observe and study. I was inspired to study them because they seem to be free of the worries of life and they seem to enjoy what they are doing. In this context, the desire to understand their motivation for learning how to use the skateboard makes observing this group an enjoyable and hopefully an enriching experience. It is also fascinating to discover how other groups of people live, especially those who are different in terms of values and activities that they like to pursue.

In the process of observing the said skateboarders, one should pay attention that they always come to the site as a group. When I went to this site earlier, there was no single incident when a skateboarder came alone. Most of the time a group of at least three people shows up until it becomes a part of a larger group that sometimes grow into fifteen or twenty skateboarders.


Summary of Observation

It is hard to imagine this group of skateboarders enjoying themselves in a park with many trees, plants, and hiking trails. It does not require a scientist to discover that they need flat concrete areas, roads, or small alleys with little or no obstacles for them to perform their maneuvers. If the road or sidewalk is not flat and descending into a major roadway, it is important that the sidewalk is relatively free of debris or obstacles so that skateboards can easily descend on this pathway using their boards and enjoy the speed that it brings.

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During the observation, it was easy to notice the fact that skateboarders seemed to have some sort of a uniform. It was not a uniform like the one people use to go to school or to the office. However, I could detect some sort of pattern. They seemed to be wearing the same type of clothes. During the numerous times that the observation was made, it was easy to discover that three or five people from the group wore the same brand of shoes. Moreover, if they do not share the same brand, they nevertheless share the same type of footwear. From a certain perspective, it was obvious that the soles of the shoes were flat and I can argue that the purpose was to create more contact with the skateboard. I can also argue that shoes with such soles used for running trails or cross-training may now work well with the observed type of activity. Aside from their shoes, the clothes they wore allowed them a greater freedom of movement.

Their stunts seemed to go back and forth between fascinating and the ridiculous, because, as an observer with no knowledge of the sport, I could not help but think that at any given moment one of them would slip down, fall hard to the ground, and break a bone or two. Every group member was determined, excited, and liked what they were doing.

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It is not very accurate to say that skateboarding is some type of sport because the sport of skateboarding has little resemblance or similarity to more formal types of sports like baseball or basketball. In the said ball games, there are strict rules, and there is a need to score to make the game interesting. However, in skateboard, no one needs to score, track the time, and be a referee to ensure that everyone follows the rules. In this context, one can say that skateboard belongs to a different category. Although one can make an argument that it is indeed some form of a sport because of the physical activity and the use of some equipment or gear, it is not enough to say that it is something people do to play or exercise. It should be made clear that serious followers or practitioners of skateboarding can have a decent exercise if they spend half an hour skating. However, this is more than a game.

One of the main reasons it is not accurate to simplify skateboarding as a sport is due to the fact that teenagers who come to the abandoned building several times in a week are very different from teenagers who come to the park or the basketball gym to play their favorite sports. For those who come to a public place to enjoy soccer or baseball, they visit this place for the physical activity. One does not expect a certain kind of unity that exists between the people who play a game of basketball. Most of the time, total strangers can play the game of basketball or soccer, and the only thing that holds them together is the rules of the game. However, skateboarders spend a great deal of time together. They also share what they have, including pocket money to buy food, drinks and, sometimes, spare parts to repair the skateboard. In other words, there is greater evidence of a skateboarder community as compared to other sports.

In conclusion, I believe that the dynamics that exists between skateboarders is different from the one between athletes who practice a certain sport. Therefore, it is even difficult to classify skateboarding as a formal type of physical activity because the players have more than just the opportunity to strengthen their body. They also found an emotional and intellectual connection with the people within the group. Such level of connection is not present in other locations like gyms, parks, or playing facilities.


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