Skateboarders have always viewed the sport this way. On the other hand, if you ask non-skateboarders about what they think of skateboarding the responses will vary. Society’s perception of skateboarding is always changing. The early writings about skateboarding show that society’s appreciation for the sport outweighed the public’s frustrations with skateboarders. By the late 1980’s when skateboarding showed resurgence, writings about skateboarding voiced frustrations with the skateboarding culture and even tried to deter people from skateboarding. Today there still exists some negative stereotypes from the past, but society is more careful when writing about skateboarding. To examine the changing perception of skateboarding, this essay examines writings about skateboarding in the late seventies, and late eighties (both eras had a resurgence of popularity to the sport) then the present date, to illustrate the changing views of the activity. Technological advances in the design of the skateboard in the 1970’s created an explosion of new skateboarders around the world. As a result, the skill level of skateboarders progressed quickly. Skateboarding was just beginning to become recognized as a sport in the late 1970’s. This resulted in skateboarding companies flourishing. Skateboards, skateboarding paraphernalia, and plenty of skateboarding magazines emerged. The skateboarding magazines eager to profit from this new sport would have to be careful with their treatment, as to make it appealing to young skateboarders, but also write cautiously about the problems associated with skateboarding. One considers that an article ‘There’s more than one shiny pebble on Brighton Beach’ (1977) discussed the planning stages of a skateboarding club. Still, they only briefly mention the problems associated with skateboarding, noting “there was a general discussion about the new sport – its popularity and its problems.” Although, one may find articles in skateboarding magazines that mention that skateboarding has its problems, it is very difficult to find any articles which go into detail about those problems. This article is selective in how it chooses the material to present the problems associated with skateboarding because during the late 70’s skateboarding was just beginning to gain popularity. The explosion of many new skateboarders meant lots of new skateboards and skateboard paraphernalia to be sold. Hence, skateboarding magazines would have been cautious in what they choose to portray. When this article refers to trouble making kids they say are inferring that the group prevents them from causing trouble. The articles notes It’s all worth it and very refreshing for those of us involved. Kids who are normally out in the streets aren’t – they come skateboarding with us instead. We get some of the young hoods with us but they never cause trouble. All they want to do is skateboard – and that’s why it’s so rewarding. (para. 6) When this article refers to kids who cause trouble being when there out on the streets, it does not go into to detail about those problems. The article illustrates how it is rewarding to see the group have a positive effect on the youth, as it keeps them out of trouble. Since skateboarding was only beginning to gain popularity during the late 1970’s, it is possible that the general public was not entirely frustrated with skateboarders yet. Teeter (1979) further expands the discussion on skateboarding, in a newspaper article from the Lethbridge Herald. This article is also only slightly suggestive of the public’s frustrations with skateboardin ...
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