by Neil Brown

It wasn't too long ago that I would have scoffed at the idea of playing basketball, or any other team sport for that matter. Skateboarding and punk rock still slept in the same bed when I first stepped on a board. Skateboarders didn't play sports and jocks didn't skate. Don't worry this isn't going to be some old school rant, I live in the present. But back to the subject at hand, team sports. Keeping score, choosing sides and shirt vs. skins is what I am talking about. I never did it. I embraced skateboarding because it rejected rules, competition, and a victory or defeat mentality. I was too blinded by my own prejudices and stereotypes of jocks to ever let them have a chance. I was no different than the jocks I hated. As time has passed I have learned to make judgements individually and try new experiences outside my blinders.

Pick-up basketball soon became a regular activity to split up the time between skate sessions. It was ugly. It was gorilla ball. Most of all it was fun. Fun like skateboarding is fun. The fun of landing a trick smoothly, the fun of a reverse lay up. Having fun is what it boils down to for me. One particular afternoon a friend and I headed down to the neighborhood court where we could always find a game. We ended up on opposing teams. Unconsciously we would congratulate each other after each shot we made. He'd pull a lay up, I would shout "Yeah!" I would hit all net on a jumper, and he would slip me a high five as we drove up court. It soon became apparent that the local b-ball boys were not happy with our congratulatory efforts. They just couldn't understand how we could be happy for the other team if they were contributing to our defeat. I had never put much thought into how skateboarders always give props to each other during sessions and even competitions. They pull a trick and it is the same as you pulling a trick — FUN! There in lies the key, so don't get locked up in the jock mentality. Whether you ride a board or are shooting boards remember true victory is breaking down barriers that separate people. There are no losers and no defeat, if you maintain the fun and friendships in skateboarding or whatever game you find yourself in.