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Teaching Skating and What Skating Teaches in War and Peace

roadskater's picture

This is another piece that ends up leaning toward pimping some brands, but OK, when the brands have put some bucks into helping kids of war learn to skate and love...at least love to skate. What gets me here is how many things Percovich has tried, where he's been, and how exceptionally well he speaks at least in moments of this interview. 

The brilliance of this one more program to help people of such and such circumstance is that he had the vision to NOT GIVE AWAY ANY SKATEBOARDS, but to keep them at the skate park. Why brilliant, when every roller rink has rentals? Well, we often think if we could just help someone OWN a board, skates or a bike, well it would all turn out great. Not always. These items become commodities, sold or stolen, and on the streets they may not be used the way idealistically imagined in the perfectly good minds of we who hope to do good. But we can't control how our good intentions might grow. And in many cases that is fine, even great, even if a bike, board or skates get sold they will hopefully be ridden. But in this case, it is genius to keep the equipment from going out to the streets, even if it inspires purchases or fabrication at home. As we've talked about recently, especially timv's comment of late, you go to this place to do this thing and get in the mindset of that. 

For these kids it can be the oasis, the culture built up of cultures, the jambalaya of skateyness in safety...what so many kids are looking for...a safe place to try out who they are where they can fail and try again and again...where they can learn to play their board like a guitar. 

Also I am inspired by his choice to reserve half the boards and equipment for girls in this particular situation (where I might not be impressed with that choice in the USA so much). Skating of any kind, human powered movement or expression of any kind, teaches so much confidence and pays back all the love you give it, that this is a secret lovebomb in the hearts of these girls I would think. How great is it to explode from within with joy!? 

Yes this is subversive (superversive?). Yes it is wonderful. Yes some bad things can happen. Yes some girls will have to quit. Yes some will be picked on. Yes some will be abused for their skating. Well, haven't we all been in very small ways abused for our artistic expressions? And yes we can hide them if we must, but....

WE NEVER FORGET LEARNING TO PLAY A PAIR OF SKATES, A BOARD, A BIKE, A GUITAR, A PIANO, A LANGUAGE, A PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE. Once the girls (and boys) have their private successes they can't be put back into the bottle. They're the genie, however invisible at times, that has been unleashed into their future opinion of themselves. I believe that. Once you've felt the love of expression on skates or instruments or with words or numbers, you may at times not feel it, but it's hard to forget having felt it. 

So I for one believe this is one small effort that can transform individuals in great ways that we will likely never be able to prove. But a small change in the world can be a life-saving change in one life, and thus have huge effects to all who love that one life, that one person. 

I was going to pull out some quotations I liked from the article, but now I think I had better put away the computer and go skate, because on any given lap, I may catch that glimpse of love in the wind, in the sound, in the faces of people who think skating looks so easy and fun, and in knowing it's not always easy but it is somehow easy in the end...and it's not always fun but it is somehow fun in the end. And more importantly, it affirms in so many endeavors, that I can do this, one stroke at a time, for the distance, and feel joy in the having achieved something that day, with a team, or on my own. 

Skateylove, world.


Bridging The Gap Between Cultures Through Skating - Transworld Business -

Bridging The Gap Between Cultures Through Skating
Transworld Business
Percovich, who grew up skating in Papua New Guinea, set out in 2007 to find a job in Kabul, Afghanistan but instead stumbled upon a way to combine several of his passions—skating, education connecting different cultures and working with youth. ...



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