Growing up in Orange County, they tried to make me believe that skateboarding is a crime.
But with the creation of the Orange County Skateboarding League, which includes 19 schools all over the county, that attitude is largely fading away. And according to the latest rankings, the Newport Harbor High School team ranks No. 4, behind Costa Mesa, San Clemente, and Estancia.
As a child, skateboarding was my means of transportation in addition to being a fun hobby – and now middle school and high school students get a chance to compete with their friends in a terrific atmosphere.
To skaters, it seems like people have always been trying to outlaw the sport, claiming the skaters destroy public property and a board can be dangerous if a rider falls and it shoots it away.
The problem where I grew up was there wasn’t anywhere safe to skateboard, so we had to go into the streets and on sidewalks. Talk of a skate park as a designated place for skateboarding went on for years, but nothing ever came of it. My friends and I didn’t destroy property and we weren’t bad kids, we just wanted to skateboard.
The lack of facilities was so bad that in 1993, during the fires in Laguna Beach, we all ventured into the swimming pools of houses that had burned to the ground. The pools were drained, and since we couldn’t skate in the streets, parks, or sidewalks, we took to the pools.
I wish something like this league had existed back then, because skateboarding is a great, healthy sport for children to participate in, and they should be encouraged to do so.
It’s much safer nowadays, as well, with equipment such as knee pads, elbow pads, and helmets. It can be a difficult sport to judge at times, because the judging is subjective – similar to figure skating, snowboarding, and gymnastics but – the league is very well set up and judges not only the top school, but the top individual rider as well.
The current season is hitting its stride and the 2012 OCSL season will begin in October with tryouts. The top individual riders and school teams will advance to the finals this summer which will be hosted by the Maloof Money Cup at the OC Fairgrounds.
The OCSL was founded in March 2010 and supports the middle schools and high schools of Orange County along with student skateboarding programs and facility improvement programs. The skateboarding league was designed as a way for students to participate in a non-traditional school sport. The kids can showcase their individual talents in a team environment.
For more information or to sign up your child for 2012, visit ocskateboardingleague.org.