Acceptable Risks for One Sport, Demonized in Another



A kid broke his leg. He lay there writhing in pain. A host of other kids are suffering injuries they will carry with them for a lifetime. Yet, the public pays good money to watch these kids do this to each other. Coaches teach and beg the kids to “stick” the kids on the other side and “hit” them with all their might. The elderly limp to games to watch the young beat on each other and relive how they acquired all their aches and pains. “Non-negligent” parents pay for equipment, lessons and travel to send their children to battle to knock each other silly, putting their newly formed bones and recently developed bodies at risk. Limbs bent backwards, helmet to helmet contact jamming their necks squaring off to risk spinal injury and concussions with every whistle blow…When the kid is wheeled off on the stretcher, the crowd cheers. Appreciating the kid for, “laying it all on the line” for the sake of what? Winning? Surviving? Doing what is accepted, although inherently dangerous?


A kid broke his leg skateboarding. Writhing in pain he lay there a martyr. An inconvenience to the public, for doing nothing more than what every kid in this town has done for 40 years… No sympathy, no cheers from the crowd. He lay there vilified and criminalized for doing only what generations of Laguna residents have done before him. Only they did it with inferior equipment and no safety gear. The ire was never there before, only until recently. A flame has been lit, and now skateboarding despite being statistically (see PTC findings) fractionally less involved in accidents than cyclists or pedestrians is going to go extinct in this town.


A cyclist lay on Coast Highway. Blood pouring from his ears. His body broken and twisted in metal. I guess nobody cares or is annoyed by you. Kinda like skiers when snowboarders got their start. You are the “norm” and are accepted in society even though your activity is statistically more dangerous. Hell everybody had a bike growing up.


SNAG, take the PTC’s advice and go fight drunk drivers, child molesters, and drug dealers;  statistically these are proven child killers. So are obesity, suicide, drug abuse, teen pregnancy and teen alcoholism (things that kids turn to when they are bored). I choose “board over bored” any day…

Chad Gibbs, Laguna Beach


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