What Are We So Afraid Of?



This past week I have been getting emails and seeing posts on Facebook, which are rabidly against the proposed skatepark in Moulton Meadows park.

I am surprised to see such fear around what a skateboard-structure may bring. I honestly don’t see offering a skate-structure as any different as offering a basketball court, a tennis court, or a playscape. (To those who object to the “concrete” of a skating structure, consider the content of these other facilities.)

Skateboarding is a deeply-embedded part of the youth culture in southern California and in our town. I see 8-10 year-old kids all over the place, wearing their helmets and working on their moves. Why deny them this opportunity to polish skills early on a summer morning with their friends, so that they don’t need to “schedule” a drive from a parent to another out-of-town park?  I’m sure there are many kids who live in the Moulton Meadows area who would really enjoy this new aspect of their neighborhood park!

In reading the emails, I heard fear of traffic from “outsiders” coming up to the park.  Frankly, I don’t perceive the risk of mass quantities of “outsiders” venturing to our most remote park for a skate structure when there are so many “cooler” places they can drive to for the same purpose.  This would primarily serve the community in which it is embedded.

I also heard fear of a carelessly-tossed cigarette, and other environmental disrespect. Is this not profiling a certain skateboard-enthusiast “type” who would be far more likely to behave disrespectfully? Implicit in all these complaints is a fear of the “outsiders” who will pour up the hill and “congregate.” Outsiders who won’t respect the peaceful values of the residents. This sounds xenophobic to me.

Finally, there is a fear that the location would tempt more people into downhill skateboarding on the streets.  Isn’t the sport of speed-boarding completely different than the sophisticated flips and twists kids perfect on those concrete structures?  Also, if there is a structure offered, mightn’t it draw kids away from the more dangerous speed-boarding?

I think we need to ask ourselves what we really fear in this proposed skateboard structure, and reality-test to see if these fears are founded.  We need to explore our own stereotypes and prejudices about people who love to skateboard.  Only then can we make a fair and well-reasoned decision.


Kate Rogers, Laguna Beach

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  1. Years ago while traveling in Europe I witnessed the best example of city endorsed skating, and the best moves I ever saw on a skateboard. Free-style skaters were drawn to these well-known locations and watching them perform was all the rave by visiting tourists. Try Hero’s Square in Budapest Hungary, or LPalais de Chaillot in Paris, or best by far, under the Eiffel Tower. Alas this is Laguna Beach alias NooosVille, so lets lower our expectations.


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