What great things can be accomplished when we come together as a community?
Decency regains territory and our shared destiny becomes brighter.
No more tears fall, but faces are lifted up with smiling hearts filled with courage, grit and determination.
Coming together are hearts and minds under a common cause, like a river that flows without end. Surely, yesterday morning the skatepark I frequent daily was wrecked, yet a wave of dedication swept over by end of day. Things have changed. We are in new territory now and there is no going back. Children and parents are establishing their positions within the park by their mere presence. Experienced skaters are emboldened and ripping every which way. You should see some of them. It is a marvel to watch them hit breathtaking speeds as they perform hard to pronounce maneuvers. If that is not all, we now have a second female skater in our midst. She is quite young but makes up for that with her persistent desire to skateboard. Her wonderful mother told me that she is quiet as a ghost in her school, yet she transforms into something else at Scalzi skatepark. Gone is the hesitancy and the lack of inner confidence when she enters through those gates. These are replaced by a stronger, self-advocating individual who is in constant learning mode.
What happens at the skatepark? Is there magic in the air? No:), it is much simpler than that. Skateboarding is therapeutic. It calms my own heart to move fluidly in motion when I am not falling on my ass. The development of our executive function skills, located in the prefrontal cortex of the human brain accounts for over thirty identified abilities, including but not limited to foresight, goal-directed persistence, focus, sustained attention, behavior modulation and functional balance. Of course, the brain is a comprehensive operating system and the strenuous mental exercise does not stop there but encompasses both right and left hemispheres as well. An activity like skateboarding strengthens the synaptic connections between all parts of the brain therein creating a heightened operating processing platform for the learner. Moreover, the skills that are polished while moving on these wooden planks continue to pay dividends outside the skateboarding life. Yes, I know…too much of one thing only makes you dull. Skating is not everything in life, but for me and the skaters at Scalzi… skateboarding is an outlet for us in a world where everything else is structured in frameworks that do not always allow for both heart and mind to work together in sync.
Where do we go from here?
What is practical? What is achievable? What can we do if we sync all our hearts and minds together for the betterment of what the skatepark is beginning to represent more clearly? Young and old, black, white, Asian, hispanic… all these are here… shoulder to shoulder. This place is a microcosm of a shared dream many of us hang our hats on. I have that dream. We can continue to rise up for each other. This dream takes apathy by the horns and disintegrates it into nothingness. Where do we go from here? Well, we come together and figure out how to adequately sustain this dream. How much tax payer money was invested in this park back in 2007? Are we to just let that go to waist and let the park be a drug point? Do we turn our backs and walk away as the children are letting us know without words that they love how they feel as they carve those concrete walls? Hells no! We keep stepping up with single focus, with grit, with love that is not intimidated. We throw the vehicle into sixth gear and gun that engine! Let it come alive! I don’t have all the answers, yet I know me, and I this means that I won’t rest until we reach the mountaintop. But I can’t reach the top on my own. It takes a team effort! Working together we can tackle this.
- Shut those gates at night and fix the broken hole in the back wherein access is possible 24 hours a day.
- Bring in night lights to accommodate all kinds of people, be they with special needs or typical folk.
- Control the entrance but don’t make this a profit-venture that turns those with no money away. Those with no money CAN’T AFFORD to pay $5 each time they want to skate.
- Create some form of organized events to pump more energy into the park.
- Paint the walls with stories. Let’s have murals. Storytelling rocks and is educational!
So what do you say? We may all come from different socio-economic backgrounds and have our own beliefs, yet that should not impede in our common goal to be loving and kind. That’s universal and transcends our unique pasts.
I thank the police officers for their response yesterday. I take my hat off to each of you with deep respect. You have a tough, but necessary job in the community and we count on you, as well as all other civil servants.