Allen.Birch

On being a skater

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I was recently with a group of friends and we were waxing nostalgic about growing up in the 80s and 90s when one of us suggested we all go to a 90s party that night. We were talking about dial-up internet, cassette tapes getting stuck in the tape deck, and rainbow Slinkies, in case anyone was interested in how that conversation went. When we were talking about how one of us was a hippie as a teenager, the other was a punk, the third one of us mentioned that he was a skater.

We all had to laugh because we hadn’t heard or talked about skater culture for years and it suddenly felt completely outdated—but not yet retro!

There’s no reason to mourn the loss of this subculture (it still has it pockets, despite have evolved a little bit over the years to something more inclusive), though its look has certainly changed since its heyday in the 80s and 90s. And, if you were a skater from those times you might feel nostalgia reading about what skating was like then as I did after my friend brought it up a couple of weeks ago.

The trends, the slang, and even the brands were quite different—and why shouldn’t they have been considering that the 90s are already nearly 18 years old—than they are tonight. For me the biggest difference though was the difference of attitude.

I’m no longer a teenager and (almost) sadly haven’t been for some time now, so it might still be the same for some 15-year-old skaters who were born in 2001, for example. But what I can remember most about being a skater ‘back in the day’ is the sense of belonging and low-key, vague rebellion. It’s no secret that being a teenager is a stressful time in one’s life and as cheesy as it sounds, being a skater was something that helped me get through those years. I’m sure it would have been the same had I got into stamp collecting in a big way or joined some football team or an environmentalism activist group, but for me tit was skating and I’ll always have a soft spot for it whenever I look back.

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