Hobby during Lockdown

Jared Arenas, Quality Control & Head Editor

The entire world went through a massive shift when it came to everyday life last year, and showed how much someone’s life could change in an instant. One day you could see large crowds of people bustling on the sidewalks and streets, and the next everyone is told to stay inside due to a pandemic putting everyone’s lives at risk. This decade so far has been made up of some of the biggest changes I’ve ever had in my life, and I only continue to venture deeper into unknown territory with each passing day now that I’ve officially entered my senior year. One positive change I’ve made that has come out of this situation however was deciding to pick up skateboarding, a hobby I’ve been intrigued in since early elementary school.

My memories with sports as a young kid weren’t exactly the most exciting or pleasurable. I played soccer from kindergarten to second grade, mainly because my sister did the exact same thing when she was growing up. I hated changing in front of teammates into my jersey, dealing with opponents that would always push me despite it being against the rules, and in general just being bad at the game, among other things. As each season passed, and as my teammates around me were growing in experience, I made less and less goals. By my penultimate season I made one, and by my last I made zero. So once again like my sister, I quit the sport and moved on.

All throughout elementary school, anytime I would catch sight of teenagers skating on the street sitting in the backseat of my family’s van, or see them on the out of place commercials for Disney XD, my mind would wander and think of how cool I would look doing the exact same thing, and how much I would prefer it over soccer. It wasn’t until the anime Sk8 the Infinity premiered back in the winter of this year however when my interest in the activity skyrocketed. That, combined with the idea of being stuck inside for over a year without any sort of physical activity prompted me to want to pick up a board and start practicing.

I began by searching in my sister’s garage for her old longboard that has since been abandoned- her words being mainly that she became disinterested after realizing the sport wasn’t for her. After that, I began by searching tutorials online of the basics of longboarding. To this day, the Braille Skateboarding channel on YouTube remains my favorite guide when it comes to learning the essentials of the sport. I’ve learned how to stand on the board while simultaneously not falling, how to stop on a curb without rolling backwards, and a few tricks like the Pop Shuvit.

As for where I started skateboarding, I began on the concrete pavement of my backyard, making it my priority to avoid any stray objects in the way such as our large wheelbarrow used to carry feed to our chickens and the picnic table saved mainly for special occasions. I realized soon after that the method wasn’t an ideal way to coach myself, so I gathered some wooden boards reserved from the worksite of my grandfather’s former boss and placed a makeshift surface on the grass to practice on. While it’s not necessarily ideal to make such a thing for myself, I still prefer it to going to a skatepark and potentially humiliating myself at my current skill level. I’ve already served enough anxiety-filled moments just practicing in the comfort of my own home; the feeling of my neighbors potentially peering through their windows only to see me falling at my own demise has me petrified more than anything else surrounding the sport.