It was a typical day off for me—a lie-in followed by guilt ridden thoughts of “I should get up. It’s a waste of a day otherwise.” As I rose I continued my routine of switching on my laptop and doing the ol’ Facebook check… I almost wish I hadn’t.
As I scrolled through my news feed I came across a link to an article from The Telegraph titled: ‘Midlife crisis? Time to get a skateboard, gentlemen.’
Really? Had I really just read that?
That title alone was enough to aggravate me, but I clicked on the link to see what else was in store. I saw a long and daunting article ahead. Despite loving to write I’m not actually much of a fan of reading. The temptation to close article was high.
But no. I had already maxed out on laziness that day with a rising of 1:30pm, so I made it my mission to plough through.
Now, I’m no expert when it comes to skating. I’ve dabbled in and out of it from the age of eight, but more often than not I’m the one behind the lens capturing others rolling about, rather than cruising on a board myself. But this though, I believe, gives me more of a justification than a Mr Harry Wallop to write an article on the subject!
I, as were many others, was offended by the words of this so called professional writer. A lot of the skaters are that bit older, but it has NEVER occurred to me they are having a midlife crisis. Most of them will have started as kids or teens and have discovered a world so welcoming and allowing of them to express themselves, in what quite frankly is an art form more than a sport, they have continued it throughout their life.
A chance to escape other forty-year old somethings such as Wallop and actually hang with open minded, creative people? Well, who wouldn’t want to skate?
In fact a friend of mine (Chris Pulman) will soon be approaching the big 40 (sorry dude), but as someone who spends half his week skateboarding, is raising a child, has just started up his own skate company (Descent Skateboards) and seems to be pretty content with it all, that hardly screams out midlife crisis to me.
‘It’s an expression’
Others also seem to be misled. Grant Feller, 45, a media consultant, wrote: “Skating is almost the perfect metaphor for a midlife crisis – it is mildly dangerous, it is fun and it is bound to end with humiliation and a bruised ego. A midlife crisis is all about discovering the things you missed out on in your youth, which used to be fast cars and having more sex. But maybe, for the latest generation, it is skating.”
People don’t start skating for the adrenaline fuelled rush they might be seeking in life (that’s what skydiving’s for). They skate to express themselves. They skate because it’s a way of life. There is no humiliation or bruised ego when bailing, only a showcase of pure balls. AND (just like any other man on the planet) I’m sure sex is still a priority!
In fact I asked Chris who’s been skating twenty-seven years now why he does it and he said: “It’s a means of expression, both physically and mentally. It’s an escape from the routine trappings of human existence in this society. It’s very levelling and basic; you fall down, hurt yourself, breathe fresh air and exploit your environment.
“It’s unique and, in a way, my own skateboarding is unique.
“If you can’t have a passion for being unique then human existence seems futile, eh?”
The sheer ignorance continued to persist throughout the article: ‘Evidence that skating is for dads rather than lads…’ and ‘the ultimate sport for teenage rebels.’
No sir. Everybody skates. No just middle aged men and ‘teenage rebellions,’ but boys, girls, women, the well behaved, everyone…and since when did older skaters call themselves ‘skater geezers?’
Try it – it’s worth it
The article somehow then strays off and begins talking about the shame of men posting images of hair transplants on Instagram. It suggests that older skaters fit another stereotype: ‘The old man.’
I’m surprised he didn’t continue by talking about crippled posture and afternoons watching countdown followed by a nap. Because that’s OBVIOUSLY what older skaters do.
He finished the article with: “We can laugh all we like at the pathetic mid-life crisis dads, in their baggy strides, yelling “stoked!” as they attempt a McTwist 540 at the skate park… But, at least skating is a great deal cheaper than buying a Ferrari. And probably much more fun.”
The hypocrisy in this last paragraph is a joke. Laughing at the middle aged man discovering skateboarding as a way to cope with getting older throughout the ENTIRE article, but then in the very last sentence making it sound like a wise option?
You may laugh at the older men skating Wallop, but skaters everywhere are currently laughing at you.
The whole article to me is ill informed, patronising and, well, shit…
Oh and as for Wallop’s ‘But now, a pair of baggy jeans, dodgy facial hair’ quote, try going to a skate park. Clean shaven and Dickies pants are far more likely.
What do you think? Have your say in the comments section below.