What Skateboarding Taught Me About Resilience


I’ve been skating for nine years and have probably had around eight major crashes in that time. I have torn ligaments in my feet, my chest has been sucker-punched by concrete, and both my knees are still filled with gravel.

My worst stack was probably when I bombed a steep hill and my board slipped out from under me. I was on bleeding on the side of the road; I kept telling myself not to pass out. 

When I tell people these stories, I’ll usually receive a peculiar look or two. I’m also often asked why I continue to skate. Or, someone will interrupt a longboarding anecdote to question why I do something dangerous. 

And the answer to these questions is pretty simple: I just find it fun.

To me, there’s legitimately nothing better than having the wind in your hair, adrenaline in your heart, and a slightly terrifying thrill. However, there’s a deeper reason that compels me to continue skating. I enjoy riding longboards and pennies because no other activity has taught me resilience better than skating has. 

But how can skating teach someone to be resilient?

Well, if you’re riding a skateboard for long enough, you’re inevitably going to fall off. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a pro, something will happen that’ll bodyslam you into the tarmac.

And when that happens, you’ll be presented with a choice. You can choose to give up, or you can decide to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again. 

It’s not always so easy, and particularly after an injury. Your legs get wobbly, and your brain will tell you to stop. However, I’ve found pushing through immeasurably helpful learning that it’s possible to stand up. I now know that feeling hurt, or like a failure, doesn’t mean that you should quit.

Because lying on the roadside, trying not to go unconscious, is painful. However, understanding that this experience teaches you perseverance, well, I think that’s just a tad special. 

Occasionally, in my regular non-skating life, I will mess up. There’ll be a cringy typo in an important email, or I can’t find the right words for a story. But when that happens, I usually think back to a time that I was lying on the pavement.

I’ll reminisce about an afternoon when skating seemed impossible. And more often than not, that helps me get through the crash. 

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