Scooters get no respect from skateboarders |

Scooters get no respect from skateboarders

My son, all 40 pounds of him, was absolutely crushed in the bowl.

His silver scooter rested on its side nearby as he tried to get to his feet. He didn’t want to cry in front of all those older boys gathered at the skateboard facility out at Mills Park, but I could see his lower lip start to quiver a bit.

A latest casualty in the ball bearing war that now has skateboarders pitted against scooters.

Skateboarders will tell you that my son should not have been in the bowl, the concrete valley inside the skateboard facility. “This is a skateboard park and it’s too dangerous for young dudes on scooters,” they’ll argue. “They don’t know what they’re doing and they don’t watch where they’re going.”

Never mind that it was the skateboarder who blasted into my son by not watching where he was going.

And so far as the “don’t know what they’re doing” rap, I saw at least a dozen face-plants by skateboarders in the first 10 minutes at the park.

“Oh, you mean he hasn’t quite mastered the fine art of shattering his elbow or rearranging his nose?” I wondered aloud.

Funny how the wheels have flipped.

Not too long ago it was the skateboarders ranting that they were being treated as second-class citizens, rebelling with battle cries of “Skateboarding Is Not a Crime,” or, “If Skateboards Are Outlawed Only Outlaws Will Have Skateboards.” Merchants were tired of having their storefronts used as practice fields for “X-Games” and pedestrians were limping from shin wounds caused by runaway boards.

So the City Fathers and a few City Mothers got together and built a skateboard park. Others have sprung up all over the country.

I remember the dedication ceremony a couple of years ago at at Mills Park. There were speeches, soft drinks and helmeted and elbow-padded boarders on hand to perform safe tricks for the crowd. The mayor was even there, officially dedicating the facility as one small hump for man and one giant ramp for mankind, or something like that.

The day my son was crushed helmets were few and elbow pads were absent, in spite of the city sign indicating that helmets were required. One boarder had pulled a couple of trash cans onto the concrete course and was hurdling them.

A couple of others were hurling spit and profanities at one another.

“F- – – you!” one shouted to the other.

“Oh, yeah?” replied his speech partner. “F- – – this!” He followed that with a glob of spit that landed a good five feet from his pierced lips.

The City Fathers, and a few City Mothers, at least have contained the young rebels. Better they spit and curse in a public cement bowl than on the public cement street.

Not that the park has ridded our streets of skateboards, mind you. Not by a long shot. There’s still nothing like a fresh set of stairs, rail or curb to test your knees, elbows and foreheads on.

But now there’s competition for those sidewalks in the form of silver scooters. Lots and lots of silver scooters. Santa got carried away this year and delivered a scooter to one of every two American chimneys.

Perhaps he realized the advantages of the scooter. Unlike skateboards, scooters come with … get this … handles. I’ve always thought it best to have something to hold onto as you’re rolling down the sidewalk on a piece of something six inches wide and 12 inches long. It’s difficult to learn square roots and the capital of Rhode Island with metal plates in your head.

The scooters can also be folded up and used to smash a skateboarder, in the event the skateboarder refuses to share the roadway or ramp. That’s especially effective if you’re wearing a helmet. A counter-attack with a skateboard can hurt just as bad as a good scooter whack.

There must be compromise, however. Inline skaters, boarders and scooters must find a way to live in peace. There are miles and miles of concrete out there; plenty enough for everyone to get his or her fair share of concussions and fractures.

Perhaps what we need at Mills Park is some sort of lifeguard, like we have at the public pools. “OK. Time’s up! Skaters out, scooters in!”

Or maybe we ought to just give them back our streets and turn the skateboard park into a pedestrian park, someplace you can go if you just want to walk without getting run over.

Pedestrian park users could even practice jumping and hopping up and down the cement ramps.

Great for the thighs and hips.

Until then, I’ll continue to fight for some quality scooter time at the park with my son. After all, Scooting Is Not A Crime.

Jeff Ackerman is publisher and editor of the Nevada Appeal.

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