I’m going to be honest with you all here. I joke around on this blog and use silly names for photographers, and continually reference the daftness of skateboarding. But amongst this silliness and unintentional comedy, I have a nugget of thoughtfulness and emotion to bestow.
At one point, I questioned, quite heavily, whether the effort for The Summer Jam was worth it.
I had never worked on an event of this scale. Covpark Combat was nothing compared to this. As a 26 year old skateboarder with a full time job, I almost felt like this was too much work and effort for Emily, The Council, the event sponsors and myself. I had, unfortunately, become complacent and disillusioned with Coventry Skateboarding to the point that I was considering the dismantling of Terribleco next year. Nothing definite, but I had ran out of roads to go down and felt like Coventry was a damned place beyond saving – no wider recognition for the scene, no decent parks, not a whole lot going on. A small city where no one escapes and no one enters. I needed a serious spark to remind me why I bothered starting this blog – The Summer Jam, thus far, has been that spark.
After all of the headaches and questioning whether the effort was worth it… I can honestly say it was, just because people were so stoked on it. Even those who haven’t been down yet are looking forward to next week’s session because the response has been so positive. After 4 years of meeting with the council, seeing plans for skateparks go down the drain, making contacts who then go quiet and eventually disappear off the radar, we’re finally seeing some kind of return that seems more likely to lead to a proper skatepark than ever before. These 3 days have done more good than any paper petition or formal letter could. Despite the bumps in the road the council see skatepark users as a legitimate group, and are beginning to feel like they need to provide an adequate facility.
I haven’t seen something like this bring the scene together in such a way in a long time as well… I used to go down to Covpark, or the Herbert, and I’d skate around feeling like everyone was kind’ve keeping themselves to themselves, not embracing the fact that there are other people on skateboards zipping around. In response I’d keep quiet and just copy everyone else. I’d turn up to a skatepark, only to feel like kids on BMX bikes, rollerblades or scooters don’t want me there because I’m on a plank with wheels; no one bothered to talk to someone who was riding something different to them – needless to say compassion had left the skatepark.
Over the last 3 days, however, I’d get down to the Transport Museum and see people I don’t really skate with that often anymore, and have a good laugh with them as we skate something truly new and interesting. I’d get chatting to BMXers I don’t really know, as well as the older lads who I used to see down Covpark every summer when I first started skating. Even the scooter riders during their own session seemed to be much happier riding the temporary park, as it was new and different. It’s the same kind of vibe that only comes from people truly enjoying themselves and genuinely having fun. As a whole it has brought the community of people who do “wheeled sports” closer together in this city, and that might very well be something this city has needed for some time.
Coventry needs you. Get over to the Transport Museum between the 9th and 11th of August, show your support by riding the temporary park, and let’s push this thing further.
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