Dear Councilman Gulliford:
When I learned of your proposal to ban skateboarding downtown, I did not get angry. I did not panic, thinking that my ability to skate around the city was in jeopardy. I did not feel the need to try and get the entire community of skaters together to demonstrate.
Instead I thought, “I would love to sit down and have a conversation with Councilman Gulliford.”
You see, even though I skate, I do not consider myself a skater. I have not put in the time, effort, and energy that real skaters do. I am too fearful of falling.
I also lack the very specific, creative lense through which real skaters view the world.
My sons skate. Their passion for skating inspired me. I saw how skating impacted them; how it taught them to not fear failure but be dedicated to mastering skills; how it gave them confidence and strength; how it provided a supportive community.
I am new to skating and perhaps because of that I understand when others dismiss skating as a nuisance. Andrew Smith said, “We fear what we don’t understand.” Perhaps this quote applies to the current situation.
Maybe the fear being directed toward skaters is caused by a lack of understanding. Who are skaters? What they are like? What specific good do they bring to our community?
So, Councilman Gulliford, let’s meet up for a drink. Intuition Ale Works is hosting a Tapping Party on June 17th to kick off Go Skate Jax 2016 and I cannot imagine a better time to get together to talk about skating and downtown. There will be live bands, great food and Intuition is brewing a special beer just for the occasion.
You will meet some great people, many who live and work in your district.
Plus, the first round is on me.
James Smith, Co-owner
The Block Skate Supply