Do you remember Skaterboys? Not Sk8tr Bois, those came much later. When I was a kid, skateboarding was still a little dangerous, not in the physical sense (that remains) but in the rebellious sense. The Skaterboys shaved their heads in strange ways; sometimes they even dyed their hair blue, or green. Their dark clothing with chains clanging like warning bells were scary, not in the frightened sense but in the heart-pounding sense. They wore low-top skate shoes and came in late to school. They hung out right outside of the principal’s office, as if daring him to bust them.
Oh, and they were cute. Skaterboys were cute in the way that all slightly bad boys on a mode of transportation are cute—especially to a good girl. You might steal a glance at the wiry boys leaning against the wall on your way to class, but to do anything else might make your girlfriends question your sanity. You just don’t cross those invisible lines that early in high school. One Skaterboy in particular was so hot the girls across the cliques couldn’t help but throw a glance in his direction, hoping he’d stop playing tricks on his board and return a look. Every single one of my friends took turns having a crush on that Irish boy. I couldn’t get him to give me a second look, but his sister took a turn having a crush on me (that’s a story for another day.) Then again, what would I have done if he or any other Skater reciprocated? Probably nothing, they were just too dangerous.
I was gathering up my grocery bags at my neighborhood store when I heard the telltale thwack and spin of skateboards in the parking lot. I had El Guille in the cart as I pushed him out the doors. Between me and the car were a bunch of Skaters. There they were, skinny jeans, bad hair, greasy skin, and so scrawny I nearly turned my cart around to go buy them each a Twinkie. What happened to the Skaterboys? These weren’t the bad boys of my youth; they were a bunch of children who needed some clean clothes, a shower, and a haircut. Buy some Clearasil, babies.
Driving home last week I saw a couple kids on boards. They were no more than seven, just a couple years older than El Guille. I couldn’t help but think of El Guille with a board, rocketing down the sidewalk, creating jumps out of plywood, and saving up his pennies to visit Board of Provo. I wonder if I’m raising a Skaterboy. I think that when you grow up with something slightly rebellious, it no longer stays rebellious. Skateboarding won’t be the same if the cops don’t come after you. It’s not the same if your mom and dad used to board. It’s not the same if your mom buys you a helmet and pads so that you can board safely. It kind of makes me miss the Skaters.