Long Beach Press Telegram
Newspaper Editorial
January 31, 1979

A Genuine Sport

Upon reading your Life/style article Jan. 25 concerning the possible ban of skateboarding, I was surprised not to find one of the more important issues being discussed. When are communities going to realize that skateboarding shares the same needs as other sports?

Without proper education regarding safety and skills, we will continue to see the participants of this activity suffer. A positive approach to utilize the potential of this activity in reaching kids seems a much more logical solution than eliminating it altogether.

I am a senior at Long Beach State University studying physical education. Fitness levels continue to remain low because we as educators do not supply activities according to the student's desires. How many of the sports being taught in schools today lead into life- time habits? Why are team sports promoted so heavily with little attention being given to the individual?

For the last four years I have toured, lectured, written about, promoted, manufactured, and competed as a professional skateboarder. As a physical educator, I would not have done any of those things had I believed my work was going to endanger someone. Quite the opposite: Children learned spatial awareness, balance, coordination, strength and just as important, a better respect for their own potential as human beings.

I cannot deny the potential danger of the sport. Certainly speeds of 50 miles an hour on a skateboard are not in the sanity range. Our goals should be set to eliminate this activity's illness, not its life.

Russ Howell
Long Beach

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