Saturday, July 15, 2006

Skateboarding is NOT a crime

My mom is visiting, so I had to beg out of driving to Denver to see even a sliver of the Dew Action Sports tour stop. She says spent enough time hanging out at skateparks and motocross tracks when my brother, sister and I were kids.

So I said "heck yeah," when this teenager I know, Eli Epstein, said he'd send a report from Pepsi Center. Eli's an eighth-grader at Manitou Springs Middle School. I didn't have to worry he'd blow me off, either - he's the son of Gazette A&E Editor Warren Epstein, and Warren wouldn't do us wrong.

Here's Eli's report from Denver:

"I'm sitting in the bleachers of the Pepsi Center watching 8-year-old kids fly high over my head on their skateboards. These kids are skating on a vert ramp that seems about 20 times their size.

Skateboarding has come so far in the past few years. This Dew Action Sports Tour is like a giant carnival of everything related to skating, BMX, FMX and being a teenager. You walk through this "festival village" outside the Pepsi Center and you run into tons of people eager to give you as much free stuff from their companies as possible. They were handing out Dew samples, batteries, skate DVDs and had a bunch of sweepstakes to win boards, bikes and trips to L.A.

The competition really heats up when we step into the bleachers. Eleven-year-old Nyjah Huston is beating some of the most famous skateboard legends, like Eric Koston. Every trick he does, he gives it his all and makes it perfectly clean. When he flip tricks up and grinds down the hubba, his dreadlocks flying behind him, he really gets the crowds' hearts pumping.

With the wonderful 30 Seconds to Mars concert at the end Friday, the Dew Action Sports Tour stop, which continues until Sunday, is really great.

My friends and I who skate seem to spend a lot of time getting kicked out of all the great local skate spots. Maybe this kind of event will show adults that skateboarding isn't a crime. It's a real sport, just like any other."

Well said, Eli. Keep skating (just don't grind on the railing down to my backyard). And keep an eye on Nyjah. Who knows what he'll do when he turns 12.

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