It sounds overly dramatic but I like to think skateboarding saved and changed my life. I can’t really put into words how important it was to me.
I grew up in North belfast in the middle of the troubles in an area with very little opportunities at the time surrounded by shootings and bombings. A country divided by religion and politics. Giant peace walls and army patrols keeping each side apart with armed paramilitaries and gangs running the streets.
Id never really ventured beyond my area until I started skating. I found an escape and a love for the music I heard in skate videos and the clothes id never seen before. Locals would make fun and throw stones as you skated past but it only made me want to skate more. In the early 90s it was all I lived for and through my teens I discovered a new life and friends that didn’t care about religion, just music and skating. I moved out at 18 and got a cheap flat overlooking the main skate area in our town and never looked back.
Depression, alcoholism, gangs and suicide rates were high where I grew up and many of my childhood friends died after I moved away and I do think my life would have been different if I hadn’t found skating and discovered myself in the process. Will always look back on those days as life changing
Sorry for long post