Stunts that could kill.
The other day, a lad on a skateboard passed me at high speed. “Gosh, how cool,” I thought. I say, ‘cool’. I think the term was probably twat. The location was a multi-storey car park, and in such locations, while most drivers are usually mindful to look out for vehicles pulling out, families with push chairs and imbeciles transfixed by their phones, they don’t tend to look out for kids coming out of nowhere at twenty miles an hour. For all you skateboarders out there, if you didn’t realise, a car is a big heavy thing and is likely to disrupt your journey on account of it killing you.
But, maybe that’s the appeal. Kids do seem obsessed with trying to make things ever more exciting.
Stunts that could bore.
Take ‘stunt scooters’ for example. Or ‘scooters’ as we used to call them. When we were kids, the main reason to ride a scooter was because you were three, and it was a toy. It was the mode of transport that you moved onto when you no longer used the trolley full of wooden blocks to help you cross the living room, but hadn’t yet acquired your first bike (or ‘stunt bike’ as I dare say they are now called).
Should you watch stunt scooterists, you will soon discover that ‘stunt’ actually means ‘staying on’. If you are seeking impressive leaps, backflips and spins, you need to check out ice skating, gymnastics or ballroom dancing, because the most dramatic stunt performed by 99% of scooter owners is a form of miniature bunny hop. By this measure, I shall now refer to myself as a stunt slippers wearer.
It has been many years since I last attempted any downhill speed on a scooter, Tonka Toy or skateboard, but there are some good reasons for this.
Stunts that could get you arrested.
Activities that seemed to be perfectly normal when I was a kid just wouldn’t be the same (physically or socially) at my current stage of life.
In the nineteen seventies, long before every town had its own skatepark, we would scour the area to find a suitable slope on which to practice. One of the best slopes we found was the playground of one of the primary schools. For many reasons that is no longer an option.
For one, the sight of a middle-aged man attempting to do a handstand on a skateboard while wearing gardening gloves and knee pads (that was the extent of 1970’s safety equipment) would instigate talk of care in the community. Attempting it, as we did in the 70’s, in the playground of a primary school, would make the activity that much stranger and involve the police.
Fortunately, schools are now surrounded with barbed wire and security fences, which successfully prevents middle-aged skateboarders from attempting new stunts in their playground.
Stunts of the future.
I wonder what will be classed as a stunt in forty years time, when middle-aged bloggers are saying ‘it was so much safer in our day when we used the multi-storey car parks’, and kids are whizzing past them on Peppa Pig stunt trikes.