People say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life, and that’s exactly what Philly native and skateboard entrepreneur Brett Williams is doing.
A full-time businessman, skate board teacher, and artist, the 32-year-old fell in love with skate boarding at the age of 12. “While I played team sports, I never really fit into team sports. I really liked getting all the credit for winning or losing. So, I always gravitated to independent sports like cross country and swimming. But skate boarding pushed me physically and mentally and I feel in love with it,” said Williams.
Unbelievably, back in the late 1990s when Williams was a kid, skateboarding was practically a crime in Philadelphia; and by 2004, the city had banned skateboarders from Love Park. “Yes, it was illegal in the city of Philadelphia to skateboard on public property, and cops would take a kid’s skateboards. A cop took my skateboard when I was 13,” recalls Williams.
He also endured criticism and bullying from some of the black kids who made fun of him for participating in a so-called “white sport.” In spite of what other kids and adults thought, he loved skateboarding and pressed on.
Thankfully, Williams remained true to himself and to the sport that gives him so much joy, and few years ago he opened Skate the Foundry, an indoor skateboard park located in West Philadelphia. Never one to turn down an opportunity to learn or to help someone else learn, Williams and his team teaches kids and adults the sport of skateboarding, and, perhaps more importantly, the skill of failing up and learning from life’s obstacles and mistakes.
Williams also credits rapper Lil Wayne in making skateboarding popular among black youth. No longer perceived as a “white boy sport” many young blacks today have embraced the sport and the skateboard lifestyle.
So yeah, skateboarding is for everyone and it’s good for your fitness and health too. If you’re still on the fence about skateboarding, here are five reasons to give it a try:
Skateboarding is fun and will foster your creativity. The unpredictability of the skateboarding will challenge you physically and mentally in ways you would not anticipate. As a result, you will learn new things about yourself and tap into your reservoir of creativity.
Yup, skateboarding will give you a heart pumping rigorous cardiovascular workout, and you won’t even feel the beads of perspiration as you glide on by. Skateboarding is a whole body workout, which means as every part of your body is engaged.
To stay balanced you will have to bend those knees, which means you are in an almost continuous squat, which works the calfs, the thighs, the gluteals, and lest we forget, those cannonball jumps.
A strong core is essential to doing skateboarding. Without a strong core, you will be unable to maintain your balance.
Skateboarding requires you to be or to become flexible. That’s one reason why boarders typically have on lose fitting clothes, and you don’t want be tight when you fall. Learning how to fall is probably the first lesson you’ll need to learn.