By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal
The Commerce Parks Foundation has been working diligently over the past two years to raise enough funds to build a skatepark in Commerce.
While the organization has seen some success with their SKATE competitions and Drive 4 UR Community fund-raisers, there is still some reluctance from the Commerce and Hunt County community to recognize the need for a local skatepark, as well as the benefit it would have on the community.
A series of columns over the next several weeks in the Commerce Journal will outline the positives of skateboarding as a sport, the benefit a skatepark would have on the local community and economy, and the details of the project.
Skateboarding has continued to increase in popularity over the past decade.
It is one of the fastest-growing sports in the nation with 20 million skaters, surpassing baseball and football as one of the largest participant sports in the U.S. Nationally-televised skate competitions like the X-Games and DEW Tours have gained international attention and respect for the sport, attracting huge crowds and corporate sponsorship.
As the United States continues to struggle with childhood obesity, skateboarding and its related activities (everything from in-line skating to bicycling) give children, teens and adults high-energy workouts that build endurance.
Skateboarding is considered a dangerous sport, but it actually has fewer injuries than most team sports.
For instance, skateboarders suffer approximately 13 percent fewer injuries than basketball players. In-line skaters, almost 18 percent less.
The sport also brings various groups together. It can be enjoyed by children, teenagers and adults, and can be a group activity that families enjoy, even if the parents are only spectators.
Skateboarding itself is inexpensive for the individual participants, which is a huge plus in our struggling economy and rural county. No uniforms and only minimal equipment are required to participate.
The Commerce Parks and Recreation Department would not have to spend a lot of energy or money on the sport, either. No coaches are necessary, there are no games to referee or schedule, and maintenance on a concrete skate park is minimal. There is no “offseason” work that needs to be done.
Skateboarders can practice in groups, but the sport also allows children to participate as individuals, which is ideal for children who do not enjoy team sports.
We have facilities in Commerce and Hunt County for other sports, but our skateboarders are left to practice in our streets. They deserve equal accommodations that are enjoyed by more traditional sports.
The city of Commerce does not have the funds to build an adequate skatepark, so it up to us, members of the local community, to partner with the Commerce Parks Foundation to make this dream a reality.
Next week we’ll examine how the skatepark will benefit the community, even for those of us who don’t skate.
For any questions relating to this article, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions regarding the Commerce Parks Foundation, email Barbara Lenington at email@example.com.