I’ve never been a fan of P.E. class. I always made a fool of myself in front of my entire class while attempting to play basketball, football, or really any other group sport. It’s not that I didn’t work well on a team, it’s just that, well, I was bad at those sports, so I was often one of the weakest members of my team. If my gym classes, on the other hand, took us out on the slopes, into a pool, or gave us some skateboards, I probably would have enjoyed it quite a bit more.
Students at Eagle Crest Elementary in Longmont, Colorado, are getting that exact opportunity. Instead of focusing on how to throw or kick a ball, P.E. teacher Jason Goldsberry is giving his students the opportunity to learn how to skateboard. According to Colorado Public Radio (CPR), Goldsberry brought in experienced skateboarding instructors from Square State Skate for several classes to teach third, fourth, and fifth graders.
As Goldsberry explains, the program is focused on giving those who aren’t necessarily the best at traditional sports the opportunity to express athleticism through creativity. The classes aren’t just about how to ride, though, as instructors focus on technique, respect, spacial awareness, empathy, and, most importantly, how to fall, HARD.
“We almost show off our falls more than our successes. There’s no other sport that really does that.” – Instructor Finn Murphy according to CPR
Students are split into two groups, one focusing on riding a ramp and the other focused on the more experienced stuff like ollying, allowing everyone to move at their own pace. Through all of it, the lessons are mainly about learning to fail. Everyone starts skateboarding at the beginning, everyone who’s ridden the board has taken some nasty spills, and everyone who gets to a more experienced state has failed over and over again, only to get up and try again.
“The knowledge that there’s this progression and this idea that like, I can fail and fail and fail and fail and fail and then I’m going to get it, is super helpful. Not just on the skateboard but also in real life.” – Instructor Black Wagner according to CPR
It makes me very happy to see students given the opportunity to succeed in ways rarely promoted through schools. If skateboarding was brought into my school when I was in third grade, I’m sure there’s a good chance I’d be a bit of a different person now, probably for the better. Shoutout Mr. Goldsberry for giving his students that opportunity.
Image Credit: Square State Skate via Facebook