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Hierarchy Of Skateboard Socialization Essay

1948 words - 8 pages

“Skateboarding is for the socially awkward,” I thought to myself dreading going into this project. However, after spending several hours with skateboarders Mike Thacker, Cassious Brownlee, Lance Love, Jarrell Harrison and Sean Hough, I quickly learned that my assumptions, along with most others’ were misleading. Skateboarding is a very respectable, intricate sport that involves passion, heart, determination and perseverance. Skateboarders are risk-takers in the most literal sense of the word. They are dedicated individuals that spend countless days, months, and even years perfecting their craft. Throughout the duration of my adventurous field study, I became more observant about the patterns and distinctions within the social hierarchy of skateboarding.
A key component in determining who climbs the social ladder is charisma. The ability to attract large crowds and charm them with personality alone is important. Although not the only method for doing so, charisma is definitely the most important. It is because of charisma that politicians and presidents are elected. Charisma or referent power is one of the highest powers utilized by mankind. According to Dr. Ken Petress, professor of communications at the University of Maine, “Charismatic power is that aura possessed by only a few individuals in our midst; it is characterized by super confidence, typical attractiveness, social adroitness, amiability, sharpened leadership skills, and heightened charm.” Although Cassious, Lance, Jarrell and Mike possess a number of these characteristics, Sean exemplifies and embodies charisma beyond that of his crew.
Another major component that coincides with charisma is an outgoing personality. When I first approached Sean Hough, 19, he warned me in a cautious tone that he is extremely outgoing. I chose not to take heed to his warning, but rather learned the hard way. According to Sean, “Humor and sarcasm are essential to skateboarders.” I soon found it difficult to take notes for laughing constantly at his sly remarks and actions aimed at those around him. He knew almost everyone that passed by and seemed to be an exceptionally outgoing person which totally contradicted my prior beliefs. At times, Sean would yell obscenities at the females that passed by the crew on the campus circle. Remarking “You need to go inflate the left side of your (expletive)” or other crude remarks along that line constituted instigating “oohs” from the other skateboarders. I was taken aback by his rough sense of humor. The recipients, however, would usually just wave him off or laugh nonchalantly while I was waiting to pick my jaw up from the ground and tuck my eyes back into their respective sockets. My thoughts and stereotypes about the awe-stricken skateboarder at a loss for words when confronted by a beautiful female quickly faded away as I noted their smooth- talking skills. I never realized how strong the gravitational pull to skateboarders was for females, but after...

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