Saturday, October 4, 2008

Skate Park Kids Not Lame

By Michael Seward, Columnist

As has been previously reported in The Sentinel, parents have been meeting with selectmen to voice their support for the Belchertown Skate Park. At a couple of meetings, a few "skate park kids" arrived with their parents to show their support for their favorite park.

The parents deserve credit for ultimately volunteering for a new Skate Park Committee that have already succeeded in getting the park re-opened, but I am more impressed with the fact that the skate park kids were donning Iron Maiden T-shirts at the meetings with selectmen. I was a big Maiden fan at their age. A Maiden poster is the only surviving poster left on my bedroom wall at mom's house.

A couple of weeks ago I commented on the "idiocracy" on MTV these days. The skate park kids demonstrated to me that hope is not totally lost among today's youth. The fact that kids today are still listening to Maiden brought me a glimmer of hope. The fact that a long-haired-teenaged-boy in a black Iron Maiden T-shirt spoke up for what he thought was right also brought me a glimmer of hope. I am willing to bet that I may be the first to see hope in Iron Maiden-T-shirt-wearing-teens.

Many people have not heard of Iron Maiden and many may be afraid of an uncertain "element" that a skate park could attract due to the scary Iron Maiden T-shirts some of them wear. It's perfectly understandable to be concerned by anyone wearing an Iron Maiden T-shirt, as they are scary. However, Maiden is just a British heavy metal band and they were huge in the 1980s. Golfers may be interested to know that this band's drummer is a friend of Nick Faldo and was hanging out at this year's Ryder Cup tournament. They actually talked about it on the Golf Channel.

Regardless of what you think of metal as a genre or Eddie, the mascot that adorns their album covers, posters and T-shirts, one cannot deny the complexity of their compositions or the intellect of their lyrics. Their repertoire spans a wide compilation of themes. These include educational themes like history with songs like, "Alexander the Great". They also cover literature with the epic "Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner"; mythology with "The Flight of Icarus"; and even the Bible with, "Revelations", which the lead singer once cleverly joked was about opening a pair of curtains. "The eyes of the Nile will open and you'll see." You'll see that despite the scary T-shirts, the skate park kids may be the best and brightest Belchertown has to offer.

Although I was never one to skateboard, my friends and I did listen to Maiden and ride our. bicycles. We rode them everywhere. I couldn't imagine being 13 and being picked up by the police for riding my bike. Even with a skate park, is it really the general assumption that they can only ride and skate in the small footprint offered at the skate park?

When my office was in the center of Belchertown I saw a kid jump a curb as I would have done. I told him that he needed to try it again because I didn't think he hit the curb at an optimum angle. He was more impressed with the fact that I wasn't yelling at him to leave the premises than my knowledge of jumping curbs. "Was I really contributing to the delinquency of a minor? Since it was after hours, what is the harm if a kid gets some exercise and fresh air instead of being glued to a television?

Thankfully, the Maiden fans took care of business and did their part to get the skate Park re-opened. They showed that there is not any "idiocracy" among the metal heads!

Submitted by Anonymous

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