Getting their bearings

August 10, 2008|By JULIE E. GREENE

View the skateboarding slideshow

"And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up." - Thomas Wayne, "Batman Begins"

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Falling was part of the learning process Monday as seven children, ages 5 to 10, learned the basics of skateboarding during Chambersburg Recreation Department's skateboarding clinic at Memorial Park.

Several of the kids were just learning basic skateboard skills, including rolling down a low-incline ramp.

It's hard to fight the instinct to stand up - rather than lean forward - when skateboarding down a slope, so a few of the youngsters took a spill as they learned.

But they bounced right back up to try again, occasionally with the encouragement of a parent.

Meagan McHale, of Chambersburg, wanted to try the big ramp, but after a few spills at ground level she wasn't as fond of skateboarding. A few minutes later her enthusiasm for the sport was back.


Her mom, Elizabeth Lancaster, teaches her the importance of practicing.

"If I do the same thing every day in my swimming class, it's called reinforcement," said Meagan, 5.

Some of the kids had just gotten their first skateboards, including Nick King, 6, of Chambersburg. Nick saved his allowance and completed math and reading worksheets to "pay off" the loan from his mom for the board, which he got the day before the clinic, said Nick's mom, Bobbi King.

In addition to teaching the kids as a group, instructor Jeff Shupp provided some individual attention to the kids because of their varying skill levels. Andrew Magner, 10, of Hagerstown, appeared to have the highest skill level, so Shupp worked with him to refine some skills and encouraged him to take it to the next level.

Shupp also gives individual lessons at Cluggy's Skatepark. Watch Shupp and his son, John, cruising at Cluggy's Skatepark at

For more information about skateboarding clinics at Memorial Park, call the Chambersburg Recreation Department at 717-261-3275.

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