I don’t know how to start this exactly.
It’s a tough subject that never seems to get any easier. I’ve felt compelled to write this down though, ever since the thoughts popped into my head two days ago. My thoughts on race; racism. I don’t think that I will, but I hope I don’t offend anyone with this. [I feel compelled to mention that, because every other second there’s someone who accidentally said something wrong on the internet when they didn’t mean to, and t haunts them forever. I don’t think this is that piece for me, but you never know..]
I was walking home and noticing how many more black people are in my new neighborhood compared to my old neighborhood. I felt separate from them as we passed each other along the sidewalk. They stood out against me, I against them. I then started wondering if this was how I felt around my friends that were black, asian, mexican, etc. No. I realized that for the most part realized their ethnic background and/or skin color had never even come up as more than a mental acknowledgement. “Yes, you do not look like me. Yes, you have a few mannerisms that are different from mine, but so do a lot of other people,” and that was about it.
I then began wondering why I was feeling such a vast gap between myself and the strangers around me in my local community. What I concluded was that we had nothing immediately in common. Maybe if I talked to them, got to know them- we’d find we had similarities. But chances are that we won’t stop to have that talk, that I’ll never know more about them than I did in that passing moment.
Within snowboarding, you know your kind. You can pick them out of a crowded bar or on a MAX train during rush hour. You know them as you pass them by on the street and no words were ever exchanged. You see it in their dress, their attitude, the way they carry themselves- it’s like a neon sign shouting, “YOU AND I ARE ALIKE ” no matter who they are or what they physically look like. This is the difference. My friends who happen to be X, Y, or Z are just that- friends that have trait X, Y, and Z; but they also snowboard. Snowboarding is what defines them and our relationship, and glosses over everything else. I’ve formed closer bonds with people that don’t speak english and live thousands of miles from me than I have with some people I’ve had full conversations with around here. There’s something unspoken- an undertone of camaraderie, that amasses and overwhelms everything else.
I think more people should join sport. You learn a lot about yourself, about depending on others and about the fun that can be had when you share an amazing moment that you create together- that no one else can have. The rush of cutting a perfect line through fresh snow and seeing your friend follow after you or grinning stupidly at the bottom- in those moments, no ones cares what else you do. If you can ride and you love it, nothing else matters.