It's already April, everyone, and with that brings the purchase of new skateboards for new skateboarders. With the rise in acceptance of skateboarding in the social media sphere, as any Instagram/twitter account that looks vaguely similar, yet somehow more cringe-worthy than tumblr's fuckyeahdylanreider page will tell you. We could be seeing the possibility of the inevitable/yet highly preventable hashtags '#everyoneskates' and '#boyswhoskate' over coming the popularity of the equally cringe worthy hashtags '#guyswithink' '/ #girlswithink'. I digress.
What this means for downriver is The Return of the Mack. In this case, the titular Mack is Elizabeth park. What these two amazing yet equally awful realizations mean to the three people who read this blog is this : you will end up at Elizabeth Park at some point in the next sixth months and at many points you will encounter Elizabeth Park new comers. It's a mere fact. We must embrace it, not run from it.
As a long-time Elizabeth Park local since it's inclusion to the downriver skatepark scene in late 2006, before the "C ledge" and the "A-Frame" were bestowed lovingly by Wayne County park officials and before it's 2008-2009 hey-days, it is my duty to attempt to educate the masses on the proper use of one of Downriver's top three wretched hives of scum and villainy (in order : Southgate/Lincoln Park as a hole, Front Row, Elizabeth Park).
As a wise man named George Costanza once said, "we're living in a society", and a society itself is governed by rules. There are a set of rules posted by the Wayne County Parks commission at Elizabeth Park. However, these are not the rules that should be posted. There are a set of rules and guidelines, unwritten in format, of which should be followed in accordance to one stepping foot onto the smooth square of relatively crack-less concrete (with one major exception, but I will get to that).
Note: when traversing the area between the grass bordering The Road and onto the lighter colored, uneven cement before the actual skateparks borders, one must beware. This area should be looked upon in the same way that International Waters between policed and governed territories are : this is a lawless land. It is not used for anything. The grass prior to it is governed by Elizabeth Park's rules and guidelines. The skatepark after it is governed and policed by the skateparks guidelines and rules (below). The patch of uneven concrete is merely a point of no return. Perhaps it could be looked at as a mental preparation zone, or perhaps similar to the infamous Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. If the skatepark is West Berlin and the grass East Berlin, this section of concrete is the Berlin Wall itself. No one stopped of their own accord on their trip over the Berlin Wall, or turned back while half way over. Please keep this in mind in the case you or someone you are with has forgotten something important in the car on the other side of the grass. When you've gotten this far into your mental, emotional, or perhaps even spiritual journey, you mustn't turn back immediately. The promised land is just over the horizon of the former tennis court nets. Catch your breath while stomping the mud off of your kicks, prepare yourself to follow the listed guidelines below, and press on. You're almost there.
Now your persistency has paid off. You've arrived, board in hand. This is the moment of truth. You've stepped forth into a land judged by rules unlike any other municipality you have likely ventured. If you are a responsible human being, you are most likely surveying the scene to understand these rules. However, as this article exists, not everyone has the mental fortitude to attempt to survey the norms held by the population before diving in (dick) head first.
Below is a chart which dictates the obstacles, the flow of foot traffic, skateboard traffic, cigarette smoker traffic, non-skateboarder traffic, and parent-non-skateboarder traffic. These rules have never before been written, let alone in such a constitutional declaration for those of is uninitiated into skatepark-localism. Study them. Enjoy them. Abide by them. Thank you. Enjoy the skatepark.
Click to enlarge, print off, and study. Chart courtesy of myself, bitch.
There will be additions soon.