The Skateboarder by Christine Lindop



'I love Owen's skateboarding,' Hannah thinks. 'I want to jump and do tricks, too.'

When a skatepark opens near her house, Hannah is suddenly very interested in skateboarding. How do Mom, Dad, brother Evan, and cousin Justin feel about this? Who helps her? Who laughs at her? And who teaches her to be a real skateboarder in the end? This story has the answers.


- Christine Lindop



No Skateboard

Near Hannah's house there's a new skatepark. A lot of young people in the town go there after school with their skateboards.

These days Hannah often goes there with her cousin Justin. Justin goes to school with her. Hannah doesn't like school very much, or getting up early. She's always late. And she doesn't have many friends. But with the new skatepark, she's suddenly very interested in skateboarding. The only thing is - Hannah has no skateboard!

Sometimes Justin asks Hannah, 'Hey, do you want to get on my skateboard?' So she does - but not for long. She doesn't want to fall off in front of everybody. So usually she watches the skateboarders.

Owen is fifteen. He's a good skateboarder. He can do a lot of tricks.

'I love Owen's skateboarding,' Hannah thinks. 'I want to jump and do tricks, too.'

'Why don't you have a skateboard, Hannah?' Justin asks her.

'It's a new thing for me - skateboarding,' Hannah answers. Then she thinks, 'My birthday's coming. Maybe I can talk to Mom and Dad.’

Good Grades, Better Presents

On Hannah's birthday morning, she opens her presents. There's a big present from her mother and father. Hannah opens it first, excitedly.

'Wow!' she cries.  skateboard! Thanks!'

'Well, your school grades are good, Hannah,' her mother says. 'And it is your birthday . . . So happy birthday, honey!'

'Now open that present,' her father says. 'It's from Evan.' Hannah opens it. It's a helmet.

'Awesome!' Hannah cries. But her older brother, Evan, laughs.

'You like watching skateboarding videos, I know,' he says. 'But do you ... er ... skateboard?' 'Yes, I do,' Hannah says hotly, 'sometimes - on Justin's skateboard! And I have my skateboard now. So I can do more.'

'Can you jump, or do tricks?' Evan asks. 'Can you go fast and stay on?' 'Duh!' Hannah answers her brother angrily. 'What dumb questions!'

'Evan, honey, please,' their mother says. 'It's Hannah's birthday.'

'OK,' Evan says.

That weekend, Hannah takes her new skateboard to the skatepark with Justin. There aren't many people there. Hannah is excited.

'OK! Let's go,' Justin says. The two cousins begin skateboarding. Justin does a trick. Hannah skateboards up and down.

'Maybe I can jump now,' she thinks. She goes faster. Then she jumps - but she falls off her skateboard. When Hannah is on the ground, somebody laughs. 'Oh, no! They're laughing at me! This is awful!' she thinks. She gets up quickly.

'I'm going,' she tells Justin, and she leaves.

Just then, Owen arrives with his friends. They're laughing at a picture of Owen on his phone.

But Hannah's far away now. 'No more skateboarding for me!' she thinks

First Steps

The next day, Justin stays at home with his family. But Hannah walks past the skatepark. A lot of people are doing tricks.

'I can't skateboard there now,' Hannah thinks. She watches Owen on his skateboard. He goes up in the air and comes down again.

'He's awesome,' Hannah thinks. 'And I'm awful.' She leaves the skatepark, and begins to walk home through the park.

The sun is hot. Hannah sits down on one of the park benches. The sun is in her eyes. So she closes them.

When she opens her eyes again, she sees a young woman near her. She is sitting on the grass with her baby boy. The little boy is trying to stand.

'Good boy, Michael,' his mother says. 'Stand up now. Yes, that's right!'

Michael stands up slowly. He takes one little step and falls down.

'Come on, now, Michael!' his mother says. 'Don't cry. Try again.'

Michael stops crying and laughs. He takes his mother's hand, and stands up again.

'Good boy, Michael,' his mother says.

Michael sits down suddenly. He laughs, and claps his hands happily.

Hannah watches them for five minutes. Michael stands up and falls down, again and again.

'Try again, Michael,' his mother says.

'He doesn't stop falling. But it doesn't matter,' Hannah thinks. 'He gets up and tries again - time after time. And he's no more than a baby.'

Hannah leaves the park and walks home. She thinks about baby Michael. 'OK' she says, 'I need some more skateboard practice. But where can I go for that?’

Practice, Practice, Practice

'Hmm. Let's see. The skatepark's no good,' Hannah thinks. 'I want to do my practice alone.'

That evening, she goes for a walk. Two blocks from her house there's an office building. At half past five, everybody in it goes home. They drive all their cars out of the parking lot. 'Hey, I can skateboard here!' Hannah thinks.

The next evening, she takes her skateboard and helmet with her.

'I'm going out for some skateboard practice,' she tells her mother.

She skateboards to the parking lot. There are no cars there. First, she skateboards slowly. She is alone, and nobody is watching.

'This is awesome!' she thinks. After an hour, she goes home.

She skateboards most evenings. Soon she can go fast. One evening, she tries jumping. She skateboards across the parking lot, and jumps. Suddenly, she is on the ground.

A woman is going past on a bicycle. She sees Hannah on the ground, and smiles at her.

'Bad luck,' she calls. 'Try again.'

So Hannah tries once more - and falls off her skateboard again. She laughs, gets up, and goes home. Two days later, Hannah is back in the parking lot. She jumps again. This time she doesn't fall off.

At home that evening, her mother says, 'You're happy about something, honey! Tell me. What is it?’ 'Well ...' Hannah begins, 'don't laugh, OK?’

'OK.'

'The practice is helping. I can do good skateboard jumps now. Uh... usually.'

'That's wonderful, honey!'

Just then, Evan comes in.

'Oh, no!' Hannah thinks. 'What does he want?’

Up Early

'Hey! How's your new skateboard?’ Evan asks Hannah nicely.

Their mother smiles at this. Then she quickly leaves the room.

'Oh, it's not bad,' Hannah answers, 'and the helmet's awesome, too. But I have a lot of bruises now. Look.' Evan looks at the bruises all over her arms and legs. 'Ouch!' he says. 'So do you skateboard at the skatepark now?’

'No,' Hannah answers. 'There are always a lot of people there. But I want to go up the walls. I want to turn in the air, too.’

'Well, I go past the skatepark every day when I go to work. There's nobody there in the early morning,' Evan says.

'Evan! That's an awesome idea!' Hannah cries. 'I can go there before school. Thanks.'

Next day, Hannah gets up at six o'clock. She skateboards for an hour before school.

'This is wonderful!' her mother says a week later. 'Hannah's up early every morning these days. She's never late for school now!'

Sometimes Hannah is tired in the morning. But then she remembers baby Michael.

'Babies get up early,' she thinks. 'So I can get up early, too.’

One Saturday afternoon, her cousin Justin calls her on the phone.

'Hey, Hannah, are you coming tomorrow?’

‘Coming where? What's tomorrow?’

'It's June 21st - 'Go Skateboarding Day'. People all around the world are skateboarding. I'm going to the skatepark with all my friends. Come with us.’

'OK!' Hannah says. 'See you there.’

'Don't forget your skateboard,' Justin says.

'Justin, don't be dumb,' Hannah answers.

A Real Skateboarder

It's June 21st. Hannah finds her skateboard and helmet. Then she goes to the skatepark. She's excited.

'Can I do this?’ she thinks. 'Hmmm. I don't know. But I can try!'

At the skatepark, Hannah sees Justin with some friends. She goes over to them.

'Hey, Hannah,' Justin says. 'Watch this. Owen's doing a very tough trick.'

Owen goes up the wall and turns. He goes very high. Everybody stops and watches.

'Wow!' Hannah says. 'He's awesome.’

Owen does a different trick now. It's an easy trick, but this time he falls off his skateboard. He walks past Hannah and smiles at her.

'Everybody falls off sometimes,' Owen says.

'Sure,' Hannah answers. 'How do you do that trick? I want to learn it.'

'Put your right foot here,' Owen tells her. 'Then push with your left foot.' Owen helps Hannah with the trick.

'OK,' Hannah says. 'I need some more practice with that, but thanks.'

'You're a real skateboarder now, Hannah,' Justin tells her quietly after that.

Later, Hannah and Justin walk home through the park. Hannah sees baby Michael again. He is walking across the grass to his mother. This time he doesn't take her hand, and he doesn't fall down.

'Hello,' says Hannah. She smiles at him.

'Can you do it again?' says Michael's mother. The baby laughs and claps his hands.

'Again!' he says. And he stands up.

Justin and Hannah walk away.

'Who's that?' Justin asks.

'Now? Oh, a little baby,' Hannah answers, 'but maybe one day a really good skateboarder!'

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