Letters to the Editor

From the week of July 26, 2001

Things to Do in Denver When You're Ed

Concrete dreams:I was glad to read David Holthouse's "A Tough Grind," in the July 19 issue -- an honest article addressing the new public skate park. Thank you, Westword, and thank you, Joyce Foster, for giving our subculture the respect we deserve.

It is amazing what Foster has accomplished considering that she was up against the likes of Councilman Ed Thomas, whose quoted remarks regarding the skate park give just a hint of the type of ignorance and disrespect we deal with on a regular basis. The fact that he compared our sport to knife throwing and drive-by shootings astounds and offends me. Yes, skateboarding is dangerous -- but do we not invest millions of dollars in other dangerous sports every year? How about skiing? Should we just ignore skateboarding because of the possibility of lawsuits and the fact that we are perceived as an unmanageable rebellious force? It's about time the city began offering its assistance, considering the ridiculous amount of money invested in the many other more respected and lucrative spectator sports.

Of course, part of me does fear that with the investment in such a skate park, Denver police may begin to enforce their laws with a heavier hand. All I can say is, as much as I appreciate the park and will use it on a regular basis, I will never stop skating the streets of Denver. Not because I enjoy the thrill of breaking the law, but because I enjoy the thrill of being free. I think if Mr. Thomas took an honest, unbiased look at skateboarding culture, he would see a diversified group of very talented athletes who express themselves through progress, grace and creativity.

Vincent Comparetto
Denver

Freak show:Since when has skateboarding been in the same category as knife throwing and drive-by shootings? Are the latter two activities considered sports? Have they been considered as possible additions to the Olympic games, like skateboarding has?

Councilman Ed Thomas is a dolt, in my opinion, for taking a freak accident in El Jebel and using it as an excuse to whine about having skate parks in Colorado. The simple fact is skate parks are an excellent, safe and smart place for skateboarders to practice their "sport."

Brendan Smiley
Denver

A sporting chance:I would like to congratulate Joyce Foster and all of the skateboarders who helped get the concrete finally poured for the Denver Skatepark -- in spite of all the serious opposition. It scares me that our city has people like Ed Thomas on the council helping to make decisions. I'm not sure what worries me more: The fact that he thinks citizens of Denver are ignorant enough to consider this a "drive-by shooting range," or the fact that he may actually believe it himself. If he thinks that skate parks are too dangerous, perhaps he should consider proposing a law that would prohibit more football or rugby fields from being made, since those sports can be just as dangerous as skateboarding.

April O'Hare
Denver

On a roll:In response to "A Tough Grind," I'd like to say thank you to all the people involved in building a great skate park for Denver. Second, I'd like to give credit where you did not: On the cover is Charlie Morison, a friend and local skater.

Now let's get down to it: Ed Thomas, you have no clue! You called the skate park a "treacherous boondoggle," and said "money would be better spent building a million-dollar knife-throwing park or a drive-by-shooting range for the kids." Obviously you're over the age of ninety. Come on, "boondoggle" -- what the hell is that? Skateboarding is finally getting the respect it hasn't seen since the '80s, and closed-minded conservatives like "StupEd" have to criticize it because they just don't get it. Wake-up call! This summer alone, three new skate shops have opened in town, as well as the Denver Skatepark -- four "treacherous boondoggles."

Skateboarding is youth, creativity, art, love, hate, aggression and freedom all rolled into one thing we can call our own. People like Ed Thomas will never understand that pulling your first kickflip is just like scoring the winning touchdown, hitting a grand slam or getting a hole in one. The only difference is the absence of a thousand screaming fans and the million-dollar signing bonuses. These parks are built with skateboarding in mind, not bikes, scooters or rollerblades. Face it, skateboarding is not just a trend; if you close your eyes it will not stop. It is a semi-legal drug that is being abused every waking hour of every day all over the world. Skateboarding has saved my life. Let's give it a chance to save more.

By the way, that's me skating in the picture behind Councilwoman Joyce Foster. I didn't get any props, either.

Bryan DeHaven
Denver


Vroom Service

There auto be a law: I sympathize with the few conscientious motorcyclists that Michael Roberts found for "A Vicious Cycle," in the July 12 issue.

But it seems to me that most of them are self-styled "outlaws" who are proud of the fact that they don't have insurance and live in defiance of the law -- until they get hurt, and then they start whining.

Name withheld on request

Paying a premium:As the owner of a shop that deals with older bikes, Legends Motorcycles Inc., I see the insurance problem all the time. My customer base includes a lot of riders whose motorcycles represent transportation, not a lifestyle statement. In the fifteen years I have been in business, I cannot recall a single time when a damaged bike or injured rider got a fair deal. They always had to hire a lawyer to get the insurance companies to deal with them. As a rider of street bikes since 1964, I know that America tolerates bad driving as a matter of fact. I personally am damn tired of motorcyclists taking the brunt of American's inability to drive well and being ignored by our elected officials.

Cliff McGaughey
via the Internet


Manufacturing an Excuse

The blame game:While I cried with the rest of the country after the Columbine tragedy, my anger and frustration were limited to the two people who did the killing. Now, according to Alan Prendergast's "Attention, Kmart Shoppers," in the July 12 issue, Michael Moore has the audacity to take the responsibility off of these murderers' shoulders and try to place it on Kmart?

And to prey on the fragile emotional state of victims to help in his crusade is a tasteless act, no matter what the motives. Kmart is no more responsible for the killings than are the makers of the shoes these killers wore while walking around and shooting those kids. More kids die every day from automobile accidents than died at Columbine, but I remember Moore trying desperately to keep an auto factory open in his hometown. There were murders before there were guns, and whether Moore wants to believe it or not, there would still be senseless killings if all guns and ammo were gone.

And yet Kmart deserves any profit losses it incurs because of this for its lack of a spine in pinning the blame on those who committed this horrible act.

Mike Linneman
Brookfield, WI


To Air Is Human

Fairness to his Airness:Gallo, wake up! What, did you write for your high school newspaper? How dare you defy the most graceful, poetic, masterful athlete of any generation? Michael Jordan stands alone as the bar in basketball. Do not doubt his comeback, for his third coming will be awesome, too. No, do not expect six more championships, but expect Jordan to be spectacular.

He is not coming back "to see how he stacks up against his former self," as you say in "His (Fresh) Airness," in the June 28 issue. He has the most competitive drive of any athlete I've ever seen. He never let me down before, so why should I or anybody predict that he will stumble now? Sure, he'll be 39 years old. Do you really think three years will make Jordan look that bad? The bottom line: Mike wouldn't be coming back if he didn't think he could still amaze and dazzle like only he can.

This delusion of Jordan ruining his legacy is pure hogwash, journalism for journalism's sake. You are comparing him to other, lesser athletes. Jordan will come back and average his number (no, not 45 but 23). He might be old, but even with the loss of a step or two or even three, who can guard him? Vince Carter? No way! Allen Iverson? Definitely no! The only players who could possibly play defense against "His Airness" are Kobe Bryant and Doug Christie, who both play in the West.

My point: If Michael wants it bad enough, he'll get it. His six Bulls teams were not all that good. You have to understand Jordan's raw knack to score. Please, do not doubt Michael Jordan.

Neil Goldstein
Denver

Cheap thrills:Bill Gallo's "Twilight of the Baseball Gods," in the July 12 issue, was well done, but I would like to add a few comments about what made the All-Star Game so heavenly.

The game belonged to Ripken. As a result of "modern baseball," his accomplishment of consecutive games will never be surpassed. Seattle's reception of each player was polite and robust -- an unusual greeting, especially for their former players. That was when I got my first big chill. Next came A-Rod's gesture and Torre's instruction to Ripken to play shortstop for the first inning -- a position he changed, allowing for A-Rod's current success, since Ripken was his childhood hero. Finally, Ripken's first at-bat, the first swing at his last All-Star Game, was a home run. That was the final moment of the triple crown that Tuesday night. Some say the pitch was given to Ripken to hit, but he still hit it out.

I hope more of you got the cheap thrills that I got.

J. Matthew Dietz
Denver

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