My son is a dedicated scooter boy and has been since he was given his first three wheeled, lights flashing scooter for his second birthday. We're lucky enough to live in a cul de sac so he can scoot to his heart's content, day and night, in relative safety. Of course, that's not to say that he isn't covered in bruises and Band Aids which are worn as badges of honour but at least he doesn't have to combat traffic in his pursuit of excellence.
Of course, that's not enough any more. He's ready for the next step. He feels the need for speed and daring. He wants to do tricks and he wants to look cool. So the street won't cut it anymore. Darn.
So it was not without some trepidation that we set out to mark his seventh birthday with a group of six/ nearly seven-year-old pals to the skate park at Murrarie. The children had often pointed out the sportsground along Wynnum Road, opposite Cannon Hill shopping centre, and asked to stop there but until now it hadn't really seemed relevant.
As I pulled out my daughter's pink, plastic Razor complete with it's own shopping basket on the front, I did wonder if we had perhaps taken too large a leap forward. My son and his mates huddled at the side of the concrete ramp and watched with big eyes as three young teens flipped scooters and BMX bikes in 360's (at least I think that must be what a 360 is but I'll admit it's the first time I have ever used the term so you might have to cut me some slack on this one). When my son didn't argue at my usual request to put his helmet on, I knew he was worried.
My girlfriends and I huddled inconspicuously away from the boys. For the first time, we knew, this was something they had to do alone. They trekked off to the pinnacle of the ramp (OK, so it's not really that high but when it's your baby standing on it's brink, you be the judge). It took some longer than others to muster the courage. A couple of stumbles were made. One took a tumble but mums were not required in front of the "big" boys. Our hearts were in our mouths as they pelted down the concrete slab but the look on their faces as they made it back up the other side to the top – epic relief.
I'm not sure we'll be racing back to Murrarie just yet. Perth Street Park in Camp Hill has a kinder ramp for beginners, so we might just hang there until the need for new frontiers gets too much. It has a gentle skate ramp which still impresses novices or alternatively a long pathway with an incline that is perfect for three wheeled scooters. The downside of Perth Street though is that there are no toilet facilities which is a major drawback for littlies.
Unless, of course, you can tell us of any better spots to hone a scooter boy's skills?