Youd beter get ur dipLoma n ejucaton,
February 20, 2003
By Rob Meronek
Our friend, Kirk Hallinan, recently put together a video that showed several photos
from 1993 when the Park first started
(click here to check it out).
Outside of skating, everyone used to live at the Park or just
hang out there late, have boxing matches, and get in other kinds of fun trouble. After I watched the video,
I realized that although I was skating and living in Tampa back in 1993, I was trading in those
extra-good times and working hard at getting educated in this whole business and computer thing over at the
University of South Florida. I realized that’s why I’m not in any of the photos and I don’t have anywhere
near the amount of stories and memories other people who’ve been around the skate scene in Tampa have. While
everyone partied and had the time of their lives, I had my head in a book for some reason. Part of that is
from my parents, but I also believe that kind of motivation comes from other sources like personality/psychology
potluck and some factors in your environment, especially the friends you choose to roll with.
Seeing the SPoT 10-Year Anniversary Video also made me think about things in my youth that I traded so the
rest of my life would be better.
I have always hated school, not the learning, but school. I love learning about stuff I'm interested in,
but I hated being forced to learn about things I didn’t care about. Somehow, I lucked out and ended up with
some brains, so even though I slacked all through high school, I kept a D to C average in most years.
Skating consumed all of my time like I’m sure it does for most of you reading this. I had no choice but to go
to college after high school because I was broke and my parents would cut me off and kick me out of the house if I didn’t go.
Once I got into college, somehow I got interested in business. I got C’s and D’s in most of my other classes, but
all A’s in accounting. After working in accounting for a couple of years, I got bored and moved on to yet
another nerd profession – writing computer software. So, with those skills, I’m able to bring something valuable to
any business (like SPoT) and keep myself from flipping burgers for life.
I think I’m finally at the point now where I understand what the grown-ups in my teen years were trying to explain to me.
They told me education is important, respect is earned by those that deserve it, and to work hard – all things that go
in one ear and out the other when you’re a kid and sometimes even when you’re an adult.
Over the few years since I’ve gotten out of college and started to make a little money, I’ve had more freedom to
do things like go on skate trips, go to the Super Bowl, and party a few times a week (which gets real
expensive, especially at those nudie bars). The actual activities I’m doing don’t really matter, it’s the fact
that I’m able to do what I want. When I think about it now, I could have done all of that while I was young,
but by now I’d be chained to my couch for the rest of my life because I’d have no decent job,
no skills or knowledge about anything, and a long list of a whole bunch of other problems
like still having to live with roommates, debt, and bills too high for me to pay. I went through that restriction
during my school years, but the difference there was that it was for a limited amount of time.
Now I have no restrictions for the rest of my life. Who knows, maybe I’d be enjoying life just as much if
I still pumped gas at Shell and couldn’t afford anything except skating in the nearest parking
lot to my apartment, but most likely not.
At this point, I’m glad I gave up part of my youth and wasn’t around during the early Park years as
much as I am today. I took a few years of good times and traded it in for a lifetime of
fun. This was my personal choice and I’m sure glad I made it.