We rolled into DC amid white flurries tumbling from a gray sky. Taylor Silverman in the back seat with me bundling against the cold, layers upon layers, not wanting the burden of a coat while skating. Tim Pool upfront ditched his coat for a t-shirt.
A small crowd was waiting for us at Freedom Plaza. This was expected, Tim had been boosting the meet-up all week, ever since the previous weekend when he’d gone in to skate and encountered some women who said the local skaters didn’t want him there.
We scanned the crowd to try to discern friend from foe, to get a sense of who was there, who might not want us there, who was in support, who was there to skate. Tim and Taylor braved the cold and walked into the plaza, unable to get more than a few feet in before fans overtook them, looking to say hi, to say thanks, to shake hands and share oxygen for just a few frosty breaths.
I don’t know anything about skating, but I do know a bit about hanging out, and this was a pretty chill hang. People came from all over, Colorado, upstate New York, West Virginia, St. Louis, Florida, New Jersey, New York, as well as locals who just wanted to skate, to chill, to talk, to be with people. Tim and Taylor talked to fans, braving the wind.
Tim had brought a bunch of decks and gave them all out, there weren’t enough to go to everyone who wanted one, but a future meet up was promised. One man oddly asked me to sign his new board, which was an odd ask to someone who absolutely rejects the idea of having wheels on her feet.
It was almost like a fan family reunion, I saw people meet up for the first time, introduce themselves, and become fast friends, exchanging contact info, laughs, joy. Whoever those women were last weekend, who told Tim and crew they were not wanted, did not make an appearance. Perhaps their absence was due to snow, or cold, or the provably false lies they told about who was welcome at Freedom Plaza.
There were rumors that the event was being called Skate for Hate, as though a man who advocates fully for free speech, for the airing of views he disagrees with, for the Bill of Rights in its entirety, could be defined by hate.
These haters never materialized, instead, people were stoked, and a bunch of us went to get chicken and waffles afterwards at Big Board, the DC watering hole that notoriously flouted Covid vaccine mandates and suffered further punishments for their noncompliance.
There is community to be had, there is community to be made. When you find it, lean in. That’s essentially what Tim has done, his respect and appreciation for his fans is real and lasting.
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Remind me next month