It was weird growing up a total fucking poser and not realizing it. I enjoyed going to the skatepark as much as anyone, or hitting up a loading dock, finding a sketchy staircase with a rusty railing, a parking lot gap. But since I can barely walk, I've always stood aside and watched others press their luck.
When I was 12-years-old, I had a back surgery that put me out and led to me having to learn how to walk, again. I wasn't particularly good on my feet beforehand, but being the least flexible human you know probably adds a layer of fucked to the situation. Most would move on and find other things that captivate them, knowing they're permanently on the outside looking in, but I continued to feel inspired by getting to see others feel so free. I'll never know how it feels to smoothly coast over flat ground again, but having a taste of that freedom helps me share the passion every person has when riding a board.
Aside from the feeling of freedom you can read on someone's face when they hit a trick or when they just want to cruise, the fact that I couldn't get up on a board again didn't keep me from feeling accepted by the people around me. While I loved skateboarding culture and punk rock because of the sense of self-authority, this didn't mean the people involved with either scene were selfish. Everyone was an equal if you treated others like equals -- even if that means being a dick to everyone equally. If you were there for the right reasons, you took part in a companionship that can't be found in many other places.
I don't want to be as hyperbolic as to say skateboarding helped save my life, because that's some faux-transcendental bullshit that isn't even cliche enough to merit a discussion. But, I will say that for someone who was down on his luck, didn't have a place to go -- skateboarding gave me a home when I needed a place to go.