news Sports Opinions arts variety interact Wildcat On-Line QuickNav

Stop hazing handrails

By Colleen Morgan
Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 4, 1999
Send comments to:

To the editor,

I'd like to ask recreational skateboarders a question. Why does every free-standing handrail need to be "conquered"? Is this some underground rite of passage that handrails must endure to get into some sort of exclusive handrail club? Is the point of skateboarders jumping off or sliding down handrails to weed out the weak and sickly handrails that are unworthy of their thrill-seeking activities?

I'd really like to know because I want to understand what it is that compels skateboarders to challenge their skating skills on these simple pieces of metal, which results in the skateboarder beating the handrail into utter submission. I don't know if they are aware that there is a small segment of the university (and Tucson) community that isn't interested in a handrail's ability to withstand the athletic expression of a skateboard's freedom. We just want the handrail there so it can be held onto, offer support, or provide some visual indication of an upcoming step. Could skateboarders maybe think about what other people may want to use handrails for before subjugating them to their recreational purposes?

Specifically, I'd like to ask skateboarders to give the new handrails at the Arizona State Museum a respite from their recent hazing and perhaps a reprieve from the ordeal altogether. These handrails are young (just two weeks old) and are not really prepared or designed for the tests they've been giving them. We have had to paint them twice already and several are close to breaking off their mounting plates.

I think the handrails are well aware they won't make the "skateboarding grade" and that their existence will be somewhat diminished because of it. But these handrails can still lead productive, meaningful lives. They can help keep museum patrons from tripping or falling on the front entry plaza. I know the seemingly simple act of helping someone up or down the stairs can't begin to compare to the glory these handrails could have attained as participants in a skateboard's acrobatic repertoire, but they deserve the chance to try.

Please, give the Arizona State Museum handrails (and the many other free-standing handrails around campus) a chance for a life outside the skateboarder's handrail club. I just know the handrails, many Arizona State Museum patrons, and university visitors will appreciate it.

Colleen Morgan
Safety Officer
Risk Management and Safety