Posted by Tom Meer - Store Manager at Scooter Hut Melbourne on 25th Mar 2014
I don’t ride a scooter, not well anyway. I’ve never repulsed the sport, and I even tried to have a serious go at it myself back in my early teen years, which didn’t last long. I suppose it was just the scene that I was avoiding; hanging out at the skate park with a bunch of sketchy looking guys I barely knew, traveling ridiculous distances just to hit a new quarter-pipe, and wasting away countless hours on a hobby that I assumed would get me nowhere. But I was just young, naive, and impatient.
It was in May of 2012 when an old friend of mine, Jamie Santilli, broke the news to me that he had scored himself a job managing a Freestyle Scooter shop in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. The shop was called ‘Scooter Hut’. I didn’t think much of it at the time, in fact, I may have even let out a breath of laughter in hearing about a shop that specialised in scooters! Deciding to support my mate, I held my breath and congratulated Jamie on his new role, considering how stoked he sounded about the whole position! Ten minutes or so into the conversation, after opening an ear to a bit of information about this ‘Scooter Hut’ shop, I was put on the spot when Jamie told me he needed staff, and he wanted me..
This brings me back to that young teen mindset that I had locked up inside my head. Still believing scooters were children’s toys, and a picture of my old Razor A1 with foam grips and collapsable bars on my mind, I rocked up to my first shift at Scooter Hut on the 1st of July, 2012. It’s from here that I was introduced to a number of respected scooter enthusiasts, and my eyes began to open.
It’s been a while now; people move on, and new personalities move in, and in January of 2014, I was accepted into the role as Manager of the Scooter Hut Melbourne store.
Since stepping into this position within such a prestigious company, I’ve spent a lot of time forming relationships, whether they be with other companies, staff members, international riders, and of course my own team riders. It’s these guys, the guys that have been a part of the sport since the beginning, that really help me understand the minds and motives of scooter riders. I’m not going to sit here and say that there’s not a side to the sport that isn’t so pleasant, because like anything, there’s going to be people who play poor roles as ambassadors to their interest, and it will be a part of every sport until I land a bar flat (in other words, never!). The way I saw it, before involvement with Scooter Hut, the whole world of scooting was unpleasant, and I was just another one of those guys who conformed to the ‘Scooter Fag’ conviction.
It was Colby Butler, rider for Scooter Hut Melbourne, who said to me after a long and exhausting night of driving, riding and filming, “I don’t care what people see from the outside. Scooting is a way of life, and if they hate on me for it, then they’re the ones missing out”. Colby didn’t realise it at the time, but he didn’t just mean missing out on the fun, energy and lifestyle of scooting; he meant missing out on the personalities, the stories, the friendships, the ambition.
The passion I see in some riders is what gets me to work every day, it’s what motivates me to drive a whole day to see one of my riders compete, and it’s what makes me want to play my part in pushing scooters to the top of the skate park food-chain!
If we all play our part, if we all stay loyal to our sport, and if we all maintain a positive face for scooters, then I could bet my life that in a few years time, everyone watching from the outside will have respect for the sport.
Be yourself, encourage younger and less experienced riders, aim high, and respect others. Scooting is still in its early days, but if you open up the book, and maybe read the first chapter to the person next to you, they might actually give this ‘Children’s Hobby’ a fair go.