When most people think of sports, they probably think of football, basketball, or maybe baseball — but Sam Cox, 21, is here to show you that skateboarding can teach you just as many things about dedication, hard work, and perseverance as any classic team sport.
The Hernando native began skating when he was 9, but didn’t take it seriously until he started doing it as a pastime with friends.
“My best friend, Trey, at the time, he had been skating a little longer than I had,” he said. “We lived in a small town with like 500 people, and there’s not much to do around there, so me and Trey just skated, and that’s all we had.”
Cox said he likes that skateboarding is different from team sports and should be respected just as much as any other athletic skill. He enjoys the independent nature of improving his skateboarding skills and says it requires internal motivation to become good at it.
“You’re not dependent on others,” he said. “You’re only dependent on yourself. You’re not required to go to practice. It’s on you to get out there and learn what you want to learn and progress the way you want to. It’s not up to anyone else.”
While many skaters make skateboarding look casual and easy, Cox said it takes much dedication and failure to get good. He recalls countless hours spent repeating tricks until he finally got them right.
“When it comes to learning tricks in skateboarding, that’s something that takes a lot of dedication because you’re never going to catch on to something the first day, or even the first week or month,” he said. “When I first started skating, I didn’t have the right mentality to keep pushing to learn tricks.
“After I moved, I didn’t have anyone to skate with, so I got back into it, and that’s when I started realizing how much work it takes to learn tricks. The Tre Flip – I think I spent six hours three days in a row learning that trick, and that’s just what some of it takes. It’s just about not giving up.”
Cox spends much of his free time visiting skateparks in Mississippi, even traveling to some out-of-state skateparks to add variety to his everyday skate locations. He said skateboarding is a rewarding sport that teaches delayed gratification. He hopes people will see it as more than just a hobby.