At this time of the year, it is customary to publish a list of gifts that would be of great enjoyment/benefit to our readership. I am proud to say that we have fulfilled this obligation thanks to the hard work of our Associate Editor, Daniel Fedkenheuer. My intention is to add to Daniel’s list sometime in the near future, but for now, I thought it would be useful to share with you all few gifts that the act of skateboarding has given me. Since you can’t actually PURCHASE any of these gifts without first skateboarding, I’ve decided to comb the internet for non-skate related images…just to prove my point! I welcome your thoughts and realize this is just a brief list. Please email me at mbrooke@interlog.com.  THE GIFT OF BALANCEThis gift is truly the first you receive from skateboarding. It’s up to you as to how much you want to push yourself. It’s your decision to keep practicing. No matter what happens, as long as you keep riding, you will enjoy the ride.  THE GIFT OF FREEDOMThis cannot be underestimated. As long as you have a skateboard, you open up the door and go. No lift tickets, no praying for surf or snow…The world is your oyster as long as you can find some smooth asphalt or concrete. And when you drop off your family or friends at a big event and you park the car a few miles away and return via skateboard, well, that’s freedom too! THE GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP I have made some made some incredible friendships over the course of 4 decades riding. My friends come from Australia, Europe and all over the USA and Canada. We may not all speak the same language or have grown up in the same culture, but skateboarding is the bridge. THE GIFT OF QUESTIONING AUTHORITY & THINKING DIFFERENTLYThere is nothing like being busted riding in a parking garage and put in the back of a cruiser to give you a taste of the state flexing its power. This happened to me after a trade show a few years ago. I’ve been kicked out numerous skate spots. As a skater, questioning things comes with territory. Golfers just don’t go through the same experiences. Not all rules make sense and blindly following orders can lead to a repeat of the Millgram Experiment. And just because you own an Apple product these days does it mean you think differently. Creativity and looking at things in a unique comes is built into skateboarding’s DNA.THE GIFT OF APPRECIATING ART & MUSICWhen I first started skateboarding there were no graphics on the bottom of decks. When longboarding re-emerged in the early 90’s, there were no graphics either. And yet, a rich culture of insanely great art has flourished within skateboarding. Music and skateboarding are as tight as peanut butter and jelly.