I've seen kids turn their lives around. It's usually a kid who's outside of the team-sport world, or maybe has a darker personality or doesn't fit in. Skateboarding ends up being something they latch onto. It sounds hokey, but finding a focus on something - whether it's skateboard or playing your guitar - can be life changing.
Punk rock and skateboarding took the 'school' out of living your life, and I related to learning as I went, doing a lot of different things that I liked, when I liked. Consequently, I'm mediocre at all of the above, but still stoked on being a lifetime student of music, skating, painting, writing, etc.