Sunday, April 1, 2012

Skateboarding. That is All.

You probably aren't wondering why I started skateboarding. Well, my bike had been stolen a couple years before, and I wasn't ready to go through that shit again, so I decided to find a new mode of transportation. One that might give me tons of chicks (nope). Enter skateboarding.

Oh hi.

After getting used to using words like "gnarly" and "stoked" unironically, I was ready to undertake what was to become a constant uphill battle.

At first I practiced on friends' boards. A decent board is kind of expensive so I figured I'd mooch off of others for awhile while I decided if this whole endeavor was worth it or not. Admirable, I know. I eventually got to the point where I could skate several feet without getting injured, so I was hooked. As far as some fancy ass tricks, I figured I'd start at the beginning with, the ollie.

Speaking of ollie, what a god damn weird show this was.

Well, while trying to figure out the most fundamental trick, I discovered something kind of bothersome about skateboarding: falling.

Yes sir, for those first several months I spent as much time skateboarding as I spent sitting near a skateboard shortly after falling off of it. But like any endeavor, if it doesn't make you severely handicapped or kill you, chances are you'll start to get better, and I did. After those first few months, I might've even looked like a competent skateboarder,  providing you were watching from a distance, and need glasses, but forgot to wear your glasses that day.

At this point, brother Mike had noticed that I was getting somewhat serious about skateboarding and just fucking went to the store and bought me one. It wasn't a professional board by any means, but you know what? I wasn't a professional. THANKS MIKE!!

  • Tangent! This brings to mind an incident I remember about playing drums. My first drumset was secondhand, and of course after just a few months I wanted a one million dollar drumset so I tried to make excuses about how the quality of the set was interfering with my destiny. My dad said something along the lines of "well, I'm sure a professional could sit down at the drums you have now and blow you away, so don't worry about getting a new one just yet." Thinking back, I'm amazed he managed to say anything other than "shut up son".

Alright, tangent achieved.

So at this point I had taken up skating with a few friends that were equally not very good, and it was a great time. We could all do some simple tricks, so I had fantasies of soon becoming capable of this:

Even though all I was currently capable of was this:

Little by little we all steadily progressed. We were finally able to fall in such a way that it only took several hours to recover rather than several days. We even got to the point where we could go to local skate parks and less frequently think "wow, everyone here is so much better than me."

Years later we all got fairly decent. Each of us had our occasional moment in the sun, those days where out of nowhere one of us was suddenly capable of greatness. But for some reason, it never lasted. After throwing ourselves down a giant set of stairs one day, we consistently failed at a set half the size the next. After doing a kickflip off a giant ledge one day, we could barely manage to do it on flat ground the next. This constant up and down struggle was frustrating, but we just kept at it, and at the start of each day we would wonder "is this gonna be a good day or a bad one?" because you just never knew. And oh boy some of those bad days were very bad. Let's talk about a couple of the worst injuries shall we?

Fairly early on in the game, I was having one of those confident days. I was still on the skateboard brother Mike had gotten me. I probably hadn't fallen for fifteen minutes or something so I got cocky and thought "I'm gonna ride down one of the steepest hills in town!" I don't know why I felt so stupidly confident, it probably had something to do with my friends watching, but I even gathered speed before going down the hill. About halfway through I thought "ahhhh fuck" and just waited to fall horribly.

I knew it was going to happen. I was going way too fast to jump off and hit the ground running, so I just had to wait and cling to the .0000001% chance that I would make it to the bottom unscathed. Nope. Sure enough, I got speed wobble and slammed into the ground. If you've never experienced speed wobble, don't. It felt like falling out of a car.

..not a parked car. Like, a moving car. One moving the same speed that I had been going on my skateboard. Why did I include this hypothetical car?

So, I severely gashed both elbows, knees, and my back, but apparently after tumbling several times, I'm told I popped right back up onto my feet. I don't remember doing that, but I guess it's good that I did, so my friends didn't have to spend more than a second thinking "well, our friend is now dead." After this injury I should've just taken a break from skating for awhile, but about a week later I was walking somewhat normally again and figured I was good to go so I tried to ollie a cinder block and my knee hit the cinder block and oh god it was horrible.

Next! One day I was skating at colby college with a few folks, and we hit a favorite spot of ours, a long set of 5 stairs. I had gotten pretty good at launching myself down these stairs without bailing, so now the only thing to do was to try to do it while going faster.

Once again, my confidence made me complacent and I didn't pay attention to what I was doing. A good rule of thumb when it comes to weight distribution is to err towards the back foot. Why is this? Imagine riding a bike. What happens when you slam on the rear tire breaks? You skid along safely. What happens when you slam on the front tire breaks? You flip over the handlebars and slam your dumbass face on the ground. Well, I forgot that rule, and tried to stick a landing when leaning a bit too far forward. I landed on a rock and my board stopped dead in its tracks. Face smash!

Haha, no not really, but to prevent from smashing my face, I had to smash basically the rest of my body. It was a little chilly out, so it didn't really hurt at the time, but once I got back inside and my circulation returned it felt like I was being stabbed everywhere for hours.

All things considered, I've done pretty well to not mangle myself. I still ride these days, but I use it mostly as a mode of horribly inefficient transportation, rather than a ramp conquering sex chariot. I'll probably continue to ride it until my legs give out, and I look forward to the injuries to come.