Moving On

I got the urge to go street skating yesterday. It doesn't hit me too often, as I have been perfectly content skating skateparks for the past several months. Maybe I'm getting old, or maybe just lazy, but letting the ramps do part of the work just fits right now. But I woke up with an image in my head of an old skate spot I had only hit one time in my youth, and so I tried it out. Unfortunately, the school that had an excellent double set with ledges on each side, and a very attainable five-stair handrail, was totally fenced in and unaccessible without a little trespassing involved. I'm not sure how I could explain getting arrested to my wife and kids right now, so I decided to hit the loading docks I had seen on the way, which seemed pretty fun and empty.

It had a nice little drop to bank, with some higher drops nearby and even a big dumpster I tried to noseslide a few times before abandoning the trick. When a skater approaches a new spot, he or she tries to get familiar with some easy tricks, and then dreams up something new and progressive to his or her skill level. Well, if you read this blog, you know that I like to dream, and this is certainly no exception in skating. The problem is that my dreams are often way bigger than my body can handle, so I end up landing somewhere in between. After landing a few tricks, I dreamed up a backside flip into the bank of one of the loading docks. It's not too creative, nor that technical, but it's what I envisioned and so it is what I tried.

This trick sent me into about an hour of seemingly countless attempts, much akin to my yonder days of youth. I used to try tricks hundreds of times, often beckoning my friends to film the majority of them, until I either landed them, broke a board, hurt myself or ran out of daylight (and sometimes even the latter two didn't stop me). Just like my current street skating status, I don't have sessions like that very often anymore, but yesterday was different. Sometimes it feels good to pursue something with passion, even a faded passion that you rarely experience. It even feels good to get hurt, like I still "have it," the ability to push myself beyond my perceived physical limits to accomplish something my mind made up.

The problem with these types of sessions though, is that they usually don't go the way you want them to. I set up two cameras because I thought this might be a nice trick, and am trying to finish Skater Dad II with a big finish. This isn't so different from my experience trying to complete Skater Dad: the movie , though I will admit the pressure I put on myself now isn't what it was two years ago. Anyway, going for this trick brought back old memories that I would rather forget. Skating to an extreme level will expose in you thoughts and motives you may have not been aware of, much the way marriage or a good friend or hiking a really huge mountain might. You ask yourself all kinds of questions in the process: Why can't I land this trick? Should I even be going for this trick? Do I need to have it on video? Why do I care if anyone sees it? Am I shallow, or just crave the attention? Am I too old for this? These questions lead to an internal dialogue with responses of affirmation, deprecation, anger, humor, peace, turmoil. As I write this I realize that all those years of learning to admit, reject or compartmentalize these types of thoughts have led to a certain level of mental strength that helps me on a daily level. So when your kids want to go skateboarding, let them -- when an emergency comes and they need to think quick in a pinch, they'll be ready.

Card full...

I would love to end this piece with a victorious landing of said trick, but that is sadly not the truth. I tried until the batteries on my camera died and the space on the data card ran out, and then called it a day. Cops drove by about four times, so I figured I might get busted at any point (they didn't); the thought of which brought about a certain degree of open-handedness to the trick. When an outside force causes you to quit, it is easier to walk away than when it is up to your own volition.

And so I pushed my body and mind past the point of exhaustion, all for a trick I didn't land. So what is the point? I'm not sure...

It could have been an exercise in mental strength, as I mentioned before. It could have been to help me deal with some issues of comparison, getting older, goal setting, failure. While shooting this new movie, I have taken a little bit of a different approach, and this session was a good litmus for its usefulness. I used to dream up tricks and then try them over and over and over until I landed them. If I couldn't, I would get bummed and go through footage, hoping for at least a good fall and maybe a redemption session once I healed. Lately, though, I have been going to a spot and just doing the best I can, given the time and availability I have to devote to progression. As a result, I haven't progressed as much as I'd like to have -- I have some, just not as rapidly -- but my skating has been way more enjoyable and shooting the video way less stressful. And so yesterday's session was a bit of a throwback to the old ways, and I have to admit that I kind of like the new one better. Trying to do better, but moving on when time and abilities do not permit, and ultimately being okay with that.

So look for an underwhelming Skater Dad II, coming soon...just kidding. I'm still trying to make an awesome video, but as my wife said about the last one, it is much less about my skating and way more about my cute kids coming along for the ride.

By the way...Merry Christmas!!!


  1. Skating is my hobby. I love to skate. Our Gang is very professional in terms of sketing.


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