Nightmares and Dreams

Lately I've been scared to go street skating. It's mostly because of my age -- ramps don't hurt my knees as much as ledges and stairs do -- but also because of ability. Any skater will tell you he or she dreams of tricks at spots all the time. In fact, if you see a skater gazing longingly out the car window as you drive, it's probably because he or she noticed a good skate spot and is thinking of what he or she would want to do there. (That's a lot of "he or she," huh? I had a tough English teacher in college, so you'll like my grammar or deal with it!)

I was walking to a kid's birthday party with my family (talk about a Dad' birthday parties have dominated our lives lately), and noticed this great ledge-to-gap in front of an apartment building. But finding the time to get there and skate it was tough, and so I was left only to my dreams. Manuals to gap, flip tricks and combinations of the two floated through my head like the clouds that grace the sky. But then the day came when I actually had a couple hours to street skate, and so it was time to try it out. As my wife loaded the girls into the car to go see their uncle, though, anxiety hit me. Was I going to be able to do what I dreamt of, or would this be another depressing session, where the reality of my age and abilities slaps me in the face like skating headfirst into a brick wall?

Thoughts of ditching out also crept in, as I considered staying home to work on some music or rest a bit. But a good Sunday afternoon in California will beckon you outside like the ice cream truck's incessantly repetitive songs, and so I went for it.

FS 360 & kickflip

It's always a little awkward street skating when people are around, and for some reason I think everyone on the block was walking their dogs exactly when I decided to skate. Still, I waited, set up the camera, and then went to work. Tricks started coming easy. My shoes suck, so they slipped a little (but that's another piece -- good and bad equipment and its effect on your skating), but it was going well; a little better than I expected, to be honest.

As the smell of dog poop wafted through the warm afternoon air, I landed a frontside 180. The 360 felt natural, but I went for a few other things first, thinking maybe that was too difficult for the circumstances, as there were a row of cars parked only a few feet away from my landing -- a wayward board could cause some serious damage that I didn't want to pay for. But as I tried tricks, the 360 kept feeling natural, so I focused on it. And you know what? I landed it...sort of. I broke my board on the landing, but I did roll away, so that probably counts, right?

Memorial for a broken board.

With only a few cracks in the deck, I decided to go for a kickflip until the board snapped in two, which I also landed...sort of. My balance was off and the board flew away and into a car. Thankfully, it didn't leave a mark, so my conscious is clear. That was my cue to leave though, so I waved goodbye to the kids watching me from their apartment balcony, and walked to another spot, where I tried a cool little handplant wallride a few times until my board actually did snap.

The whole thing left me feeling pretty good, all things considered. I mostly landed two tricks I'm proud of, got some good falls on video, and broke a board, which I have been long overdue for. (I used to go through a deck every few months, but this one has been around for a couple years...shame on me.) So here's to broken boards and partially landed tricks! And the next time you are scared of your inadequacy, or that your dreams are too big for your body, remember that there is a 33 year-old out there skateboarding in places he shouldn't be, and maybe landing something worth sharing. But in success or failure, he at least has a smile on his face.