Seven Plies of Thought

I wrote recently that I broke my first skateboard deck in a couple years. Today I put a new one on, and decided it might be nice to move slow and do it by hand, instead of using a drill or ratchet; an exercise in patience of sorts. Well, about a few turns in, my hand started cramping and I considered backing out...How easily my generation gives up on our convictions. Discipline eventually won over, however, as this was an experiment on slower living, and so I had to finish what I started.

My first observation was that going slowly caused me to examine my board more closely, noticing things I often overlook when skating. How do the trucks look? Are those nuts on the end so scraped down that I'll never be able to take them off again? Are the wheels wearing down, or still have life left in them?

It also caused me to pause and think about how much fun skateboarding is, all the people I've met. This sport (as silly as it seems, investing so much of my life in a piece of wood and four wheels) has meant so much to me over the years, and brought me tons of joy in multiple ways. And then even this reminded me that I'm trying to pray more, so I thanked God for all those good times.

BS noseslides were always my jam. (1999)

These thoughts led to reminiscing...every time I put together a new deck, I remember the guy at the Carolina Ice Palace skatepark who was a frequent local, and rather good. One day he broke a board in the middle of a session and quickly put one together, but was in such a hurry to get back out in the park, that he put one of his trucks on backwards. I remember him zooming out of the seating area with such gusto, only to return a few moments later, laughing, after he had realized something didn't feel right.

That Ice Palace was such an awesome place to skate. That dude (whose name I don't remember, but always knew him as "White Helmet Guy") and another local legend, Kevin, practically ran the place. I remember whenever Kevin would show up, I'd try and do my best tricks because I knew he had a sponsor, and at the time, attaining sponsorship was my dream. One day we spoke about it and he told me sponsors aren't all they're cracked up to be...that they send you to competitions and don't pay your for gas or lodging, and all you really get out of it is a shop t-shirt and a discount on merchandise. I chose to ignore him, but never quite got sponsored myself, although the shop where I got my current deck offered to put me on their team after watching my Skater Dad: the Movie film. Unfortunately, we moved out of state a month later, and so my dreams were again never realized...

My "sponsor."

Seven plies is plenty for thought.
Getting lost in thought has its repercussions though. Just as White Helmet Guy placed his trucks in the wrong direction while hurrying to assemble his board, I did the same thing while going slow! I guess I was thinking too much about all these stories, skateboarding, this piece I was going to write about (to my shame, I spent most of my time trying to pick out life lessons for this one; I guess "being present" is something I'm still working on). Oh well, a few more hand cranks only gave me more time to move slow, more time to consider the past, more time to appreciate it all...especially this seven-ply piece of wood that is the source of so many good things.


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