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Heat vs. Passion

Growing up as a skateboarder in coastal South Carolina, I'm no stranger to heat. Somehow I would skate for hours in 90-degree weather, with a humidity in about the same percentile. I was just younger then I guess, but somehow I avoided a heat stroke time and time again. 

Some time ago, I had to run an errand to Bellflower, where they have a skatepark I used to love visiting when I had had work there about once a month in 2014-2016. They have a unique mini-bowl with a slope that dumps into a head-high deep end, with carving corners on the way, as well as a dated, but still fun, street course. I haven't visited this park since 2016, but nothing has changed (except the playground across the parking lot has become a lot nicer). This neglected skatepark is off of a bike path and surrounded by coarse, dry dirt, somewhat ironically juxtaposed to lush green grass from the playground on one side, and a golf course across the concrete river on the other. Still, no one really needs a clean skatepark, so I'm not complaining.

What a unique bowl!
 

Lately, I've been feeling a little old as a skateboarder. I mean, if you've read this blog at all the past three years, you'll find posts about it, but at this point I'm wearing knee braces every time I skate, and it takes about 15 minutes just to get warmed up. I can't do the tricks I used to, though I can do some new, different ones, so there's that...It all amounts to an adjustment period of my life that is sometimes uncomfortable, and occasionally leads to a bad attitude.

But today was totally different! I just had so much fun, and landed way more tricks than I thought I would, especially in the street section of the park. Sure, they were a little wonky, "old guy tricks" as I like to call them, but I had a blast and that's all that really matters. But man, it was hot, just baking in the sun on that desert climate, the concrete reflecting all the rays right back at me. When I was younger, I used to skate in those Charleston summers until I broke out into a cold sweat -- that was my warning signal. (What? That's way too late to quit, you say? Well, tell that to a driven young fellow who loves skating more than just about anything.) 

From the shade
From the safety of shade.

It's been years since I skated until I felt "the signal," but today as I cruised through the bowl and then up the bank, trying to land a flamingo, it hit me. The cold sweats mixed with a spinning head that told this 35 year-old that it was time to stop, so I walked over to a shady tree and drank some water to cool down.

As I stood in that spot, overlooking the baking skatepark, I didn't want to leave. I was having such a great time and for once, my body wasn't telling me to quit because it felt old or sore or wasn't landing tricks the way it was supposed to. I felt good, and even though it was kind of dangerous to exert myself in such heat (I know much younger men die from less), I thought to myself, This is worth it.

Here is a little video of my session for your viewing pleasure, set to an instrumental of "This Life of Us," one of my favorite songs I've ever written.


Comments

  1. Great blog! I totally relate. I used to skate non-stop in the hottest days! Except I was here in SoCal as a kid. Shoutout to The Edge skatepark in Irwindale!

    Killer video, old guy!

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