I recently emailed a friend, “Hi, I just bought a skateboard. See you at the hospital!” Everyone says I’m crazy. I’m 44 years old. I quit skating in my late 20’s because it had become too dangerous. Why take it up again 15 years later?
Maybe it’s a mid life thing? The way I figure it, I better skate now or it’s pretty much going to be never again. It’s not like I’m going to be skating in my 50’s, or am I? The fact is I was in pretty good shape when I got married at the age of 30. I was biking and surfing almost every day. Now I ride my bike almost every day and I weigh a few pounds less. I’m in good shape. Why not do something fun?
I grew up in a house on the top of a big hill. I skateboarded to school and my friends’ houses almost every day until I got my driver’s license. I wasn’t into the radical stuff like pools and ramps. Those were really too dangerous. One of my brothers severely broke his arm in a pool. Street skating, when not going straight downhill in a tuck, was far safer. I only broke my wrist once, and it was only a hairline fracture at that.
The break happened during my sophomore year in high school. I remember it distinctly because I tried out for the rugby team with a cast on my hand. The coach kicked me off the team. He told me I was too reckless and I was going to hurt someone with my cast. Imagine that, being too dangerous for a rugby team. So I surfed that winter instead. I remember going home from the beach with my hand out the window, trying to dry the cast in the cold air. My friends would complain bitterly about the cold air, but so what, I was the one driving.
In college I partially dislocated my shoulder trying to catch air with a friend. It caused me to miss a surfing competition, and the same friend ended up taking my spot in the competition. I learned a really good lesson. I don’t know how to land. So I won’t be trying anything that gets my wheels off the ground.
I’ve now skated a few times since I got the board. I keep it in the trunk of my car. The other day I was waiting for a friend in front of a house that I was going to show him. I had a few minutes and there was a hill nearby so I broke out my board and did a little skating. I’m pretty sure I’m the only Realtor in my county who skates in front of the houses he sells.
Why am I doing this? Because I can and it makes me happy. I don’t surf anymore, but when I skate it’s just like riding a wave, especially on steep hills where I do the same moves: drop in, bottom turn, cut back and off the lip. What I really want to get into again, and what inspired me to get the board, was my desire to four wheel slide. I used to go sliding with a friend of mine who could literally throw his board into a slide for fifty feet. Twenty feet was pushing it for me, and I probably won’t be going fast enough to slide more than 10 feet in the near future. Right now my trucks are too tight to slide. It’s nothing that the turn of a skate key won’t remedy.
Will this whole misadventure land me in the local hospital? Is it a mistake? I’ll tell you what, I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time when I’m carving up hills. Bob Marley sang, “Life is for man to live. Let man live life.” If I die tomorrow I will know that I have lived. I just hope I don’t meet my maker on my new skateboard!
Image by: jelly fishy, SXC