Go Skateboarding Day is only in its third year, but the enthusiasm and commitment of those involved is steeped in tradition. Skateboarding is in undeniable force for those who participate, and the once cheesy phrase, “Skate for Life” takes on new meaning as I edge into my thirties.
So, in honor of my lifelong love affair with my four-wheeled toy, I skipped work and attended the event held down the street at the Mount Pleasant Recreation Center Skatepark. The turnout was decent – about thirty skaters, of all ages and skill levels, crawled over the street course like a group of padded ants. Fueled by Code Red and bite-sized Oreos, we endured 90+ temperatures and burning hot coping to tear it up with our fellow skaters. Viva la skateboarding!
And now for some random thoughts on the day…
- Even though there were about thirty skaters present, it seemed like only five or six of us were actually trying tricks. Most of the kids just did kickturns on the quarter and wedge, and stood around on the fun boxes.
- Nobody skates fast, to the point of it being strange. I must look like one of those old-timey Babe Ruth movies where he’s flying around the bases in jerky double time. This is probably the reason they can’t finish 50-50 grinds on the rails or hit the coping on the ramps – they’re simply going to slow.
- I like the questions younger skaters ask me, though I’m shocked they never ask my age. I get a lot of, “How high can you ollie?”, “What tricks can you do?”, “Can I see your board?”, and “Are you OK?” That last one makes the list because I’m constantly slamming trying frontside disaster slides or backside ollies.
- I cut my ankle, and it bled onto my shoe. I found this extremely satisfying.
- Skating with full pads is still strange, but I’m getting used to it. This is not unlike how my parents’ generation must have felt when wearing seatbelts became law in the 1980s, except without all the blood and hippers.
- The best kid there, a quiet 12-year-old name Austen Heard (pictured above), asked me if I wanted to play SKATE. I was floored, and took the offer without thinking twice. I lost S-K-A-T-E to S, but it was still cool. I hadn’t even thought of SKATE in probably fifteen years, and it was nice to see someone born in the mid-nineties (when my everyday skating was winding down) interested in a game.
- I just can’t slam a soda and keep skating like I once could. I tried, but felt like I was going to puke. Good thing I brought a jug of water.
- Hitting the wedge at full speed, I heard one of the kids say, “That scared me.” Well, maybe if you weren’t just sunning yourself on the deck like a girl, you wouldn’t be afraid of a skateboarder skating on a skateboard in a skatepark. Where has all the aggression gone…15 years ago that would have gotten a “Yeah!”
- This overtly friendly skater and I had a good time doing old school tricks. He was into doing berts, slides, nose manuals, and actually had a little style…something not often seen in today’s fliptrick wilderness.
- At one point, a kid about eight-years old asked me what was on my finger. When I told him it was my wedding ring, he said, “Oh, I thought is was a bearing.” WTF?
What a great day…I’m already looking forward to next year.