More about skateboarding

Makeshift obstacle

Today was the first (partly) sunny day we’ve had around here since I got my new skateboard, plus it was a holiday so I didn’t have to balance a short session with my work schedule. I was out early, around 10 o’clock, at the local park where there is a large flat cement area landmined with countless pebbles. This time I was prepared: I took a broom and got as much of the detritus out of the way as I could. Then I began to ride around and practice my newly (re)acquired tricks: 180 ollies, helipops, pop shuvits, half-cabs… (for those readers with a scarce knowledge of skateboarding tricks and terminology, these are the most basic street moves). I was never good at flip tricks, even when they were new and I spent all day every day trying to land them. This makes me irredeemably old-school, I realize. But I have nothing to prove to anyone this time around.

At a certain point I got bored and rode off down the street – long broom in hand – looking for new terrain. My neighborhood is completely residential, and the residents are not accustomed to the rumbling of skateboard wheels down asphalt, the clicks and pops of skateboards flying up and off curbs, or the look of a solitary man in a hoodie and wool hat making such a ruckus. I found a parking lot strewn with autumn leaves, set to work sweeping them away, and continued my little session. I managed to ollie both up and off the curb, which was a small triumph. I found a street sign on the ground, still wet from the recent rains, and did what comes naturally to a skater: I propped it up on the curb and skated it (see photo). This is exemplary of the art of skateboarding. It really is all about doing the best with what you have. If you have little or nothing, you invent something. When we were young skaters in the Maryland suburbs, that meant building our own ramps (upcoming post on our DIY mini ramps here). It still amazes me what we managed to do at fifteen years of age, essentially left to our own devices and with almost no money. I guess we were just desperate for some fun.

All in all, it was a fine morning. I banged my knee dorking around, which is usually how you bang your knee. On the way home I ollied a manhole. A man helping his son change a bike tire gave me a quizzical look. I ollied as I rolled by (broom still in hand) as I imagined his son, eyes wide, asking him for a skateboard. He would then have to explain why that was the one sport he wouldn’t allow his son to partake in, it was for degenerates and losers and that skateboarders worshipped Satan and took drugs, etc…

Which would probably just make it sound that much more fun.


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