Watching the wheels turn, literally

I’m an unlikely fan, albeit a very casual one, of skateboarding. I’ve never been on a skateboard nor do I have any desire to be. But of the few people I follow on Facebook, Shaun White is one. He’s an obvious choice and frankly, I’m not sure I can name any other famous skateboarder other than Tony Hawk (I think that’s his name). I follow Shaun because he amazes the hell out of me; to stay so dominant for so long is quite a feat with so many youngin’s nipping at his wheels. He snowboards too. The funny thing about him is he kind of presents like a typical Californian – this is a guy who played “air guitar” on the podium one year while the National Anthem was being played at the Olympics – and yet he is clearly so driven and skilled. He posts unbelievable photos of himself in action – how is a human being doing that?! – and is funny and charismatic as well in his comments. (He also is the “Zelig” of the sports world; he seems to be everywhere and know everyone. I would not be surprised to see him in a photo op with the pope, doing “rabbit ears” over the man’s head.)

Back in high school I liked a guy who skateboarded. The skateboard was incidental. I just mention it because that’s really my only personal acquaintance with skateboarding in general. I don’t even remember watching him skateboard. I did know he was a member of the skateboarding club at school but I couldn’t even tell you what the guys in the club actually did. Did have they have competitions? Merely get together and try to learn new tricks? I couldn’t say. The main reason I remember that at all is because there was a photo in the high school yearbook of the club, where they were all holding their skateboards and one of the guys (not the guy I liked) was giving the finger to the camera (while smiling of course). I knew who that guy was and I’m sure it was deliberate. How the picture was allowed to be printed in the yearbook I don’t know. Here we go. It’s not the clearest but still.

IMG_20170605_145135_kindlephoto-2717710

Tasteful no?

My community built a skateboard park ten years ago. It’s a nice looking spread with a “low bowl” and a “deep bowl.” It attracts an assortment of people including little kids, tough looking guys, and even adults. They held a fancy skateboarding exhibition way back when it opened and I went. There were talented guys plus there was free pizza. That part I remember well. I’ve mentioned this before but I once read that if a cat jumps up on a counter and finds food by happenstance, it’ll jump up on the counter a hundred more times on the off-chance it finds food again. I can appreciate this. Although it’s ten years on, I remember getting free pizza.

The park stays in my mind for another event too. I don’t remember this event as well but it was another kind of exhibition and I stopped by. A woman I knew showed up and sat with me while we watched. Then a guy I also knew sat down on the other side of me. Although they may have previously exchanged a word that day, I introduced them properly. Well, next thing you know, they are kind of having a conversation “over” me; like he was asking her questions and such. It wasn’t quite like I wasn’t there but if I’d gotten up and left I don’t think anybody would have minded. I mention this because afterward they started dating and in time got married. The funny thing was I wasn’t match-making (not that I matchmake ever) and wouldn’t have put the two together. So what do I know?!

So this past weekend the park had an anniversary exhibition and free pizza was advertised yet again. Yay! I would have wanted to go anyway but a little extra incentive can’t hurt right? It was billed as a two hour event but apparently most of the show took place in the first hour so I didn’t see too much when I showed up at the second hour. The event wasn’t well attended and there was a lot of pizza so I got lunch out of it. It was delicious – I make my own pizza and very rarely eat any other because frankly mine is damned good and healthy to boot – but this was a novelty. I was so content. The weather was fine; I had food to eat and skateboarders to watch. Just the relaxation I needed.

I don’t watch football, basketball, or baseball but I sure like watching skateboarders. The wheels make an appealing whirring sound too which I’m not I sure I realized/or remembered. (Whereas the sound of kids slamming their boards up and down in a parking lot and bouncing off curbs – which they do here despite the park in spitting distance – is irritating.) Enjoying the skaters at the exhibition I was thinking how much of the sport is in the knees; lordy they must take such a pounding.

A woman passed by me with her young granddaughter who was asking about the skaters and how you could get like that. The grandmother responded, “Practice, practice, practice.” I didn’t say it out loud but I thought, “Or you can eat pizza and watch.”

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14 thoughts on “Watching the wheels turn, literally

  1. Anne Mehrling

    There is a skateboard park at our town rec center, and I occasionally see people using it. My jaw dropped one day when a young man went up and down in the bowl holding his baby. He wore a helmet, but there was no protection for the infant. She came to no harm, and we were all happy.

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Oh my lord. I would have been appalled to see that. What are people thinking?! And to protect his OWN head but not baby’s?? It doesn’t seem like he had a lot above his shoulders worth protecting!

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  2. Ron Walker

    The rebels were the color of high school. If not for them we would have had no entertainment and lost our minds. The picture is great, we were always trying to slip something past the editors of the yearbook.

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  3. Pistachios

    Lol food’s always better when it’s free! I’m sure I’d remember something like free pizza too!
    I actually also quite like skateboarding – watching, not participating (unless you count video games). Like you mentioned, I like the sounds of a skate park as much as the actual spectacle/exhibition.
    I tried snowboarding a few years ago, and that was incredibly fun, but I don’t think I’m gonna get that good at it any time soon (or ever)

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Yeah, I think snowboarding might appeal to me more. Maybe because there’s a built-in cushion when you fall? These guys/girls – amateurs and pros – take hard hits on concrete. Yow. You are probably right that free food tastes different than food you pay for!

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        1. writerinsoul Post author

          Oh same here about the “scared” part. I don’t think of balance as one of my strong suits. I’ve never tried surfing either. I don’t want to get knocked upside the head by ANY board.

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  4. Peg Stueber-Temp and Tea

    My oldest son skateboarded when he was younger. Absolutely fearless. The time I watched him do an ass-over-head (I forget what the ‘official’ name of the trick was) move, I just about had a heart attack.

    The fans started to call him Tarzan, because he wore his hair long and spent a lot of time in the air…so I’m officially ‘Mother of Tarzan.’

    He stopped doing the skateboarding when he broke his ankle in 3 places. Now he does something much safer – spinning poi lit on FIRE.

    Good thing I’ve a strong heart 😀

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      You must have been proud of him though. Watching these younger guys throw themselves into things (in a way I never did ever) is impressive. Mother of Tarzan huh?! I guess she never did have a name! I hope your son is young enough for the ankle to heal properly. They say risk-taking is a trait; adrenalin seekers and all that…

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  5. Ally Bean

    Pizza and watching is my speed, too. But I’m awed by people who can stay on a skateboard and do all those amazing turns. I’ve never had the opportunity to sit and watch them do it, so I’m a little jealous of you.

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      It really is something special. Even watching a guy (it’s usually a guy) launch himself into the deep bowl is impressive; you must have to position every part of your body “just so.” Even a little bit off could mean disaster. And yet, like on TV, they get up from outrageous falls!

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