Why I skateboard/Sport vs. Exercise

Winter ice and a bruised ankle have simmered my skateboarding down the past two weeks, but I’m planning to skate for years. It is two days to Christmas and near New Years Eve reflections so this blog is going to talk about being active. Now I think that’s important for everyone, including adults, who more times than not forget it in their busy schedules.

For me, I skated so much from age 11-17 and then a few spurts in my adult life that I knew I wanted to get back into it. Everyone should be active, but with such of a variety of things to do, the choice is a personal preference. Running, softball, soccer, football, disc golf, basketball, roller blading, and whatever else would be good to do for people interested in those things. I started back skating a few years ago, and because of an injury did not skate for about a year. But since July I’ve been skating regularly averaging a couple of times a week. I’ve learned a lot of my tricks back, and I am progressing with it. If I started a different sport, I would be starting from scratch, but with skating it has been kind of relearning. Also, actual skating brings a lot of nostalgia that a familiarity with something brings. So if someone asked me what sport he or she should pick up as an adult I would tell that person to do what they liked when they were a kid or in high school or early adulthood.

My roommate’s opinion on exercise varies from my own, but through discussion with him and thinking about this I’ve formed what I want to do.  The Timmers is in great shape from going to the gym regularly. The gym is his exercise and that’s what he wants, to get stronger and be in shape. I go to the gym too, more sporadically, but I don’t think I would only want to get stronger. The idea of training for something that I can judge progress and make it an important factor in my life appeals to me more than simply looking better. With all sports you learn a skill. For skateboarding you learn to ollie and then learn it higher and farther. One month you try a new trick, and maybe the next month you can do that same trick smoothly and consistently. The same thing would apply to softball when you start hitting line drives as opposed to pop ups or grounders. Learning to do things physically is a lot of fun. I would not be a better person or my life would not change dramatically if I started landing tre flips regularly, but I would feel super good about doing that.

The gym is fine for people that are busy, and do not have a desire to participate in a sport.  As a librarian, I kind of take the approach that reading anything is better than reading nothing to literary snobs concerned about book trends. For exercise, any exercise is good, and should be promoted to everyone. I think people are way more reclusive and sedentary in the past ten to fifteen years because of the internet and video games, and everyone should be active in some way. I applaud everyone that reads this who exercises and your life is better because of it. For myself I’ve been so sporadic with the gym in my life, that I feel the extra motivation of being involved in a sport is beneficial to me.  I think anyone can get extra endorphins and fun out of doing activities or a sport instead of simply workouts.

I have a long time before I consider myself an advanced skater or ripper and it may take a couple of years, but I think it’s possible for me to get as good as I want. Month after month I’ll learn a few things, get smoother, and maybe reach some plateaus. Learning skateboarding on my spare time seems like such a positive focus, as opposed to focusing on making a scene, partying, or worrying about my writing. So far I’ve been able to skate once or twice a week, which is not enough to expect sponsorship or anything, but I think a great way to spend my off days. I feel there is more motivation if you learn things or set goals for certain skills than simply doing reps at the gym.

I guess why I’m thinking about exercise and skateboarding so much is because quite a bit of my adult life I’ve been sedentary.  There have been times I focused on school, writing, reading, and work. Those times of thought or concentration have helped me out quite a intellectually and why I’m in my current profession, but every time I start skateboarding or exercise I feel ten times better, my life improves.

The most dramatic of this life changing exercise start up was when I started running seriously in 1999 or 2000. By 2001 I lost 50 pounds, logged five to ten miles most days of the week, and felt great.  It did not alter my luck with the ladies at all (which is a false hope for a lot of people to get in shape) but I felt awesome with a ton of energy. One of my parent’s neighbors, who is middle aged, gave me a lot of pointers about running and was helpful to me getting involved in it. I’m kind of amazed that throughout the years when I go back home I see him running around the neighborhood, or if I talk to him, he tells me he still exercises. I think that is the ultimate goal, to be consistent with whatever mode of exercise you choose. And to do something for life, there has to be some sort of drive or yearning for it. For me skateboarding is that. During the times of my life that I have not skated I thought about it quite a bit. I’m always curious about wanting to watch new videos I haven’t seen. I think if I simply ‘worked out’ I would not stick with it, and there needs to be some purpose, goals, or aspirations with exercise.

Also, living in New York, there are so many options of where to skate, just with the park system alone. And there are a bunch of adults getting back into it just like me, and I can witness some super good skating, basically the people that never stopped. I think New York City is great, but hard to meet people or a network outside of work and bars, but every time I go to skate parks I have conversations and a great time.  This is what I want on my off days for years to come.

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