I’m glad I skate, a personal history

Summer is firmly here as in two weeks August will arrive. Although I have not skateboarded as much I wanted to this summer I’ve been able to do it fairly regularly. Today in the heat I skated for an hour resulting in a soaked shirt and jeans. That is not a long session, but it was enough to have fun. This evening I watched the Street League Finals on ESPN 2 and even though I did not agree with the format style of the competition I was impressed to see the major effort to televise skate contests. So this blog entry is going to be a rambling personal history on skating which has been part of me since I was 11 or so.

Mid summer rings bells in my mind because that was I started back skating two years ago. In 2007 I started back with real intent, but in May of 2008 I had my ACL injury. During my physical rehab for my knee they suggested that I pick up another hobby, and even to abstain from running. I did have a real injury and it did take time to heal. I missed skating too much and after a year and a few months of being sidelined in July 2009 I was ready to start back up. My progress has been slow, but I think it has been a good decision to skate. From April 2009 to November 2010 I did not drink any alcohol at all.  Skating gave me something outside of work to focus on, and try to progress at. When I think of that time period I did progress as a person too. My finances were under control, I was more focused at work, and I did not question myself as much as when I drink. Now in July of 2011 I made the decision to stop drinking again. This will be a change because in the past few months I’ve been more social, and gained a false happiness from drinking.  Now that I made this decision I’m glad I have something like skating in my life, and I think I’ll focus more on it to make it the thing I do outside of work.

Skating regularly for the past two years has been an improvement from the sedentary lifestyle I so easily fall into. Now I’ll go into a brief history of me and skateboarding. If I already wrote parts of this before so be it, sometimes repeating the same thing over and over can lead to the best version of it.  When I lived in Albuquerque NM I did not skate, but remember a friend’s older brother having a banana board. I think one day I stared at it for awhile but did not ask to try it out. I think in the third grade which was my last grade in New Mexico on the bus after school, I saw two Hispanic or Indian skaters a few year’s older than me. I remember pointing them out to my friend on the bus who said that they were bad kids that carried knives and smoked cigarettes and marijuana. So even before I skated it intrigued me. I don’t know why.

In Baltimore County my mom bought me a skateboard from a retail place similar to Wall Mart. I rid it by myself until I saw the neighborhood kids. They made fun of my board but I was fascinated with the ones they had. Soon at one of their houses they popped in Public Domain by Powell & Peralta.  I was amazed at what the skaters did in this video, I never saw anything like it. Recently one of my friends had a DVD of this classic skate video, and it came out in 1988. I thought I started in 1987 but I was wrong. I think shortly after seeing that video I did yard work and choirs so I could get a good skateboard.  By the time Hokus Pokus by H-Street came out in 1989 I was a skater and cared about little else. I skated all the time until 1994, and I think between 1992 and 1994 I was good. I quit because of mental health reasons and since then my skating has been off and on.

During later college with the Rossford Ramp being built I skated again from 1996-2000, and then from 2002 to 2003, then from 2007 to 2008 and then finally from 2009 to present. I do have to say that the times when I’m not skateboarding I think of it quite a bit, and I am less happy without it. However I’m glad I have focus on other things like scholastics, writing, and my career. The other things in my life took time to develop too.

For two hours today I watched the finals to Street League. This is a competition that asks their competitors to sign exclusively for them. I heard of this and was opposed to it at first. But they are meeting in different cities 5 or 6 times this summer and might be the first attempt to make a league comparable to the leagues mainstream sports have. I think with skating they have not perfected the format and the rules of the contests. This competition, at least the finals I saw, was a best trick kind of thing. One skater would go, and then to me too much time would pass and the next skater would go.  I did not like that format and prefer the jam heats that the Maloof contests use, but the tricks they are doing are unreal. The 16 year old phenom Nyjah Huston won the competition again, so far this summer he is 3 for 3 in Street League, and I think he’ll dominate skating for the next decade. I’m glad to see that the networks are covering comps like this, and eventually they’ll come up with a good formula for the viewers.

I will never skate at that level and I’m aware of that. I do want to get better, but the purpose of me skating is to have a positive outlet. The goal is to be physically active, have something to look forward to on my days off, and to stay out of trouble.

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