A History of Falling, not always gracefully

My mother has stated several times with pride that I lost all of my baby teeth in unnatural ways. In one instance in a perfectly logical attempt to propel myself into a flying superman from a rocking chair I knocked out a tooth. Running in the house I knocked another on a corner of a counter. Because of loosing my baby teeth like this and other instances in my early childhood I got the nickname ‘crash.’ So in this masterwork of a blog entry I’m going to detail all the ‘crashes’ of my life.

Monkey bars are dangerous and this one was my sister’s fault. I must have been 6 or 7, in an oblivious state of childhood abandon and happiness in our backyard in New Mexico. The ground in the backyard was sand, dirt, and rocks. Throughout my childhood my parents gave us the freedom to play outside until dinner. Next to our Albuquerque house was an empty lot that had all sorts of treasures like a cement wall and soft sand to jump on. In our backyard we had monkey bars to climb up and have fun.  With my childhood dimensions it was really tall, perhaps 6 to 8 feet. I’m not sure. But on that day my sister was at the top of it, and I climbed up. All the sudden I was falling, she pushed me. I don’t remember the aftermath of that except I remember clearly looking in the mirror and seeing that one side of my face was skinned off to make a huge scrape.

Also in Albuquerque, in fact in that same backyard, a younger friend of mine was learning to throw a baseball. At least he told us he never threw before. I believe he was suppose to throw to my dad but instead he hurled the ball to the side directly at me. I was only 5 feet away or so, and it whacked me right in the nose. Blood poured freely, and perhaps this is why I snore to this day. Lastly for the early childhood years a pain I still remember from the New Mexico was being severely sun burn while at a friend’s house. I think that is the only time I woke up crying in pain.

At age 8 we moved to the Baltimore Maryland area, and a few years later I got introduced to skateboarding.  This greatly expanded my chances to hurt myself. I look at my eldest sister who ran at college level by pure dedication and practice. I don’t think people in my family are natural or gifted athletes, but we’ll practice hard enough that we can be fairly good at something. There is a documentary on street and skate artists called ‘Beautiful Losers.’ I only watched half of it, but in that someone said that skateboarding is a harsh thing to learn, a skater does the same thing over and over to then perhaps learn it, falling while at it. The guys in the doc stated nothing comes easy and nothing is given with skating. Then they went into how that effected their art which lost me. But I think the initiation into skating is an experience, and probably the majority of people that try don’t get past the awkward stage. I started skating at 10 or 11 and I don’t think I got decent until I was 14. But I took a lot of good slams.

In Baltimore County in my neighborhood that had a rural feel to it being near a reservoir there was a large steep hill. It was fun to skate but the road was not smooth as in other parts of the neighborhood. Plenty of people fell on it, and it was something to bomb the hill from the top. Shortly after I started skating I would sit on the board and go down the hill. It’s a normal thing to do. However I friend of mine decided we should both sit on the same board. Maybe he was standing, I don’t remember. We were having fun, both of us were on one board. Soon we picked up speed, and I moved my hand which was gripping the board. My wheels and board rolled over two of my fingers. Of course I stopped, screamed, and cried. I looked at my fingers and both of the fingernails came clean off. I went to the hospital, got bandaged up, and was fine. Today those two fingernails grow a little lower than the ones on my other hand.

Maybe a year later, or even less time I was getting a few kicklips. I had my Jim Thiebaud SMA deck, which means it was 89 or 90. On a kickflip attempt the board flipped fine but my back foot slammed on the tail and the board propelled upwards at alarming speed. The result was a lot of blood and about 5 stitches in my eyebrow. The line is still there!

Those two falls in my learning years are my most dramatic skateboarding injuries. So to keep the blog short, and since it really is less exciting I’ll briefly tell the rest of my injuries in no more than one paragraph, which is this paragraph. In Toledo I had a few ankle sprains from 1992 to 1995 but nothing that dramatic. In 1998 or so I had to wear a velco cast when I went with my dad to a beach in San Diego. I was hobbling on that beautiful beach, the only time I’ve been to California as an adult.  In 2000 or thereabouts, at the Blissfield skate park in southernMichigan. I almost had a fantastic trick. There was a steep bank to bank hip. The hips were not at a large angle but I liked it that day, and I landed a few tricks. It was a hot summer day and I had my shirt off. From the marathon training I felt okay with skating without my shirt on, something I wouldn’t dare do now. Anyway on this hip I almost had bigspin heelflips. I rolled in a bank and had a lot of speed. After a few tries I knew I was coming close. On the last attempt I landed on the board but immediately jumped off in a type of dive right into the ashphalt pavement. My arm was scrapped and my chest was scrapped too. My dad recommended I go into the hospital and get a technis shot, which I did. Finally in 2008 I hurt my ACL in my knee. I was skating a pyramid at the L.E.S. park trying frontside shovits fast, on a bail I stepped on my board and did a severe split. That sucked, I did the physical therapy and did not skate for a year.

On the internet Girl skateboards has a website called ‘crailtrap’ where they ask pro skaters all sorts of silly questions. It is for entertainment for skateboard geeks. Anyway on one they asked Rudy Johnson ‘what are 5 things that make skateboarders different.’ Among his answers was that skateboarders fall, fall a lot, and fall hard. Someone who skates will fall more times in a week than a non skater will fall in his or her entire life. Falling can be good. I think it tells of character for some one to fall trying something and then not stop until they get it.

Lastly, I’m wondering if I should knock on wood with this entry and I hope it doesn’t bring me bad luck. I know people that won’t return to skating because of the injuries they had. People have gone through much worse, and except for the missing fingernails these are not that far out of the ordinary. Also I haven’t lost any of my adult teeth, so it’s not that bad. But for some reason I thought about injuries, and that is what a blogger does, thinks about something and then puts it in an entry.

My Uncle, Richard Allison, recently digitized my grandads photos which are really cool. The photo on this blog was taken by my grandad.

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