Dave's Not Here

Becoming a Skate Punk

by on Apr.01, 2010, under Dave's Rants

Call it a mid life crisis.  Call it stupid.  But, whatever it is, I think I’m becoming a skate punk.

I have never been a skateboarder.  I have touched them before, though.  When I was in high school, my sophomore year, two friends of mine were skate punks, and they used to hang out in my dorm room with their skateboards.  It was about a 10×10 room, so, all I really learned to do was to balance standing still, and do . .urm . . not sure what they were called, but, 180 and 360 degree spins on the back wheels.  That was it.  I did try an outdoor downhill once — got going way to fast.  When I jumped off, I was going faster than I could sprint, and I pulled a hamstring pretty good, and somehow didn’t fall . . . Oh well, the joys of high school.

Snowboarding, however, has been trying to bring out my inner skate punk for a long time.  Since the first day I strapped one on, my eyes have always been looking outside of the groomed trail, more than anything.  Which, I should add, is COMPLETELY different to how I viewed the trails on skis — where I only cared about doing the run faster, but staying ON the run.  My last few snowboarding trips, I have spent a lot of time in the terrain parks.  Granted, I did very few of the obstacles, but I loved trying them.  And, I’ve started hitting the little jumps on the sides of the trails too . . . slowly, but I’ve been hitting them.

As some of you know, I bought a Ripstik G with the last of my birthday money.  A previous time when I tried to lose weight, and started getting near 220lbs, one of my goals was to get under the Ripstik’s weight limit, and buy myself one as a reward for hitting 220.  That particular diet, I barely made it to 220, then gave up, so I never bought one.  It had totally left my mind, when I was in Target, and saw it again.  I’m well under 220 now (185-ish), and what caught my eye was the first bullet:  “Carve like on a snowboard”.  I almost bought one that minute.  But, I decided against it.  Later that day, when I was in Wal Mart with the kids, I saw another one, this one the “G” with the grinding rail, and I bought it.  (I’ve later discovered that a Freebord would be a much closer alternative to a snowboard, but, that’s a toy for another day).  I was surprised at how hard it was to simply get up on the Ripstik.  Since it only has two wheels, you actually have to be moving to balance.  So, there is no “Taking it slow”.  I took the kids to Big Creek park, and we played on the concrete, and had a blast.  It is much easier than I remember skating on a skate board being.  I simply don’t get the kicking with one foot thing.

So, I remembered that the City of Roswell has a skate park, and I took Quinn to check it out.  It was closed, but all of the ramps looked very doable.  We were definitely going to have to check it out!  We made a family date to hit it the following weekend, on a Wednesday.  I called, and they were closed on Wednesday.  And, helmets are required, and I don’t have a skateboard helmet, just a snowboard one . .though, I guess I could pull out the earmuffs . . . So, we decided to try out Progressive Skate Park in Canton instead.  They had rentals, and I wanted Quinn to try a real skateboard.  (He has a spiderman one).  Quinn and Amy brought their razors.  Quinn brought his crappy skateboard.  I brought my Ripstik and inline skates.  I used to be REALLY good at inline skating . . but that’s a story for another day.

Progressive only allows (as we found out), skateboards and inline skates in their inside park. But, they allow anything in the outside park. And, they had a deal on Wednesday evenings. Free lessons for beginners. So, we rented two skateboards (for Quinn and Amy), two helmets (for me and Quinn), and signed up for the lessons at 7:00. It was about 6:15, so we decided to hit the outside park with the “illegal” toys. Amy was great on her razor. The girl has no fear. She didn’t even notice her bloody elbow till we were walking inside. (I had noticed it, but decided not to say anything since it wasn’t bothering her). Quinn finally came out of his shell, and started having a lot of fun too. I was a bit scared, but, did some ramps with the Ripstik. It was VERY controllable. Not at all how I remember feeling on a skateboard — I can really do a tight turn.

Then, we went inside for the kids lesson. I put on my skates, with all intentions of owning the park. I used to be REALLY good. I think the key word there is “used”. I feel like a truck hit me. Fell several times. But, still had a blast. As an absolute contrast to the razors, Quinn had almost no fear on the skateboard. And, it was Amy’s turn to be timid. We REALLY had fun. And, I kept eyeballing the skateboards.

So, now, I’m asking myself — Is it too late to become a skate punk? Wonder what kind of skateboard a beginner 41 year old man should get?

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