Why this Blog?

Over the past year or so I've been skating, I've met several older guys that I think would really like to skate. But they don't. My hope is that, by demonstrating that this balance-challenged 46 year old guy can start so late and develop enough skill to really enjoy himself, some of these guys will give it a try.

Friday, August 8, 2008

versatile miniramp

I just spent the best half-hour on my backyard miniramp. I was shredding! A lot of the sequences were brand new, and I may never repeat them again, but tonight I had this rhythm... but I wasn't skating.

I play guitar, sort of. I've played on and off since I was a kid. I don't know a lot of songs, I just improvise. I've played long enough that it sounds like music.

I sat on the deck and played my guitar. I sometimes looked up at the coping on the other side and thought about how I couldn't do anything right on it yesterday. I thought about, visualized landing (simple) tricks on the coping. But mostly I just picked and strummed...

It wouldn't have been nearly as enjoyable anywhere else in my backyard.

Friday, February 22, 2008

precocious kids

I almost always skate with my 7 year old son Milan (long i). We started skating at the same time and place, only separated by 39 years:)

My wife started us on this journey by suggesting that we all get skateboards back in 2005. We picked up a full size board and a mini for Milan, then 4 years old - we also had a hand-me-down from a friend. My son and I hadn't skated before, but my wife had done some basic sidewalk cruising around. We all skated around the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque maybe a half-dozen times, cruising down the mellow hills, having a blast, till my son lost interest, and that was that. Until last spring.

In 2005 we were contemplating a move to Houston, and (before my son lost interest) I checked out skateparks in Houston. I recall showing my wife Houston's Southside Skatepark website. We ended up in Houston in July of 2005.

Summer 2005 rolls into summer 2006 into winter 2006-07. Milan, now 6 years old, decides he wants to skateboard again. We start rolling around in the driveway, and then finally take him to Southside Skatepark in the early spring. This was our first visit to any skatepark with the intention of skating. I had taken Milan a couple of times to a skatepark in Albuquerque to watch the locals. But this was different, this was stuff we, I mean he could skate. There were big ramps and halfpipes and a bowl I wasn't really sure how you were supposed to get out of. Just seeing the pure joy in his face at the prospect of being a participant in all of this, of being a skater, we of course signed him up for lessons and got him a new board.

Not sure if anyone except my wife saw the pure joy in my face at the prospect of being a participant in all of this...

That was the day my son surpassed me as a skater. And that's kind of cool.

What gives me the most hope for myself as a skater is watching old videos of Milan. Wow, I'm as good as my son was 6 months ago! That means in a year I'll be as good as he is now! That'll be awesome:)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Drop In Challenge

Those of you who read my last post on slamming will no doubt laugh at this idea, but it's been a couple of days and the pain is subsiding. Slams never seem to really make it into my long term memory in any detail. I might not skate if they did. Not to deter anyone else from learning to skate, I'm just not sure I have any innate talent.

So, in spite of this, I am challenging myself to drop in on vert in 2008. At least 2 ft of vert on top of at least 6 ft of transition. I can almost always successfully drop in the 6' wood bowl at my local park, so this would be at least a small step up. I strongly prefer a wood ramp - concrete scares the hell out of me.

A couple of things have recently inspired me to push myself a little harder. First, my son. He is getting so good so fast. I think he does have natural talent, but I definitely know he is tenacious. He will repeat a trick as many times as it takes until he gets it down.

Second is running across other late-starters like myself, but a little more advanced. OldLadySk8r, on the Old Man Army forums and MySpace http://www.myspace.com/pattihurst is one such person. She is 41 years old, an attorney in DC, and a pretty fearless skater judging by her videos and pics. She has apparently been skating just a little longer than me, and has recently dropped in on vert. Her repertoire of miniramp tricks is pretty impressive too.

And finally, I ran across a video of the 2007 Tony Hawk Drop In Challenge on Shred or Die:
These guys have guts. Tony, if you have an open spot in the 2008 challenge, I'm there. I think. Maybe. 13 feet ?

Time to get new kneepads - yeah that's all I need ... better pads:)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Two steps forward, one visit to the dentist

A few months back when I was learning to drop in, I completely expected to be tossed on my butt with every attempt. After watching my son and other kids learn to drop in in the time it took me to shake off my latest slam and crawl out of the miniramp, I realized that, when compared to these kids at least, I wasn't really all that coordinated. That was OK. In a strange way it was still enjoyable, because I knew if I kept at it I would get past my lack of coordination and master the 'drop in'.

I finally did learn how to drop in, and never really slammed anymore. I progressed quickly from the 3' miniramp to the 4', and then to the 6' bowl. All was well. I took it for granted that all I had to think about was what to do when I got to the other side.

Until tonight.

For the past month or so I've been trying to learn how to pump in the corners of the bowl, and have made some progress, but not quite there yet. Tonight I dropped into the bowl for the maybe 7th or 8th time, and my front foot seemed a little out of place. So I tried to adjust it *before* my front wheels were down. This was not very bright, and of course the board turned. When the front wheels did make contact, they were not lined up with my direction of motion, which was straight down. Exactly what happened next I'm not sure. What I do know is that a split second later I landed on top of my board at the bottom. I somehow hit the tail of the board with the bulk of my weight and with my right hand on the nose. My weight on the tail shot the nose up, with my hand, into my chin and lower lip. My fall caused me to punch myself in the mouth hard enough that I checked my teeth afterwards. A little blood but teeth all still there...

I really wish I had it on video. I'm certain it would be pretty funny.