Forty year-olds with a history of head injuries probably shouldn’t be skateboarding.
I realize that. But when I turned forty, I wanted to make some changes. Care less about what people think. Do more of what I enjoy.
I quit skateboarding at the end of the 80’s. At my high school, it wasn’t cool. And, you may remember, 16 year-olds are influenced by things like that. Even though I had a good skateboard, few injuries, a nice mini-half (four-foot high, ten feet wide, slow transitions), and I still loved skating, I quit.
Twenty four or so years later, I’m buying a new board. I don’t know anything about Real, or Toy Machine, or any of the “new” brands, so I go with what I know. A Powell Peralta Caballero re-issue, 10 inches wide, with Indy trucks and Slimeball wheels. To me, it looks like a regular skateboard; the kids at the skate parks wonder if you can do tricks on such a thing. I don’t tell them that all of their tricks were invented on such a thing.
Skateboarding is a bit like riding a bike. It’s not long before I look like I know what I’m doing. Not that I can do all the tricks I could when I was 15; I’m heavier and less flexible. But I can find my way around the transitions, and have even pulled off a few maneuvers that I never did in my younger years.
Lots of things have changed since I skated two decades ago. With skateboarding, that is. I think I’ll write a book about it. But two of those have to do with where I’m trying to go. First, when I was a kid, there were two or three skate parks I knew of in my state. Today, there’s almost one in every town. Second, the parks required pads, and we all at least wore knee pads anyway. Today, no pads required, and no pads seen.
Since I learned how to slide out of falls on my knees as a kid, I’ve already bought the knee pads. And I’ve been meaning to buy a helmet, but haven’t gotten there yet. Plus, I already stand out with my crazy board and knee pads, and I don’t want any more attention.
Yesterday, my son and I were at the all concrete skate park. I was skating in the deep end of the bowl, which is somewhere around 6 feet high. I went up to the lip to do a trick I had just done a few minutes earlier, and ended by slamming my head at the bottom of the bowl.
When I hit, it sounded like a gun went off. I stayed conscious, but was dazed and didn’t want to do anything but go to sleep. I knew that my son was there, and that someone had my head in their lap. When I could finally get up, the same someone, a guy around my age with a scraggly beard and lots of tattoos, helped me out of the bowl and sat with us for a while.
I wondered later if Jesus had been with me, or an angel, but my little boy said that it was just a guy with tattoos. I recently read, though, that Jesus can come to us through anyone. I think he sent that scraggly dude to show me love and lend me a hand.
I guess that’s all I have to say now except that I have a headache, I’m going to get a helmet soon, and I hope I have more to write about in the future.