Monday, August 6


During one summer in the nineties, I shared a duplex with a group of friends. We all had regular retailish jobs, most of us on break from school and we all loved to party (hard). Weekends started on Thursday and ended on Tuesday. It was a fun time to be twenty-one.

All the guys who lived there (we had rented out both sides of the house) were involved in skateboarding to one degree to another. One of my closet buddies was an engineering student who was working in a lumber yard. He was always happy to help build half-pipes with the younger kids that dropped by the local skate shop. Nothing makes a half-pipe more dangerous than bad math and crappy materials.

By association, most of the girls who lived in the house knew endless facts about the sport.

We watched all the same pro videos, knew the terms, the pro names, and much of the surrounding culture. Each of us were adamant that none of us were a typical (and in our opinion lame) betty.

We spent more than a far share of time trying to perfect dropping-in, hurting ourselves trying tricks, and scouting out cool (and usually forbidden) trick locations for the more hard-core skaters.

Personally I sucked and was very far from cool by any stretch of the imagination but that didn't matter, I wasn't scared and that earned me a little bit of respect. Honestly, the only reason I tried 99% of this stuff was just to find out what was the allure. Some of my friends lived and dreamed by the board. Some were strict vegans, only drank on occasion, worked long hours for that great trick, planned heavily for that "out of bounds" location, and lived by a very disciplined code.

Of course it's been years since I have even seen a board up close. Are decks still wide? Vans still acceptable? Regardless, it fascinates me and I still stop to watch whenever I flip past something on the sport.

Watching, it's like a small travel back in time, to that absolutely complicated and f'd up time that now appears so simple.

I know the sport has evolved and is now more acceptable and widespread. As with anything, it's pushing the limits with these extreme demos and competitions. So when SB showed me this clip the other day, I had one of the fast little flashbacks - but this one was cut short by a "OMG THAT HAD TO HURT" moment.

It is freakishly amazing watching the slow-mo's in this clip and what happened to his shoes.

Anyhow, back when I lived with that group the times were amazingly fun, tough, and extreme in many different ways.

If the stories were uniquely mine, I'd be more apt to share, but so many folks were involved that I would have to choose what to tell very carefully. I have to respect those who cannot grant me permission.

Those times ended stained and bad a few years later, some my fault, some other peoples contributions but it doesn't matter now. We all busted apart around the seams and very few still remain friends.

I remember mostly good times and forget most of the hard times. And another thing for certain is that I am always grateful that I've lived a very full and colourful life.


metro mama said...

Wow, crazy.

I'd love to hear some of your stories at the park one day...

Kyla said...

I had a bit of a skater fascination in my past as well...mostly the (skater) boys...but a touch of the actual boarding, too. ;)

Now, the closest I get is watching the X-Games on occasion and playing a little Tony Hawk. *lol*

I'd love to hear the tales, too. But you are right not to share stories that aren't yours alone. Good call. :)

mothergoosemouse said...

Holy crap. HOLY CRAP.

I'm actually surprised I never saw any wipeouts like that back in the day. Bad math, shoddy materials, too much booze and too many bongs.

crazymumma said...

mmmm. 21.

shaking head clearing cobwebs.

ahem anyway. Go to Dufferin Grove Park. There is a skateboard ramp set up in the skating arena.

Jenifer said...

My husband made me watch this like 10 times when it happened. I have to say as a now 911 dispatcher and a former thing that disturbed me was the fact that they let him walk off the (stage? course? whatever you call it). Neck and back injuries are not always immediately apparent and after a fall from that height it bothered me that they didn't take all precautions and send him to the hospital on a backboard...

Just my opinion though...

motherbumper said...

You know what Jenifer? I agree - I said the same thing when I saw him get up and walk away - no neck brace, nada. I worked in a physical rehab and know that a broken neck can shift at anytime AFTER the accident.

But then again - this is just proof of the punishment and bravado that many of these extreme sport athletes carry.

Chag said...

Vans cannot still be cool. I wear a pair.

I was a skaterat when I was < 16. But we never did tricks; just used it as transportation. But then I broke my arm & soon after got my driver's license, so the board was shoved in the closet.

And I've watched that video so many times.

kittenpie said...

I've totally been fascinated by skaters forever. I've always been too cautious (partly because my total lack of depth perception made me a klutz) to hurl myself at concrete like that, but always wished I had the nerve.

bitemycookie said...

mmmmm. the skater days. i ratcheted it up one notch. snowboarders in vail. same scenario, just in the snow. i think they're all about 35-40 now, either in rehab or still sitting on top of the hill with a fistful of psychedelics and a death wish.

good times.

thanks for sharing yours.

my husband made me watch it 68 times, too. every time he'd be just about to fall, he'd go --look, look.

petite gourmand said...

that's gotta hurt...ouch.

I have to confess to a being a Tony Hawk fan and loved the movie Dog Town & Z boys,
that stuff is amazing.
though now that I'm a mom I can't help but to think- why aren't they wearing helmets and wrist guards?...

something blue said...

I loved 21 but I can't say that I ever felt that I had no fear. Yet again, I'm in awe of you.

I've got a limited edition Foo Fighters board.

Lisa b said...

Ilford eh?

mamatulip said...

We have so much in common. Seriously.

I saw that clip a few days ago and I was just like...DAMN. I used to date guys that fell like that.