Ride the Ides

Yes, I went skateboarding today, and now my back is a little sore. But wrist guards and my new *phat* Mark Gonzalez special deck kept me from doing too much damage. The Gonz is modeled after an oldschool deck design: wider than your average modern deck, and with a tapered tail and pointed spoon nose. It’s got a good heft, and for a tall rider it doesn’t flip out from under one’s feet too easliy. It’s odd how much difference an inch or so of extra deck space can make–I think I’ve found the perfect plank after all these years of riding!

After an hour or so of shredding, a couple of the local Beaz crew made a noisy appearance, riding into the downtown skatepark on their customized “low rider” white-wall tire wheeling, banana-seat slinging, souped-up bikes, which had just recently received the added customization of…motors! These things can go up to thirty klicks, and don’t require a license to operate just so long as there is also the option of using pedal power. But why peddle when you’ve got petro-burnin’ metal?

The winter has been hard on my system. I had to take numerous breaks from skating today just to catch my breath. My asthma is worse than ever…a combination of not swimming, too much sedentary reflection, excessive caffeine, and the everyday Hamilton smog cover. My little excursion today just might have saved me from serious pulmonary trauma. I continually tell myself that it’s time to turn in the ‘ol wheelieboard and consent to becoming dignified and portly. But then the sun comes out, the pavement appears from under its blanket of winter sludge, and I just can’t help busting a move or two.

The new game at the park is called (if I remember) “1 up” and is a variation of the older game SKATE. A rider does a trick, and then the other riders must follow suit, landing the same trick or they get a letter “S”. But once all the other riders have landed the trick, then the first rider must land the original trick and an additional trick, with the other riders following at the risk of getting another letter (“K”, “A”,”T” etc). The game proceeds in this manner with the original rider attempting to land the increasingly long string of tricks and the other players copying him or her, until the original rider fails to land a trick. Then the next rider has to land all of the original rider’s tricks, plus a new one of his or her own, with the other riders following suit until the new leader fails, and so on until everyone but one rider has spelled out “SKATE”. I would say this is a fun game, and an improvement on the original move-for-move version of SKATE. Players get to build on each other’s runs, and practice a line of tricks over and over until they get it. Kind of like the way a video game gets increasingly complicated and challenging the longer you play them.

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