For those of you who don’t know me well, or for those of you who have forgotten, board sports have been a HUGE part of my life for many years. Unfortunately now, I don’t get to participate as much as I would like. It’s the hard part of getting older. You amass more responsibilities, and while you learn to juggle them with what you love (be that skateboarding or something else), it’s never quite the same as it was when you were younger. There are more demands on your time. That said, the old man’s (or woman’s) passion doesn’t necessarily die. It can, but in most instances, it doesn’t. It remains, bubbling underneath the surface, doing its best to burst out. And when it does, I wonder if just maybe we dinosaurs don’t appreciate it exponentially more than we did when we were kids.
I wrote and posted the following several years ago but revisited it recently. With just a tiny bit of editing, I bring it to you again, so you may know us better.
When they ask you about skateboarding, when they ask you about surfing, tell the truth. Tell them you choose life over comfort. Tell them of the electricity that surges through your blood when you drop into a ramp or a wave, when suddenly gravity takes you, when suddenly the wave lifts you. Tell them you choose fringe over norm. Tell them of those that live this life with you, the ones that make you laugh, the ones that inspire you, the ones that saved you, draped in clothes from Goodwill, crusted with sea salt and sweat, exhausted from an honest day’s work, offering conversation about nothing and everything. When they ask you why, in your late twenties, thirties, forties, or fifties, you grab a board and dash out into the open air like a child, tell them the truth. Tell them you stopped trying NOT to be a kid a long time ago. Tell them you chose to stop fighting and to be happy, and this is what makes you happy. Go ahead and tell them you don’t want to be sponsored or go pro. Be honest. Tell them it’s sacrilege. When they ask you why it means so much to you, tell them. Tell them it connects you to the land, to the water, to the air, to that so called concrete jungle. Tell them it’s about the soul. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s where you found peace, where you found God after you lost Him so many years ago. Tell them that moving in time with the elements nurtures the soul. When they ask you how you can break your bones and rip tendons and still come back, tell them the truth. Tell them your skateboard never tossed you aside after four months. Tell them you’d rather be in control and broken than out of control and maimed by fists. Tell them the sky is bluer, the sun is brighter, and the ocean sweeter when the shore is rushing toward you as the wave pushes you to it. Tell them that only kooks fear sharks when they’re in the water. Tell them that nothing but time exists on the coping, that nothing exists in a frontside air but now. Tell them that when wheels roll the pavement and wood and concrete, when glass cuts through the foam and the salt spray wraps you, there is nothing but honesty. In that moment, only truth remains. Tell them that landscape and seascape extend substance to whomever will receive it, which is more than is offered by the corporate world, by the oil companies, by politicians, grasping and scrambling for one more dollar, one more vote, one more ounce of power. Takers. When they ask you why, tell the truth. Tell them you chose what’s real. They will shake their heads. They will think you’re crazy. But you will be truth. You will be solid as asphalt and enduring as the ocean. You will exist when they dissolve. You will be where they melt. You will be surfing. You will be skateboarding. Tell them that’s all.