I missed skateboarding when it first came out as an activity for kids because I was living in a tiny Japanese village. However, everyone had a bicycle. Even in towns and even larger cities, swarms of bicycles.
When I returned to the states, we didn’t stay in my birth state of California, we went all the way across the country to the Bayou State of Louisiana. I lived in base housing on Shaw Air Force base and really kicked my girl-chasing game into high gear.
But not with skateboards.
The California kids were wearing “Hang Ten” shirts and Mexican sandals while getting into hardcore skateboarding, while no one else seemed to take it as seriously.
Tony Hawk wasn’t even born yet.
So, in my zeal to circumvent the mandatory eighteen-month training program that was in place before you could become a General Manager of a Cracker Barrel Restaurant and Country Store, I accepted the assignment to go to the tiny town of Athens, Alabama.
The big news was that a Walmart might actually come to a nearby town.
Woo fucking hoo.
One of the Assistant Managers who was working at the unit I was assigned to, was this young dude who was a real skateboarding nut. It was all he talked about. He was consumed with it. He could recount every trick he had ever done OR attempted and would waste no time in recounting, in the most minute detail, his unbelievable heroics.
Yeah, like that.
He was not a California kid.
The home of skateboarding?
We got off work one Friday night and we were drinking a couple beers and hitting golf balls at the local driving range, which was really nothing more than a rusty red garbage bin full of golf balls. Blue and yellow plastic buckets were scattered everywhere. There were white-painted 2×4’s spaced along the field and you could make out the yardage markers in the light from the stars, so the locals would come out whenever the place was closed, hit as many balls as they wanted, and then leave money in an old coffee can that Sammy would count when he got to work in the morning.
It was the honor system.
A big part of me hopes that Sammy is still collecting honors money from the locals.
So my boy takes me to his house and he has an entire wall in his house dedicated to every skateboard color, shape, and size.
He said he would teach me a few tricks and he promised to get some air under me and get me vert in no time.
I just wanted him to show me how not to fall off of it.
I ended up wrenching my knee, putting several visible scars on my arms and legs, breaking my wrist, scraping the living shit out of every possible patch of exposed skin on my body, and I never ended up pursuing it at all.
But none of that mattered.
I got vert. Stay well.