One of the top stories of the winter Olympics was the retirement of Shaun White, the “Flying Tomato.” Shaun White is a world class skateboarder and snowboarder, having won pretty much any medal there is over the last couple decades. He ended up fourth in this, his last snowboarding Olympics. I cannot snowboard, and never could. It’s not for lack of trying…actually it is. I never tried. I admit it. I tried skiing with less than stellar results. After that debacle I figured that me snowboarding would produce less than less than stellar results.
In the 90s, snowboarding was not a sport in the Olympics. It became a demonstration sport, then official. Like many other kids, our son wanted to try snowboarding. My husband and two sons went to the local ski hill and rented snowboards. According to my husband, he and the snowboard-interested son had less than stellar results. Of course the oldest child (come on, there’s always one) who didn’t particularly care about snowboarding, hopped on and zoomed away. This was the last time my husband went…and the snowboarding son decided to concentrate on skateboarding.
When I was young, there were skateboards around. It was a “boy thing” like so many physical activities back then. I did have metal roller skates that clipped onto my shoes. I used to skate around on the driveway and street. I had the “arms out and bent” strategy to deal with the bumps and potholes in the street.
I kind of enjoyed roller skating which was why at the age of 30+ I thought it would be a great idea to take my kids skating at Laura’s Roller Emporium. Laura’s was a roller rink in a squatty little building, with colored lights and loud music and designated skates like “couple skate.”
The elementary school would raise money by hosting skating parties for their school. The boys went to a few, so I thought I’d take our much younger daughter with us. If you have ever tried to skate with a child hanging on to you with their legs flailing like Fred Flinstone trying to start a car, and were able to remain upright, you are a better person than I. I realized this pretty quickly and left the boys to their own devices. The much younger daughter skated around on the carpet. I sat down and watched them while eating M&Ms from the vending machine. I don’t remember any serious injuries. They played a game called the “magic circle” which involved skating to one of five or six circles and sitting down. Right, sitting down on the floor and getting up again on skates? I could barely do the “turn yourself around” part of the hokey pokey. The grand prize for being in the randomly selected circle was a gift pass to come back to Laura’s again. I spent many Hale Road Elementary Skating Parties sitting, eating junk food, and mentally grooving to “Turn the Beat Around” and other gems. But I digress….
I don’t know where it started, but the skateboard inspired son had the brilliant idea of building a skateboard ramp in the driveway. My husband, a “never say die” kind of man, agreed that this would be a great idea. He helped the son build a ramp that took up a large part of the driveway. The oldest son probably helped too, as that is what we oldest kids do. I was not paying much attention to the project but seemingly overnight we had a skateboard ramp and metal rail in front of our house and garage.
I guess one is the loneliest number, so another one was created…
The son had friends. The friends came over and skated. Frequently. They were good kids, or at least I thought they were. Do parents really know? They took pictures of each other conquering the ramp and rail. We had absolute saints as neighbors. At one point our neighbor came over and very apologetically asked if they could stop skateboarding at 9:30 or 10pm. She was a bus driver and had to get up early. I cringed, realizing that what had become “white noise” to me was quite possibly an inconvenience to others. They did tone it down, and except for one time when they had a backyard rock concert it was quieter at night.
Anyway, seeing Shaun White retire gave me pause. Our son does not snowboard or skateboard anymore (to my knowledge!). I miss the days when something was always happening at our house. The skateboard ramp is long gone and we are quiet neighbors now, boring some might say.
Shaun White expressed admiration for the younger snowboarders and said that what was great back then was nothing compared to what they are doing now. During the last snow, the two grandsons were taking turns snowboarding down a very small hill, and then the slide (I know, thank goodness mommy didn’t see).
I wonder if one of them will be the next big thing? It makes me want to belt out “The Circle of Life.” I’m sure their parents would just LOVE a ramp in the driveway! I’ll have to broach the idea…
This is what Chester has been doing.
He has been lazy with a capital L. He goes out, stands on the deck, then comes in again unless he sees a squirrel. The youngest grandson bought him a “bunny” at Petsmart and chewing it up was the most energy he has expended in a few days. I think he has a case of the winter blues.
It could be worse though, several years ago we visited our kids in NYC in February. We decided it would be FUN to go to Coney Island. The wind was whipping up and it was NOTFUN. It was kind of cool though (literally) and we did eat hotdogs. I think you can feel it in this picture.
It’s almost March and spring is coming so hang in there and have a good week!