Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Skater Boys

When the boys asked to add the skate park again to our summer bucket list, it was mostly because they had so much fun last summer riding down the ramps on their bottoms. This year they are a bit more intense about skateboarding. All of my boys have their own skateboards, around seven years old they have all asked for one as a birthday or Christmas present. While they have had the boards and protective gear that goes with them for years. Usually the skateboards stay buried in the shed except for a day here or there then they dig them out to make sure they still know how to do their one or two "tricks" and toss them back in the shed.

This spring we had a new neighbor move in next door who saw the boys on one of rare days the skateboards were out. He showed them some of the tricks he use to do when he rode his skateboard years before. Since that day there has been an epidemic of skateboards in our neighborhood. Every kid near our little corner of the community has their own board or Ripstix. Which is so fantastic!! All these kids leaving their favorite t.v. shows to come outside and try to learn a sport!

I'm one of those parents that tends to get overly involved in whatever it is their kids are into. So that has meant learning what the tricks were called, what the trick is suppose to look like, and watching many Youtube videos. This also meant trips to the skate park. It's much more fun knowing how to do a trick, no matter how simple it may be (or look to be), when you get tp show off to people who also know the trick. A visit to the skate park holds a different meaning to the boys this year than last year. Last year it was about being silly and having fun. This year, it's more serious business. This year there are things to show off that we have learned for our neighbor, and new challenges they are more willing to try. Joey is more comfortable on this Ripstix than a skateboard, so that is what he brings. It makes me kind of giggle that skaters that do daring tricks and jumps are leery about just riding on Joey's Ripstix.

The boys are still looked at as "little kids" at the park by the older more experienced skaters. We are still working on learning the proper skate park etiquette. A couple of times one or more of my boys had almost been run over by other skaters or bikers. However, many of the older skaters have been very considerate and have offer some tips to the boys. There are some that who would rather not have to share the area with "little kids", and then there is also the issue of convincing the older kids to watch their language while we are there (sometimes they do, some times we have to distance ourselves from them, and there has even been times that we had just left).

We have visited the skate parks four times so far this summer. We have been to three different parks, which all offer different equipment and their own "flaws". The first one we went to is close to home (about 5-10 drive) and we are familiar with it. The downside is that the ramps are metal and have a bit of a bump at the bottom and the whole things sets on cement. The second one is about 10- 15 minutes from home, but is an enclosed park with a playground and basketball nets near by. It sits on asphalt so its smooth riding. The second park doesn't have as much "equipment" as some other parks do. The third park is about a half hour away. It is all slick and waxed, just the way the more experienced skaters prefer it to be. The main problem with the third park is that majority of it is way to advanced for my boys skills.

The 1st park
The 3rd park

The 2nd park

When we visited the third park we quickly realized that it was more than the boys could handle. We met some of neighbors there, as they knew the park well. Our friend suggested we head over to a hill that leads to a small lake/pond. That the boys could skate down the hill. The only part the boys heard about the hill was they could skate down it, then they quit listening. The part they tuned out was there is a sharp turn half way down and to proceed with caution because they would pick up speed on their way down. They all headed towards the hill, Joey was the only one who put on a helmet, because it made him look cool. I hung back for a minute to talk with a friend who opted out of the hike back up the hill. Just as I was heading towards the hill I thought I heard one of my kids cry out, then dismissed it when it was followed by other cries of "Woo-Hoo!". Then I heard it, the screaming cry that meant I need my mom! I took off like only a panicked mom can (they were right you really pick up speed racing down the hill)! Jordan yelled at me on my way to Joey  "You can see bone!", my heart sank. There lay Joey on the ground just before a 90* right turn and there was blood. Between the neighbor and I we manage to carry Joey back up the steep hill where we could better assess his injuries. Thankfully there were no broken bones, but he was really banged up. He had some gruesome scratches on both elbows, his right shoulder, right hip, and his left knee. The bone Jordan thought he saw was just where Joey's knee looked like hamburger. Later we learned that Joey was lucky he wore the helmet, because he cracked a piece just about the ear on the helmet almost all the way through.

As Joey was flying down the hill he was screaming from excitement then he say the sharp turn. He knew he wouldn't be able to take the turn on the Ripstix as you can't turn it he same as you could a skateboard, so he jumped into the grass just before reaching the turn. He was afraid that it he tried to make the turn and didn't, he would crash into the tree that was in the corner of the 90*.

Although his crash was scary for both him and I, I was better once I knew he wasn't permanently damaged. After getting him cleaned up, Joey was bragging about his wipe-out to everyone we saw as he joined use as we walked down the hill to the water. I was very proud of Joey, the next day (before he could even scab over) he was back on his Ripstix.

Skateboards and the Ripstix come out everyday for at least a half hour. While writing this the boys are outside with our neighbor practicing their skills. Jordan just rushed in to have me watch him do an Ollie while the board is moving (and thanks to all the Youtube videos I know what an Ollie is).