Session Report, 5/19/22
A friend, that I’ve been skating with since I was 16-years-old, is having a hip replacement next week. Tonight was our last session together for the foreseeable future. No one knows for sure when he will be rolling again. We went to a little DIY that he built. He is not skating too well at the moment (e.g. he really needs a new hip), so it was a pretty mellow night. I think we probably talked more than we skated, which is what I expected to happen. Normally, I hate sessions like that—when I am on my board, I want to skate, but I wanted to be supportive of him considering what is about to happen, so I didn’t mind it at all this time. He is a walking encyclopedia of skate knowledge, so we talked a lot about skate nerd stuff, which I do enjoy (just usually not when I am skating).
I was planning on doing a lot manuals tonight (they didn’t happen), which I am not all that good at—I wanted to practice them a bit. So, I set up an older deck I had, because I knew I’d be doing a lot of tail dragging, and I didn’t want to quickly ruin a new deck I had just set-up. Normally I skate with rails on my deck, but there was no need for them tonight (mostly doing manuals). So, I didn’t bother to put them back on the older deck (had them on it when I was riding it before). This was the first time I’ve skated without rails in about a year (e.g. when I had first re-discovered them). The DIY at the spot we were skating is a small ¼ pipe to parking block. When I was getting warmed-up on the DIY, I realized that I can no longer skate without rails. The lateral tilt that comes with a rail-less deck (e.g. because of the deck’s concave) was totally throwing me off with ANY trick where you ended up in a rock/disaster position. With rails, your board sits “flat” (e.g. STABLE) in these positions. Without rails, there is a lateral tilt (from the concave) where the board shifts side to side. This was really throwing me off. Moreover, boardslides were now totally inconsistent and shaky. I hated it. Unless I am setting up a board for flatland-only (which I would never do), I will never skate without rails again.
And then there was my newest dumb injury. My friend mentioned that I used to be able to do good switch 360 flips a long time ago. He asked if I could still do them. I told him I’d not tried one in…15 years?? I tried a few on flat, and actually came a lot closer to landing them than I expected. I told him that I’d bet I could come real close, if I could try one off a curb or something. While there were tons of curbs around us, there was none that I could ride off of (all abutted grass). So, instead I set my board up in an axle stall position on a curb, and tried to switch 360 flip out of a stationary axle stall. First try, I came close. Second try, I landed bolts. Both he and I are bewildered at what had just happened. We talk for a bit, and then I try another one. My rear foot lands square on the tail. My forward foot lands with just my toes on the edge of the board, which immediately slip off. Due to the rear foot (and my weight) being on the tail, and no front foot on the deck, the front of the board instantly pops up…straight into the bottom of my knee cap. As my knee explodes in pain, I now knew the session was now over for me.
This annoyed me. Greatly. But not for the reason you might think. I’ve been wearing pads a lot when I skate these days. If had worn my knee pads, this injury would not have happened. My board would have just glanced off the cap, and I would have kept skating like nothing had occurred. Instead, my session was over, I was limping, and even as I type this, I have a nice sized “egg” on my knee cap. I imagine I won’t be skating tomorrow because of it, either. And it was totally, 100% preventable. So, why wasn’t I wearing my pads tonight? I wanted to, but didn't. Why? The short answer: I was too self-conscious (e.g. awkward/kook/embarrassed) to do so around my friend. And that, that, is what bothers me the most about this situation. Even more than the lump on my knee. Even more than the fact that I had to stop skating tonight because of a dumb, preventable injury. Even more than the fact that I might not be able to skate tomorrow. Why did I get hurt tonight? Why did I have to stop skating? Why might I miss out on skating tomorrow? Because of my ego. My fucking ego. How fucking lame is that? And it’s not like he hasn’t seen Instagram clips of me skating in pads before. And not like he doesn’t know I now have some “pre-existing conditions” from my ankle/leg break. And not like he doesn’t know I am 48-fucking-years old, and am trying to skate for as long as I can. And it’s not like we are in high school anymore. And it’s not like I am one to normally give into these kind of obtuse social fears…but there it is.
I supported my friend tonight before he goes into major surgery, with an unknown outcome to his skate career. I am happy I did that.
I did a switch stance 360 flip tonight, which has not happened in a very, very, very long time. I am happy about that, too.
I also got physically injured tonight, because I was fearful of abstract existential injury caused by using something designed to prevent injury (man, the levels of irony in that one). I am not happy about that.
I hope that next time I skate with him, that he has a much stronger, healthier hip. And that I have much stronger, healthier sense of self.