Our obsession with skateboarding makes us laugh when we think about it off the board, arguments and opinions of what rules matter and why get so blurred and difficult to wrap the full spectrum around(due to complexity and vastness of the spectrum) when off the board, away from the spot, not in the park on a weekday talking shit.
Depending on how old you are and how long you’ve been identifying as a skateboarder, there are times when it takes up your entire life outside of work/school, other times you find contempt for the obsession, you’re sick of watching skate videos when you aren’t skating, you get tired of revolving your life around the daily session. Or the opposite, you stress to ensure the daily session, you struggle to find time to watch the videos you’ve collected and get through the magazines you still wait for in the mail once a month.
Whatever the reason, whatever the reasons for the waves and tides, thoughts and feelings, a lot of this is why skateboarding is our god, our religion, why skateboarding is our addiction, our lifestyle, why and how we view the world beyond the board, applying the principles of the same rules, and it works! It works for the better.
But still, even in the absolute prime waves, we still can’t skate for much for than six-eight hours a day, except in the earlier years, maybe some teenage years, but never on a daily basis were we all skating ten hours a day, every single day. We still have half a day to kill.
Yeah, a couple more hours is going to be spent maybe watching a video, listening to a song and thinking about whether or not it would work for a video part and what/who type of skating/skater should skate to it. There’s always a part of our mind grinding and doing lines along highway shoulders and barriers/guardrails that pass by while we sit behind the wheel or in the passenger seat.
That never changes, concentration on it is what comes and goes with the waves. No matter how deep into the conscious existence of being totally skateboarding, there’s still about half the the day, whether you want there to be or not, that skateboarding has nothing to do with anything, as much as a part of it is always there.
Half our lives, a part that almost doesn’t exist within the industry, I don’t know how many skaters in the mags, no matter how big, have day jobs right now. I doubt any of us know the real numbers, at least collectively. Hell, maybe even some do it by choice.
Being an east coast skater, growing up in the swampy DC area, life has almost always been presented as, yeah, you skate, but what about weather, what about a paycheck? Not as an argument as to how you aren’t a skater, simply curious about the rest of your life, yeah, we skate, see each other a lot, what do you have going on the other eight hours of conscious daily life?
Being a kid who truly found skating in the mid-90’s, I was always a little annoyed to find out some of my favorite skaters were into things that defined as straight sports. The pros who were into football, basketball, I’m sure plenty were into hockey, or soccer,a lot take/took up golf. Skaters were going to the gym, my preteen idealism was being shattered as I grew through my teens and skateboarding began to grow into popularity.
But keeping on subject, it was the side hobbies, the other half of life, that always surprised, shocked, insulted or enlightened me. Some had families, some had jobs, jobs and families. The better paid pros were getting into other activities, maybe biking on trails or paths, weights, yoga, whatever. They’d have bands, be into photography, write, paint, skaters always covered the vast spectrum of possibilities and life, I mean, shit, we even have an accepted level of jock mentality and elitism in skateboarding, some people will argue that was always there, and sure, it most definitely always has been.
There will always be the skateboarders and people who skate, the people so gnarly who sometimes step on a board and own it. Those definitions aside, we can’t ignore the rest of who we are, the other choices we make and why. I’ve been pretty much the same person since I was four or five, someone who wanted to skateboard, drew, painted and started writing at first chance. To me, that’s skateboarding, that’s being a skateboarder.
To a lot of people, it’s the exact same. To a lot of other skateboarders, that idea is fucking lame, unnecessary or superfluous beyond beyond skate graphics. Cars, sports, maybe just the career, job and/work that takes up the other eight to twelve hours a day, along with art, sports or entertainment, whatever, we’re all skaters. We all come together and none of that matters.
There’s that awkward level, the, “Uh, let’s just skate…” I’ve always read through magazines, loved or hated interviews, but along with that obsession can bring the awkwardness, as Dan Plunkett said in an interview about finding out a favorite pro didn’t believe in global warming or thought the world was flat, “Ah, I don’t wanna know that, just show me footage.” or something like that. But it’s happened, you know too much now, everything insane they do on a skateboard will be followed by, “Yeah, but…”
There’s another side to it though, Justin Eldridge, recovering from a knee surgery claiming something along the lines of, “There’s just so much more to life than just skateboarding.” That doesn’t make you any less of a skateboarder. The rest of your life outside of skateboarding, which yes, it is life, it is everything, but everything outside of it, whether you’ve found it outside of skateboarding entirely or through/from skateboarding, it seriously doesn’t fucking matter, we’re still just skateboarders experiencing it all, that’s what keeps us together.