Winter Holidays

Skateboarding and the holidays is definitely going to mean different things to different regions, for a lot of us, it means snow, cold, maybe for others, not much is changing weather-wise.

I personally don’t like the winter holidays, I find them inane and superfluous.  “Hey, everybody in the entire country, let’s all travel at the exact same time, in every type of transportation possible, to celebrate a holiday with a bloody and horrid origin, slaughter millions more turkeys than usual, and then about a month later, let’s all do it again in some other names of other random pointless shit!”

No.  Why would I ever want to participate in that?  Even the families or family members who wake up at three am to prepare for war in the Black Friday deals, that sounds like a terrible time.

My dad always argues, forget the branding, the history, what other people do, let’s just use this date as a time to all find a way to be together… Damn it, dad, can’t really argue with you there.

The last five years, I’ve worked Thanksgiving, I like it, but unfortunately it made my family travel to me to celebrate, so not much changed, I still have my daily wake and skate at Paine’s Plaza, then I spend the entire day working and hanging out with my parents and sister.  My real argument is, hey, let’s get together for a week in early December or something, have that time then, instead of twice in two months, when everyone else is doing it, but nah, the vote is, jump off the bridge with everyone else, argument-wise, it’s presented as, ‘just easier.’  I’d argue against that, but whatever, the vote is for waiting in line to jump off the bridge with the rest of the country and call it a great time full of family values and tradition.

When you travel, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, maybe for all of them, the board always comes.  Maybe it never gets ridden, maybe just some flatground.  Maybe you aren’t traveling, age groups play a huge factor in that, or maybe you just didn’t move too far from where you grew up.

But the age groups, I remember, as an elementary and middle school twerp in the DC area, the winter holidays just meant more time to skate in the street, or garage, maybe the porch, if the weather was wet or snowy.  More time to rewatch skate videos, read through magazines, go out and have a fourth or fifth session or try to land that new flatground trick just one more time before I had to wait until the next day.

It was the same until I got my driver’s license, and even more a few years later, with the popularity of skateboarding growing and public parks popping up.  Once you can drive, skating the city, the town, hitting and sessioning your local spots for hours without bust, yelling at every trick landed, getting giddy like a five year old at Chuck E. Cheese with the fruit punch ‘stash.  On any holiday, the city’s abandoned, you can almost skate free, never having to look over your shoulder, but you can’t get too comfortable, never forget about the possibility of a pissed off young rookie cop, angry he’s out on the street and not getting a potential BJ with a bloated gut from his dead-eyed bleached out girlfriend.

Weekday skate parks are a bust around the holidays, even before every kid rode a scooter, they tried to ride a skateboard, some scooter kids were around, but when I was in my twenties, it was the ten to twelve year olds flooding the park on decks, all trying to skate as if they’re the only ones around, you’re grinding a box as a kid comes up to fling some nollie three flip noseslide when they can’t even kickflip.  Then you pop out of your grind right into their face.  I didn’t even bother driving to the parks after the second year in a row of that, you can’t even cruise around or flow, too many undeveloped minds giving life in crowds at every turn.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, it was always about going downtown and skating DC, people who were older and moved out, or friends who were in college out of town, they’d be back, everybody sessioning like it’s two, five or however many years ago, maybe some surprise guests show up, you bump into some old skate family buying beer or buying presents.  It was all about the city.

After I had been out of DC for a few years, many of my skate friends had left as well, or weren’t skating, it would become skating with my friend Alex, driving around from spot to spot, then Alex was traveling for holidays and eventually moved.

Those years I would bring out my old box from my parents garage, my dad and I built, as I’ve said in an older post, when I was twelve or thirteen, I wanted it tall, so I could skate a real ledge(which hindered more than helped when you need to figure out how to pop high just learning a trick) but it was also only four feet long, haha, that was the longest angle iron we could find that was a reasonable length for something I could drag out to the street from the garage.  We put wheels on it too.  It needed to also be extremely heavy for how much force skateboarding hits a ledge with, but still, unless it’s wedged against something or on a particular surface, or you just hit every grind and slide perfectly, you’re gonna knock it.

Holidays in the hometown became about dragging that box back out to the street, skating flat, popping tricks over the manhole cover, my angled round rail stopped getting use, it was way too lightweight, anything beyond a well placed lipslide or boardslide and you’re blowing it ten feet away, or tipping it over into the yard if it’s against the curb.  Fifty-fifties always make you laugh, the front truck is just a tapper.  You can easily get a full four foot grind and slide, you just had to pop a little earlier, not at the beginning of the ledge, a foot or more before, still, at any mediocre speed, that front truck is have a fun tap before you’re coming out, hell, I learned both tricks on curbs and longer skate park ledges, but, a kickflip five-O would be easier to learn than a kickflip fifty, length alone.  I learned how to pop high into kickflip noseslides on it, but I didn’t have much control, I could only come out to fakie every make I had.

Last year, for Christmas, my parents’ street had finally become too beaten to skate, I had to drag the box to the porch and get in a once push session like when I was a kid on rain and snow days.  Seems like that’ll be the norm from here on out for winter holiday visits.

Every few years, these skate habits change or shift ever so slightly, some decide not to skate from the stress of the holidays on top of it all, some are going to do what they always did, why would they change, some will shift.  Flow with the times, if shit gets hard, go skate, even if it’s some carpet skating or stationary tricks in a low ceiling and unfinished basement, sit on the edge of the bed or stoop and toss some flat sitting down, let the skate take over you, it’s better than talking yourself into why it all sucks and why you shouldn’t skate or why every missed trick is a reason to feel worse and verify the hateful thoughts.

For those who have an easy going time and fun fall/winter holiday experience, keep carrying on and I hope you bastards know how much luck you’ve fallen into and what kind of blessed prosperous life you’ve had/have, or how much growth and awareness you accomplished.

Either way, I’m happy you’re all out there, living skating, being, see you guys after a week of work and family.  Hope you all find a way to feel good this week, on the board or off.


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