Go skateboarding day, or don’t(as Jenkem’s told us), it’s a funny concept. I skate every morning it’s dry, if it snows, I shovel out the park(well, part of it, Paine’s Plaza is not a small park). This isn’t about a dick measuring contest, it’s more for sanity, a medicine to the depression and anxiety issues I’ve struggled with throughout my life, along with living single, preferring solitude and without a roommate(aside from my cat and dog), it’s just part of my day, wake up, drink some coffee, take a shit, feed/walk the dog, hit the skate park and then it’s off to day job, it’s part of how I wake up in the morning, and, yeah, I do it because I am a skateboarder and fucking addicted to it, 24 years deep.
I have friends who look at it as a hardcore thing. “This is my friend I’ve told you about, the one who skates everyday.” has been my introduction to a few people. My awkward and uncomfortable response is generally to make some bad joke about how it isn’t really a choice for me, or I’m feeling tough and beat my chest while I also claim my snow shoveling duties during the winter months.
There’s something about that morning session, especially weekdays, empty park, generally a few other morning skaters, a few I don’t even remember their names, doubt they remember mine either, but we’ve been skating together for years, stoked when the other one shows up, we chat, but not much, because that’s not what the morning crew is necessarily there for or looking for… and that’s kind of my point…
For me, just give me the hour, hour and a half of getting every trick I know, either because I have to get to work and don’t really have the time to chat, also just because that’s what I like, even as a teenager during the summer, I always want/wanted that hour of doing everything I know, getting comfortable, seeing what works and what doesn’t let it flow from there.
If I have the time to chill or don’t have to rush off to work, no matter the age, it’s always the same, knock out the hour of getting every trick, maybe even a new one with a strike while the iron is hot type attitude, then chill for a few minutes and get chatty, fuck around with some new tricks, tricks I’m bad at, or maybe try and get a line with a couple tricks I don’t have that well.
So, it’s probably pretty easy to see how something like a demo, contest or event is going to mess with that quiet serene place that is, the wake and skate.
I’m always good about it, but definitely stress, I make sure to hit the park no later than 9:00 or 9:30, if the event happens at noon, by the time you’re starting to wear out, people are starting to show up, you got your skate, and, if you don’t have anywhere to be, you can watch a contest or demo go down, be part of something pretty cool without feeling like you had to sacrifice for it, or, if you’ve got to go somewhere, you still got your skate in, and today, I had to go somewhere.
I knew there was a DC Shoes event going down at 2:30 at the park, along with the Blabac/Kalis bump to can contest in a North Philly spot starting at 7:00 pm, so I wasn’t too concerned about showing up whenever, it had rained over night and wasn’t too humid and still super cloudy, so not much had dried out until about eleven.
I showed up to the park at about 11:30 and a hoard of people were there, random Red Bull drums placed around the park. It didn’t bother me at all, Kyle and Andrew rolled up to say hi, Andrew told me about the Red Bull Live event going down at 11:45. It was still mellow enough to get everything that fifteen minutes was worth, and even then, the event was everybody gets it on certain parts of the park for ten minutes. It wasn’t until the third portion that my flatground area and ledges were invaded with videographers and skaters going wild in a long endless line, only paused when enough boards pile up along the ledge.
I was nervous once I saw some collisions go down, once the population started to grow and everybody wanted it with the cameras out, one of my regular friends I can’t remember the name of, he showed up, sadly laughing about how he was hoping to beat the crowds as we half-jokingly made plans to skate sections of the park away from the event.
Weckingball was there, met that guy, he was super nice during the small exchange we had, totally approachable as he whisked an end of the scarf of his Bam ensemble over a shoulder. Rad guy. He also has no warm up, just went for shit straight off the bat, that’s always rad to see, “Don’t you want to loosen up those legs with some flat or some fifties on the ledge for a few minutes?”
Weckingball was even coincidental enough to have proof I skated on Go Skateboarding in his own post, he’s a solid dude with a great sense of humor.
I got all my tricks, got to see and be a part of some of the thick and syrupy skate culture that is, Philadelphia and it’s surrounding area. Having to leave for work, I thought about how I saw some dudes I hadn’t seen in over a year or two, that only the sake of Go Skateboarding Day had us out at the same time, it’s funny, Philly is so small, you can be in some random neighborhood and see someone who walks by you, in your neighborhood every weekday, heading home from work to the point that you nod at each other, but you can also hang with someone at the skate park for a year and rarely ever see them again because, day jobs.
So I sighed while I unlocked my bike staring at the day that was just getting started for my friends, acquaintances and true community, thinking of younger years where this day could be spent with them, not even just the younger days, some day job where I’m not a one man business, have the ability to have taken off. I work on my feet too, so even after the hours of work, which was after an hour and a half at the park, my dog needed his walks, I needed food and then I was too beat to go to the final hours of Go Skate Day.
But, I got some and felt good, watched others get it and get it good too, I got part of this day we call our own, and as a skater, we understand, there isn’t much more you need out of this life than that.