Skateboarding: Practice makes…oh, never mind.

Dude, please, stop doing this.

Today, I am going to discuss something I don’t know much about. That doesn’t make it much different than any other day. I think today is the day to discuss skateboarding.

It seems to me that there are two kinds of skateboarders. There are the really good ones, represented by the people you see on ESPN and in commercials. There are the really bad ones, represented by those kids endlessly trying the same trick outside some building, and in You Tube videos of young men who end up straddling some handrail when they fall off their board. I actually admire both kinds of skateboarders for different reasons. But what has me thinking is what is missing.

There is no such thing as an intermediate skateboarder. Someone who seems pretty good, manages to pull off what he aims to do more often than not, and just needs a little polish to get his own Mountain Dew commercial. No, there are either good or bad skateboarders.

Remember that kid you saw skateboarding in front of your office building last week? Think about it, he was there last year, wasn’t he? He was working on that same trick, wasn’t he? Not any better, is he? I didn’t think so.

You know, in a way, I admire that kid. He wants to be good. He keeps trying. Isn’t that really what we’d all hope he’d do to reach all his goals? The problem is, unlike nearly everything else in the world, practice in this case will not help him become any better at this particular goal. If practice made skateboarders any better, there would be intermediate skateboarders – ones that are pretty good. The fact that there are none is significant.

Yet there are skateboarders who are very good at what they do. Where do they come from? That is anyone’s guess, but we know they don’t get that way by practicing. I have two theories, loosely based on two different religious traditions.

An example.

Theory 1 – The Creationist Theory of Skateboarding. The lack of intermediate skateboarders indicate a force beyond practice is at work concerning the elites of the sport. What could that force be? My Creationist Theory, based on the thought of some people who do not believe in evolution and the theories of Darwin, explains this mystery.

My Creationist Theory of Skateboarding holds that the elites of the sport were created at conception and possess their skills through divine intervention. They are creations of God. It is predetermined, choice doesn’t enter into it, nor does any sort of logical progression of change.

"...when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice." Bill Murray, Caddyshack

Theory 2 – The Buddhist Theory of Skateboarding. Like The Creationist Theory, my Buddhist Theory of Skateboarding recognizes that the lack of an intermediate stage of skateboarder indicates that practice doesn’t really enter into the equation.

My weak understanding of Buddhism tells me that it teaches that one can’t truly reach enlightenment until one gives up the desire to achieve that enlightenment. So, my Buddhist Theory of Skateboarding holds that the very best skateboarders are those who have completely and truly renounced the sport. Upon reaching that level of loss of desire for the sport, the individual receives complete enlightenment on the secrets of the sport and moves from failure to elite competitor in an instant.

I don’t know which of my theories is the absolute truth. Likely as not, the truth lies somewhere in between, as it does in all questions of religion.

Skateboarders, in everything else you do, practice is key. Who knows why it doesn’t work in your sport. I’m sorry. All the same, I admire your devotion to your sport.Β  The skills of the best of you are truly amazing. I wish more folks had your passion. Good luck to you! Oh, and the thing where you try to slide down the rail. Please stop, it really decreases your reproductive chances and it hurts me to watch you fall.

19 Comments on “Skateboarding: Practice makes…oh, never mind.”

  1. shoutabyss says:

    What I hate is the kids who skateboard on sidewalks by busy streets, in bike lanes on busy streets and actually within the lane boundaries of busy streets. All it would take is one tiny little rock to send them flying. If they land in front of my car it could be brain matter squishy-squishy time about three nanoseconds later. That doesn’t seem to bright to me.

    Yeah, I’ve seen that too. I’m guessing the number of times people could have said that about me as a teen would have been pretty long.

  2. Marvin East says:

    you ignorant pompous bastard. Skating is more than just big tricks and sponsorships, more than life itself, skateboarding is what gives us teenagers purpose, have you ever experienced the intense gratification that comes from landing a trick that you’ve been working on for years, or even days? And, practice does make you better in skating, oh I know, that sounds like a peculiar idea, you can actually get better at something if you work hard? NO WAY! I’d like to see you step on a skateboard and try to roll away clean with two pushes, your first time, then after you bust your ass, I’d like you to continue trying that for 2 weeks, on conclusion of those two weeks, what do you think will happen when you try again? You’ll be better!!! That’s what!!! Open your damn minds, and if my fellow skaters are reading this… skate that biodegradable piece of wood and 4 wheels until you are physically unable! SKATE OR DIE.

    Marvin, I dropped the f bombs from your comment, because I’m an ignorant, pompous bastard. I also went on and posted the rest of what you’ve got to say, because I’m an ignorant, pompous bastard. In fact, the f bombs, etc. landed your note in the spam folder where I almost deleted it along with some guys spam trying to sell rolexes. I pulled yours out and posted it, because I’m an ignorant, pompous bastard.

    The truth is, very little of what I have to say here ought to be taken seriously. Although the part I wrote about admiring the practice ethic that you, and those I see apparently all have should be taken seriously. In fact, in that piece, the word admire pops up several times in connection to skaters.

    In the long run though, it is something that was written tongue in cheek, with an open admission at the start that I didn’t know what I was talking about. It is not worthy of your rage, man. In fact, even if it were anti-skateboarder, or even anti-Marvin, your approach and how you make your point affects how folks accept it.

    Life’s short man. Breathe in, breathe out, move on.


  3. linlah says:

    I like your Buddest Theory, giving it up to get it, very enlightened and I think you’re right some people are just born with “it”.

    Thanks! Yeah, I think that’s true, some people are just naturals at some things. Its hard to explain, but they’re a joy to watch.

  4. shoutabyss says:

    Practicing a trick for years or “even days?” LOL! That’s awesome stuff. :p

    I stepped on a skateboard not too long ago. My elbow hurt for about two weeks.

    I’ve got a skateboard post sitting on the shelf. I think I’ll put it out tomorrow FTW! Hopefully Marvin can show up and get mad at me, too. πŸ™‚

    Ah, he and I are good. He thought I was pushing his buttons and stood up for himself.

  5. shoutabyss says:

    BTW, who did the photochop on the pope? That image rocks!

    Wish I could say it was me, but I can’t. The picture links back to where I found it.

  6. Marvin East says:

    Hey just like in the books of the Jedi “Passion leads to rage”. I just care about what I do. And my language reflects that. BUT, I am sorry if I offended you, for I understand that this is a blog and these are nothing but your thoughts, so who am I to judge you on your thoughts

    Well said sir! If more folks gave a damn about even one thing we’d all be better off. Yeah, they’re my thoughts, but you’re more than welcome to stop by and say your piece – agree or disagree. Thanks man!

  7. Kathi D says:

    Back in my day, skaters were a lot more chill.

    And you…you are the queen of chill! Marvin has the chill going, he just had a spike. He’s going to get me up on a board and get me in a Volcom shirt before its over.

    I’m not trying that handrail sliding crap, Marvin, thats out.

  8. Marvin East says:

    I am chill, haha this and music are just the only things that means anything to me, which sometimes brings forth an unhealthy tendency to express that. And please don’t let my unruly remarks deter your perception of all skaters as a whole, for I am not the skaters advocate, I am merely a participant.

    Represent yourself man, you’re doing a fine job of it.

    • Kenyn says:

      Marvin, even though I’m very late on the subject, and I’m sure you aren’t ever going to read this, I thank you, for regaining your senses and apologizing for the outburst. I have to admit that, being a teenage girl who likes skateboarding, I was quite offended by your rant because I felt it painted a, rude, disrespectful, and all around immature picture of us as a whole. We are, after all, adults in the making and I think we should behave as such. But faith in my fellow teenager skaters has been restored by your recanting. Live long and prosper, my rider of “that biodegradable piece of wood and 4 wheels.”
      ~Kenyn M.

  9. […] skateboarding, street, traffic. Leave a Comment This is post I wrote last summer. After seeing a picture of a skateboarding pope I knew the time had finally come to share. […]

  10. Keli says:

    I had no idea skateboarding was such a controversial issue. I’m surprised 60 minutes hasn’t covered it or at least Andy Rooney.
    Fortunately, for all involved, I’ve not viewed any skateboarders in the vicinity of my office.

    It is huge. Now that my theories are out there I expect a pilgrimage of Fundamentalists, Buddhists or Skaters (or perhaps an odd aggregate of those groups) to flock to my door with either large sums of money, or pitchforks & torches.

  11. My sense of Marvin East’s comment was that he was joking, probably not even a skater. Skaters are too cool to read blogs. Reading blogs takes away from valuable skater time.

    Nope. He’s truly a skater. I also got a pingback, its #2 on the comment list, from a skater/blogger who took offense.

  12. I was hoping Marvin East’s comment was a joke, because otherwise the guy sounds like a jerk who can’t take a joke, which is what you said all along….The skateboarding pope is awesome.

  13. sgottahurt says:

    Once, I tried to skateboard off the back of one of my friends’ mom’s station wagons, a la Marty McFly in Back to the Future (and with her permission, somehow).

    I let go after realizing I would be dragged should the board hit a pothole, flipped horizontally into the air, and landed on my head. His mom stopped, concerned, and I jumped to my feet to tell all three of her that I was okay… Where was I going with this? Oh yeah. I wish they had YouTube back in ’91.

    It is all fun and games until someone gets a concussion. Then it is a little funnier.

  14. Kate says:

    I would consider my husband to be an intermediate skateboarder, at least compared to me. πŸ™‚ Although, now that I think about it, he did break his collarbone when skateboarding while drunk (and over the age of 30) so maybe that makes him bad after all …

    Please, please keep him off handrails Kate.

  15. planetross says:

    Doing the same thing over and over and over again to do it properly sounds like work … and reincarnation.

    Oh my God, a third theory. Good skateboarders are reincarnated with the skill set.

  16. My best friend Paul and I skateboarded for years. I was the bad skater you describe, always working on the same trick, never getting any better. He was an honest to goodness intermediate who was amazing to watch, but not quite pro-worthy. He eventually quit because of work and growing up, now he’s an amazing surfer. I think real life ultimately gets to the intermediates. There’s not enough room at the top for everyone so at some point you have to get a real job to pay for all those trucks (skate term not actual vehicle).

    • omawarisan says:

      That is probably the key. It is a challenging sport, certainly not one I ever had success on any level with. By the time you get to where youre progressing youve got serious choices to make.

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