Skateboarding: Practice makes…oh, never mind.Posted: November 27, 2009
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.
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.
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. 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.