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Boy meets board

Submitted by on Saturday, 21 February 2009 2 Comments

img_1837I don’t like lying to the guys, but in retrospect dishonesty would have been the best policy when they asked “what’s that?” as we drove past the city skate park the other day.

Sadly, I couldn’t think quickly enough to try to pass it off as a storage area for roofs unused due to the housing bust. So I told the truth.

“It’s a skate park,” I said. “That’s where kids go to do tricks on their skateboards.” Big Guy’s eyes lit up, and the begging began.

Three days of rain let me off the hook. On the fourth day, there was sunshine. Rats.

I am the biggest wimp on Earth when it comes to anything physical, not to mention unskilled and uncoordinated. I was the last kid in my class to shed the training wheels, finally doing so after being taunted mercilessly because little brother could ride a two-wheeler and I couldn’t.

So I like it when the guys want to try something I wouldn’t try even now, as an alleged adult, let alone as a kid. But I wondered if the skate park was taking my no-fear mantra a bit too far.

Its location behind the police department discourages mischief, so it’s probably the cleanest city park on the planet. We went right after kindergarten let out, which cut the crowd down to two preteens off track and a smattering of juvenile delinquents. That’s fairly audacious considering the previously mentioned location just behind the police department.

We found a low-traffic spot in one corner, where Big Guy proceeded to pout because he couldn’t try the high ramps. “Too many big kids over there. They might smash into you if they’re going fast,” I said, hoping that it wouldn’t be as offensive if I didn’t make it an indictment of his competence.

He proceeded to sit big-lipped next to me on a bench, refusing to let himself be coaxed onto the board. By then, pouting was masking intimidation. Seeing the big guys float up walls, slam off ramps and occasionally splay flat on their backs on the concrete showed him it wasn’t as easy as he’d thought.

Since Big Guy was throwing a fit, Boots decided to play the part of Good Kid, toodling around on his scooter. It might have marked the debut of Thomas the Tank Engine at a skate park anywhere in the world. After about a half hour, he was bored with being Good Kid. “I’m hun-gry!” Which he wasn’t – he was sleepy, which also was unattainable.

About the time Boot amped up, Big Guy chilled out so at least both weren’t howling at the same time. He started studying the big kids, and by the time we left he had mastering flipping his skateboard with his foot.  “Watch me! Watch me!” he crowed.

By then, Boots and I were watching the side show. “Mommy, why does that girl have a moustache?” From the back, the flowing Goldilocks curls did look like they belonged on a woman. I hate it when guys have better long hair than I do.

“Mommy, why doesn’t that guy have on any clothes?” he asked a few minutes later. He was close to right .  Cool dude – probably  literally, since it was only in the 60s – wore nothing but boxer-style shorts, tennis shoes and sunglasses.

By then, Big Guy had noticed I wasn’t watching him exclusively. “Watch me, Mommy! Why aren’t  you watching me!”

Um, because I’m afraid I’m going to see you fall and break your arm and you’re father’s going to kill me before we even get the bone set? OK, not a good answer. So I watched.

By then, he was able to stay on the board with both feet and glide for inches. He eventually tried a little ramp but lost his nerve – or maybe recovered his common sense – and jumped off just before the board plummeted with him on it.

There’s something to be said for living to shred another day.

“Can we come again next week?” he asked.

Rats. That’s what I was afraid you’d say.

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  • Leslie K. said:

    OH BOY DOES THIS BRING BACK MEMORIES….and to think, I had to go through this three different times, five years apart – and we have only had ONE broken wrist in the bunch (which meant a really cool camo-color cast)

  • Debra said:

    Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! If Big Guy hears about camo casts, he’ll want to break a wrist. Maybe even both of them. He’s all about the soldier gear now.