After seven straight hours in the skatepark, three more hours in the car, and one drive-thru Burger King meal later, we are home.
Sk8terdude was amazing. Okay, okay, I admit I'm not even remotely objective, but in my defense let me say that I'm NOT talking about his skateboarding, even though I'm going to take a minute or two to describe it.
He was surely one of the youngest kids in the competition today...or at least one of the shortest. The 14+ skaters outnumbered the 13 and under group (contrary to early predictions by Greenside staff) and within the 14+ group it looked like the 18+ skaters may have held the majority. In the too-blurry-to-paste-here-photo I took, he barely reaches the other skaters' shoulders. As I watched from the parent lounge, I could see that he was intimidated by the size, speed, and temerity of the other skaters. For a good twenty minutes he stood in the pack, waiting for an opening to take a practice run down the ramp toward the A-frame, while skater after skater stepped in front of him or raced toward him from the other side.
Eventually, either impatience or determination took over and he launched himself down the ramp, early-grabbed the transfer, kickturned on the wall, and olley/nose-grabbed the a-frame. (Don't worry if you have no idea what that means. He had to dictate that last sentence to me!)
He managed to get about three practice runs in and then it was time for the 13 and unders to skate. The only problem was that they were starting on the pyramid....which he hadn't had a chance to practice since earlier in the day. Bravely he stood at the top of the ramp (he says 7-feet...), then took his turns across the pyramid, kickturning and coming back to manual the pyramid. (Again, dictated. Let's just agree that from now on anything technical that I write about skateboarding was something someone else told me to write.)
He skated the zone 1 competition (the pyramid), then waited while the older group took their turns. Eventually the winners of zone 1 were announced and, to no one's surprise except maybe his own, Sk8terdude did not win his age group. More everyone-for-themselves practice time ensued. Sk8terdude was able to get in some runs on the pyramid, then of course it was time for the zone 2 competition on the A-frame. He skated better in this round, but again did not walk away with the prize.
Let me be clear. I'm not complaining that he didn't win, or suggesting he should have. The winners definitely outskated him. But Sk8terdude is not generally a good loser. And by this point he had been at the skatepark for almost seven hours. And he hadn't really eaten lunch (Chipotle Grill, a sponsor of the Make It Count tour, provided burritos to the skaters, but he only had a few bites of his). So he was hungry and tired and it had been a VERY long day....but he didn't complain. Not once. Not a tear. Not a whimper. Not even an argument when I said he could not stay for the third and final competition (the stair set - which was bigger than any stair set he'd ever skated and which, I knew, would be a recipe for disaster, not to mention injury, if he tried to compete at that point in the day).
So although he didn't end the day with a trophy (or, more precisely, a new skate deck, skate bag, Skull Candy headphones, new wheels, etc.), he did come home with a sense of accomplishment for having skated with the "big boys" and for having survived the day.
And I couldn't be more proud.
(p.s. Congrats to the under-13s who DID win today...whose parents were my fellow lounge-lizards!)