Between rainy days, end-of-school-year commitments, and two out-of-town weekends in a row, we've had a slow stretch in terms of skateboarding. But yesterday was anything but slow. The long-awaited competition at S.P.I.R.I.T. finally arrived!
Eager to help out, Sk8terdude and I were there early as volunteers. He moved tables (okay, he HELPED move tables), squeegeed the standing water in the park, and stayed out of trouble while I helped set up the registration table. Although the day started out gloomy and gray, by the time we had everything ready to go, the clouds were clearing. I was thankful I had packed sunscreen in the car - and I was wishing I had also packed bugspray. (Thanks, Linda, for bringing some with you for me to use!)
Like every other competition we've ever been to, this one failed to start on time...since the guy from 2nd Nature Skate Shop had a birthday party to run in Rye and he was behind schedule. (Which is pretty ironic, considering our experience a few weeks ago, when the SAME guy failed to show up at all for our friend's son's birthday party. You can read about that here.) Eventually, the guys at S.P.I.R.I.T. decided to start without 2nd Nature and the competition was underway (and eventually he did show up).
Three hours later, Sk8terdude was the proud winner of a tee-shirt, some stickers, a 2nd Nature DVD, and a pass good for a visit to the new indoor skatepark 2nd Nature just opened in Peekskill, having taken third place in his division. (Yes, I have video of his two competition runs. And, no, I'm not posting the video here. I forgot that if I was taping I had to keep quiet! But family and friends can email me if they want to see it....)
Tomorrow the skateboarding really ramps up (hah!). Sk8terdude will be in ramp camp for a week. The following week he'll be volunteer staff at the pee-wee camp (for kids ages 4-7). He is SO excited about the opportunity to teach - not to mention the staff tee shirt! The week after that he has another five days of ramp camp...and then there's a week of sports camp before he heads to overnight camp for a month.
While he gears up for three straight weeks of skateboarding, I'm gearing up to be his driver. Back and forth to the skatepark...with the price of gas these days, I'm glad it's only five miles away!
Sk8terdude likes to skate his trucks really loose. So loose, in fact, that this week the Thunder Hollow trucks fell off his board a few times and, eventually, it became clear that he would need to replace them. There just wasn't enough thread left on the bolt to anchor them to the board. (Or something like that...)
I was in Greenwich on Thursday, so I stopped in at Capsule Boardshop for a quick fix and in the process I got a mini "trucks" lesson. For those of you who don't skate, the trucks are the hardware under the skateboard that hold the wheels. They come in different sizes, which are determined either by the length of the axle OR by the length of the hanger (the shorter piece encasing the axle). And some companies report size in inches and others in millimeters, so it's important to know what you are looking for when you shop for trucks. For example, a 129 mm Indy truck is approximately equal to a 5" Venture.
Since Sk8terdude is skating on an 8.5" board right now, he needs trucks that bring the wheels close to the edge of the board. For 8" and higher width boards, 139 mm trucks are the most popular size, so he is now sporting a new set of 139 mm Indies. Fortunately, his wheels still have some life in them, so the damage to my wallet was less than I anticipated.
Despite an unexpected detour through the back country of Greenwich, I did make it home in time for Sk8terdude to break in the new trucks at S.P.I.R.I.T.. where they are gearing up for the big contest on June 25th (raindate 26th). Details should be posted on their website any day now...
On Friday I was in a parent lounge of a different sort...watching Sk8terdude earn his purple belt in karate. He worked hard this spring to qualify for the test. We celebrated that evening and he's still grinning from ear to ear.
Saturday found us driving down to Rye, New York, where Sk8terdude had been invited to a birthday party at the Rye Skatepark. It's a small park, perfect for the mostly-beginners party. It was our first time at Rye and, if we lived in town, I suppose we would be there regularly, but it did give me a renewed appreciation for our "local" park in Ridgefield, which is larger and nicer, as far as I'm concerned.
The birthday boy, a family friend a few years younger than Sk8terdude, has taken lessons through 2nd Nature, and the 2nd Nature guys were supposed to give lessons at the party. Unfortunately, due to a scheduling misunderstanding, the party started, the kids were ready to learn to skate (there were a bunch who had never been on a skateboard before), and there were no instructors in sight.
We corralled the parents of the newbies and Sk8terdude showed the boys how to push and glide on the flat surface. We had them practice that for awhile, then moved them onto the ramp with the least slope (off the funbox), with Sk8terdude and the parents holding their hands as they tried rolling downhill. Fortunately, the kids all had a great time. Eventually 2nd Nature sent a friend of a friend over to help out - although he arrived at the same time as the pizza, so guess what won out? He was terrific - and patient - and worked with some of the boys after they enjoyed a slice.
Some of the parents (and the birthday boy's grandparents) were a bit nervous about skateboarding as a sport. Mostly they are concerned about injury. Since our trip to Kona I can no longer say that Sk8terdude has never broken a bone skateboarding but, hey, it was only a pinky!
None of these parents think twice about buying their child a bicycle, but consider these statistics from Safe Kids USA:
They also note:
For all ages, bicycle crashes follow only to riding animals as the leading cause of serious injury due to sports/recreational activity.
How many parents who don't want their children to skateboard think nothing of signing them up for horseback riding lessons?
Don't get me wrong - I'm NOT saying skateboarding carries no risk. But if you make sure your child wears correct protective equipment, skates only in supervised skateparks, and learns proper techniques, you can reduce the risk of serious injury.
After our trip to Rye? Sk8terdude was back to S.P.I.R.I.T. for more skating....