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Getting Back into Skateboarding

by Mark Stosberg

Having FunI'm on my second wind as a skateboarder now. I got my first pro model in the summer before eighth grade, and I've been skating for the intervening 11 years.

I didn't know I was at my peak until I was heading downhill looking back. (Learned that lesson: live it up, maybe this is the next peak. :) I reached my peak as skater late in high school, about 6 years ago. There was strong scene with a lot of a talented skaters, and I was skating nearly everyday, pushing the limits of what I could do and getting into the flow of skateboarding.

Although I preferred not to admit it, my college years were downhill. The community of skaters was tiny, and I begin to spend my time elsewhere. I learned how to hacky-sack and juggle, a little bit about falling in love, started a couple businesses, and spent more time trying to get skateboarding legitimized and less time skating.

These days I'm getting serious about skateboarding again -- I'm out almost everyday doing tricks and putting energy into it. I've been over to the Middletown, OH skatepark three times this month after not being at a skatepark for a well over a year. In the back of the park, there were several guys about my age skating a six foot spined bowl. They skated entirely smooth with rolling drop-ins and mach speed lines around the bowl with precision lip tricks and sweet airs. No pads of course. I was in awe of their grace and fluid motion. I'll even say it was beautiful. It sure as hell as wasn't me any more. I was never a pool ripper, but I like to think I once skated with that grace being connected with the subtleties of skateboarding. I could pull a run of smooth street tricks, one flowing into the other.

Some of that is coming back now, and I have heightened clarity about why it is I skateboard, and why I never quit: Skateboarding's fun. I enjoy it. It's a different experience now, because almost everyone I skate with now is 6 or 7 years younger, just because that's who skates in this town. So I'm this "old dude" whose been skateboarding forever and can still remember when step-off tricks were in style. Some times I get asked "old dude" advice, like the finer points of an acid drop. Her's some old dude advice for you: Have fun. Above looking good and landing the next trick, have a good time.