642 Things #10 – Story of a Skateboard

The details are fuzzy, but I’m pretty sure the year was 2007, making me 23-years-old, maybe 24. I asked myself – why not buy a skateboard? It was an impulsive decision made with my friend, John (with whom I’d also at one point, impulsively decided to buy a tobacco pipe so that when we turned 80, it would be super old and therefore make future-us really cool old guys). I’ll admit, any previous skating experience was only from hours spent in front of a TV with a PlayStation remote in my hand playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 – 4. With lots of experience, like many others, pulling a Christ Air with Rune Glifberg, I was certain my skills on the TV would never translate to real life when I set foot on my first skateboard.

A skateshop on the East Side of Milwaukee, called Phase 2, was the logical place to buy my board. Small, local, and a place I’d walked past countless times during my years at UW-Milwaukee and years after. I remember the store clearly. When you walked in the door, the left side of the store, as well as the back walls, were covered in decks. Display cases in front of them stored all the trucks, wheels, bearings and other pieces needed to put together your completed board.

Despite my best efforts to hide my noobie status, I quickly moved past pretension and wore my noob badge with honor. The guys behind the cases were very helpful. “Try this truck, it’s tight which is good for learning.” “These wheels will hold up well as you inevitability bale.” I ended up picking a deck and got decent hardware to finish the board. The desk said “Musik” in graffiti style text. Alternating green, blue and yellow, it was my deck of choice to throw color support behind my two favorite professional teams (the Milwaukee Brewers and the Green Bay Packers), as well as just looking really cool.

I sat back patiently as they assembled the board for me while I looked at skating clothes in hopes to blend in as much as I could when I first stepped foot on my board. It didn’t really matter as I’d quickly found out, just a good pair of skate shoes. The experiences of hopping on a board are worthy of their own story, but the board itself was well loved. I certainly took some diggers. It ran away from me, rammed into curbs, tumbled down roads and occasionally did as intended and sped me down the road. The scuffs under the board and tears on the deck tape all show that the effort was there while in Milwaukee. My board was loved.

Fast-forward a few years and after moving to Chicago, my board found it’s way to being displayed on my wall for appearance purposes only. Two years later, it found it’s way being stored in the garage. There it say, rarely used, hardly looked at and much disgraced from it’s former “glory.” Until this past weekend. Very recently, I decided to leave my long-time position at Columbia College Chicago and work for an exciting opportunity locally in Denver. I do mean local. As in, a 10-minute-walk or… a 5-7-minute skateboard ride. I pulled the board out, intending to get that old feeling back under my feet. Only, this time, I only made it a few feet out of the garage before my son saw me and wanted to see what I had.

Over the next 30 minutes, I was teaching him how to stand on the board. How to push, balance, and eventually, letting him sit on the board with him and rode down a small incline on our backyard walkway. Doesn’t matter if he’s only 2, I think my board just passed to the next generation. My first board was now his first board. Maybe he’ll learn to do more with it than I ever did.

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