Tuesday, February 04, 2014

you can't be safe on a skateboard

I don’t do skateboards. I never have, so to write about the safety, or lack thereof, of a skateboard might make me a little hypocritical. So perhaps I should concentrate on the “safety” and not the skateboard.

Oh, don’t worry, this isn’t going to be some PSA for wearing helmets and elbow guards and such… its just… you can’t be safe on a skateboard. Practically anything else in the world, no matter the danger, you can prepare for it, have safeguards in place to protect yourself from catastrophe… but not a skateboard. 

 One of my personal goals this year is to read 35 books. Now, I also have a goal of 125 movies as well, but I only count movies that I have never seen… if I didn’t, then watching “Cars 2”, “Rio” and “Winnie the Pooh” would undoubtedly put me over the top, mostly because 34 days into the year of our Lord 2014, I’ve already seen all three of those films at least four times each… that’s a legit claim, not an exaggeration. Its probably more, but that’s my guess.

SIDEBAR... Why? Campbell Isaiah freakin’ loves those movies… and when you stick him in our bouncy seat jumper thing, turn on one of those films, it might buy you anywhere from 20 minutes of free time to possibly the length of the movie. If you think you might get an entire movie out of it, don’t do “Winnie the Pooh”—its only 63 minutes. Pop in “Cars 2”, you’ll get a good hour and 48 minutes, plus credits. He loves credits. Something about the movement of the words from bottom to top, it mesmerizes him. 

Where was I?

Yes, with books, I count any and all books read, even with re-reads, as part of my goal… so far, I’ve downed “Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone” (a re-read)… “My Story” by Elizabeth Smart, the chick kidnapped out of her bedroom and held captive for 9 months… “Lone Survivor”, by Marcus Luttrell, the incredible story from which the movie is from… and “Live from New York”, an oral narrative on the history of Saturday Night Live… finally, the book I’m re-reading for the first time since 2009, and the 3rd time overall, is “It” by Stephen King, what I actually consider to be his total masterpiece.

I won’t go into the plotline really, as that’s not my point, but there is a scene where one of the main characters, Bill Denborough, meets a small kid on a skateboard on a random afternoon. They chat for a second, and Bill, a balding man of almost 40, asks to ride the skateboard this kid is holding. The kid doesn’t think it’s a good idea, telling Bill how he-Bill-could get hurt and that… “You can’t be safe on a skateboard.”

This line struck me. I’ve gotten another 2/3rd of the way through the book since that scene, but I keep thinking about that one line. You can’t be safe on a skateboard.

Think about it. Skydiving, which I’ve never done but want to do one day… it’s a dangerous sport made safe, or at least, reasonably safe, with equipment, with parachutes, and if you are on one of many dives in the beginning of your skydiving career, with someone attached to you that’s doing all the work.

NASCAR racing, or even stock car racing in general. Those cars ride hitting 200 miles per hour and more, with a list of deaths on the track, notably Dale Earnhardt in 2000, after going headfirst into a wall at 200 miles per hour… and Alan Kulwicki and Davey Allison, two of my favorite drivers as I was growing up…

But there are tons of safety precautions in the sport… HANS (head and neck support) restraints, roll bars, lots of electronic stuff keeping drivers in touch with their pit crews to watch for accidents and such. 

Pro football is constantly instituting more and more safety rules (many to the detriment of the actual game, but that’s another argument) to keep players from getting debilitating injuries.

But a skateboard? Strap on a helmet. Put on some knee pads, and some pads on your elbows. And then? Ride.

Put that foot on the board, and kick off with the other foot. Stay balanced. Don’t fall.

You can’t be safe on a skateboard.

But you know what you can be? Free.

I imagine skateboarding is riding free. Little restraints. Few things keeping your body from moving in any direction. The only real restriction is your experience.

Life. We can institute every precaution we can in what we do. We can have plans. And then put in back up plans. Then have a few back up plans for our back up plans…

…being vulnerable, this is me. I want to look at every possibility and have a plan for it. I want to know that if A happens, I’m ready. And if B happens, then I’m ready. And if K happens, or P happens, or maybe R happens, then let’s do it, let’s go, I’ve got this. Maybe not the outcome I wanted, but no surprises, right? Ready for anything. And this is a mistake, because I cannot predict every outcome… sometimes I can’t even predict the most logical outcome, the one that makes the most sense, the one that when it happens, I look at it and say, “Yeah, I shoulda thought of that… don’t know why I didn’t think anything else would happen.”

…but to truly do it… to truly go.. to truly move, to get our dreams on the road, to start traveling any road to any success, at some point, we have to be ready to take off the HANs device, undo the beaner holding the tandem skydiver to us, remove the football pads, maybe put on a small bit of protection with a knee pad…

And then ride the skateboard. At some point we have to go ahead, into the unknown, with prayer and hope know that God will bless the efforts and that you can and will be used for His purpose in what your dreams entail.

But its scary. You can’t prepare for everything. You can’t think of everything. You just have to put your foot on the skateboard, then use the other one to kick off.

You can’t be safe on a skateboard.

When it comes to your dreams, your goals, your passions, you should never want to be safe.

Of course, I've ridden Soarin' at Epcot many, many times... I would imagine you can't really be safe on a hang glider as well...

(ps… I am in no way condoning the use of a skateboard, especially if you are of the age when you have no business being on a skateboard… just saying)

(February words: 2,775... 12,225 to go for #15KWordsinFeb...)


  1. Hey buddy. Thanks for the inspiration to write.

  2. Your a writer. You need to write. If you are being honest, you don't really have a choice.


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