The Skateboard Moms' Blog

A Blog by Women Skaters, for People Everywhere.

… so, that’s why i decided to start skateboarding. January 28, 2009

pattiwheeling

i watched shaun white win his gold medal on the halfpipe at the winter olympics in nagano. he looked like he was having so much fun!  he was always laughing and joking around, even during the stiffest competition of his life.

i was 39, and i was tired. i had spent my whole life working 60-80 hours a week, volunteering in my off time, and raising a kid. i rarely laughed, and i yelled at my 6-year-old daughter more than i wanted to admit. i wanted to have more fun, and be silly like the Flying Tomato! i thought about learning to snowboard, but there’s no snow here. then i saw shaun do a mctwist on a skateboard, and that’s all it took! i wanted to know what it was like to fly in the air like that. i knew i’d have to work hard. i figured it would take about a year to learn to skate like shaun white. 

one day, i asked my dad to take care of my daughter, and drove to the local skate shop. i parked the car and took a deep breath. i prepared myself for ridicule. i didn’t know anyone who skated, and i was sure there were no adult skaters in my area. i walked in and told the 17-year-old street skater behind the counter that i wanted to learn to skate ramps and bowls. i had no idea what to buy, i had never set foot on a skateboard. the store clerk stared at me for a good minute (or what seemed like it), and then went to work. he showed me different boards, trucks and wheels. he explained the virtues of each, and let me choose after narrowing the selection down to two or three. an hour later, i had a really nice first setup. he suggested that i buy a helmet and some pads, as well as some special shoes. i thought all of that might be unnecessary, but followed his advice anyway. the store owner rang me up. he said that i’ll fall a lot at first, and that most women prefer longboarding.

i took my shiny new board home, and stood on it for the first time in the living room, on the carpet. i fell almost immediately, and my dad laughed. my wrists hurt! i laughed too.

see? it was already working. 

in the last three years, my job has been on autopilot, i’ve quit most of my volunteer work, and i’ve suffered more injuries than i have in all my other years put together, all the direct result of skating. it makes me sad sometimes when i think of what’s gone, but i can’t say that i regret any of it. for the first time, i’m being true to myself. i’ve laughed more, learned more and loved more than i have in all my other years put together. and i don’t yell at my daughter anymore.

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Are you ready to drop in? June 19, 2008

by Patti

When I was a brand newbie, I obsessed about learning to drop in.  I thought of nothing else.  I had to do it, and I couldn’t move on until I did.

And, eventually, I learned, after many painful, failed attempts.  I think I had been skating about 4 months when I finally dropped in successfully.

(more…)

 

Better Parenting Through Skating April 2, 2008

Filed under: extreme sports,kids,moms,mothers,skateboarding,women — skateboardmoms @ 4:26 pm
Tags: , , ,

by Karen Rennie

I have been asked many times why I let my young son skateboard. People suggest he might pick up bad habits or foul language from the older kids who skate. My response is always that hanging out with skaters has made my son Chris a better person.

“Isn’t he missing a lot by not playing TEAM sports?”
I hear that question all the time. We have done the soccer and baseball thing. We paid the money to join leagues that other parents didn’t want to volunteer for. We learned that the soccer commissioner was hiding money, the baseball commissioner was stacking his team with the leagues best players only to be certain that that the opposing team cheated when his “superteam” lost. When adults started expecting their kids to “toughen up” (There’s no crying in baseball) while they coached them with loud voices and pointed fingers in faces, we decided that this team sport thing was really cutting into our family time and values.

Watching Chris’ continued attempts to use a pitching machine long after her son gave up, a playmates mom asked me how I taught Chris to persevere. I am certain that he learned perseverance at the skatepark. He learned at a very early age that the key to success is practice. At age 4 my son would try all day to land the same trick. If he didn’t succeed, he would return the next day to try again. You don’t walk into a skatepark and drop into a ramp the very first time. You have to fall. You have to pick yourself up. You have to figure out what you did wrong and correct the problem.

When Chris did finally land a trick he had attempted for days, the other skaters would cheer- not because he was doing something no one else could do- but because he achieved a personal best. Skateboarding teaches you to set personal goals and to cheer on those who achieve them. It doesn’t matter if you are landing a 720 over a 20-foot gap, or you are landing your very first kickflip. If you have tried to achieve something you set your mind to and practiced again and again- the skate community is there to cheer for you and congratulate you. People that skate together often are a team; they are a team of people working to achieve their personal best.

“How did he learn to skate like that?”
Skaters share secrets. Skaters teach each other. Skaters seem to only complete seriously with each other for money, and usually in a friendly manner. Ever watch a televised skating event? Notice how the people competing seem to know each other and cheer each other on? That’s because when big business isn’t involved in offering tons of money to these skaters to skate against each other, they are usually skating with each other. They were probably together at a backyard ramp or pool the week before the competition skating together.

In backyards across the neighborhood my son has developed an understanding of protocol, hierarchy. He shows respect for elders- and just people in general. You can’t just walk into someone’s backyard and drop into his or her pool or ramp. You have to be invited. You have to show respect. You don’t just assume you have a right to skate there. No one owes you anything. You have to earn the privilege to skate there by showing respect and waiting your turn. You have to be a good enough person for someone to invite you along in the first place.

In skateparks it’s a little more difficult- but the end result is usually the same. There are those parents who use the skateparks as “concrete babysitters”. Parents who drop their kids off at the park on their way to the manicurist or to go have a beer at the sports bar. These are the same parents who don’t want to do their volunteer work for the soccer league. The difference is that eventually the skate community will teach these kids how to behave. Even if the parents don’t want to watch their kids to cheer them on, the other skaters will, and eventually the kids will want to be accepted in the skating community. If they continue to have a bad attitude, they won’t have anyone to skate with. They won’t be invited to the backyard ramp, or they will be vibed out of the park.

I’ve been asked so often if I am afraid of him getting hurt. Of course I am. As a mother I am afraid every day for his safety. But I have to say; he has gotten hurt much more severely just walking off the back porch and not paying attention. When he’s skating he wears pads and a helmet and he has a deep mental focus on what he is doing. I believe it is safer than chasing a ball at high speed during an intense competition with no pads.

“What about the older kids he is exposed to?”
In team sports the kids are grouped together by similar age. I have to say that I’m not sure if competition among similarly aged kids is a good thing. When each kid is expected to conform to a group and vying for the coaches or parents attention, there can be a lot of bullying. In skating- the older kids are just happy to see a young kid getting excited about skating. I have been told more than once by these older kids that they wished they had a mom that supported their skating.
I tell them someday they will be better parents through skateboarding.

At schools where they are trying to find a way to have “sports” without competition- skateboarding is the answer. If we want to build confidence in our kids, and get them involved in a physical activity, we should have skating as an after school activity in our elementary schools. The best thing we can do for our community is build more skateparks.

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Karen, her husband, and her son Chris in the Ridiculous Pool!

 

Togetherness November 17, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — skateboardmoms @ 1:11 am

If you’ve read anything about women who skateboard, you’ll know that for each person skateboarding means a multitude of things.

For some it’s their meditation, or their chance to bond with friends, or an opportunity to push themselves or any combination of these and many other things. For me it really depends on the day as to what it is, but anytime I am at the park with my family it’s a good opportunity to bond with my children and share something we really love to do.

Being in a sport that really focuses on individualism, my kids and I certainly don’t skate hand in hand. My son is usually over at the big bowl dropping in the deep side trying to do something new and daring. My daughter is often zipping through the parts of the park she likes or challenging herself to go higher and higher in the vert ramp. I’m usually pushing myself to do just one new thing each time we are at the park even if it’s small. We do our own thing.

That being said we are there for one another to cheer on, sympathize through the falls and have a good laugh. There is nothing better than showing my children that I learned something new and having them cheer me on, and vice versa. Our time at the skate park is not just about what we do as individuals, but rather a time for us to share, bond and enjoy one another’s accomplishments.

As my children grow older and move into being teenagers, I can only hope that this time together is something we can share. Even when they want their distance the skatepark and the sport of skateboarding will allow for that. Skateboarding will always be what I need it to be personally whether that’s flow, challenge, or meditation. I can only hope it is also always a chance for me to spend time with my children.

Smoooochie with kidsSmoooochie with kidsSmoooochie with kidsSmoooochie with kidsSmoooochie with kids

—Smoooochie in CO

 

Just cruising November 9, 2007

Filed under: extreme sports,moms,skateboarding,women — skateboardmoms @ 9:06 pm

Karen & Barb, post-zooming.

Skateboarding has always been a touchstone for me. I got my first skateboard at age 10 (long, long ago) and spent much of my time with my best friend, Denice, cruising around our neighborhood, acting like we were surfing the waves of Waimea as we zoomed down freshly-paved asphalt streets on clay wheels and solid wood decks with no grip tape (that’s what the gummy soles of our Van’s were made for, ya know).

So even now, when I get on my board, the feeling of happy days return.

Maybe that’s why lately I’ve been far more interested in just…skating. When I got back into the sport in 2004, I caught the bug to learn new tricks, to drop in, etc. I hired seriously awesome pro Kim Petersen to coach me for a few sessions.

But somewhere along the line, I either got restless with the mechanics of it all, or too chicken to push myself, or…something. And suddenly the urge for a long strip of smooth asphalt crept back into my consciousness. I began hankering for pure, unadulterated F-L-O-W, the feeling of zooming, the essence of skateboarding, the touchstone of my happy childhood.

I salute and cheer for all who push their limits, learn new tricks, inspire us, amaze us, and are somehow not swayed by slams (or the fear thereof!). I’m thrilled that there is now a body of women to show the world what we can do on a skateboard. And I’m happy as hell that I can watch from the sidelines, applauding all of you for taking risks big and small, while I go back to an earlier time and just…zoom.

Later skaters!

–Barb, pictured above with skate mom Karen, enjoying our post-zooming buzz after skating the hills in Newport Beach, Calif. on a foggy November day.

 

Courage. November 5, 2007

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 Skatemom Ji, rock to fakie, in California.

“Courage does not always roar.  Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’ ”  — Mary Anne Radmacher

 

What will you do today? November 1, 2007

jean21.jpg 

Skatemom Jean from Arizona, doing what she loves most in Mexico

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

 

 
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