I grew up with skateboard flicks and Thrasher magazine, but as the years passed, all my friends kept getting better while I was stuck at the same level. When inline skating first came out I saw it as a chance to get out from my friend’s shadows, so I jumped ship and bought a pair of Lightning TRSs. I was actually getting pretty good at it. I could jump much higher on skates than I could ever ollie on a board and I was catching air (some) air on my 4 foot quarter pipe. Our small town didn’t have a skate park, but I talked my mom into taking the 90 minute drive to the nearest skateboard park. I was fourteen and was mostly only familiar with street skating, but still had a blast. The ramps were all covered with metal, which didn’t effect the skateboarders much, but felt insanely slick to my inline wheels. At the end of the day, my mom asked me to drop in to one of the half pipes for a photo op. I was a little hesitant, partly because of the slick surface, but mostly because I had never actually dropped in. I pulled up to the edge of the rail on the 5 foot half pipe and leaned forward… as I feared, my wheels where no match for the slick surface. Instead of gracefully rolling in, my right foot twisted sideways as if I was sliding on ice, by the time I hit the bottom of the ramp, my left leg came down hard on my already twisted right foot as if creasing the fold in a sheet of paper. I fucked up my leg pretty bad and never picked skating back up.
10 years later, I was working in the Mall of America at Air Traffic Kites and Games in Minnesota. On summer day I start thinking about skating and remembered that I never successfully dropped into a half pipe. By the end of the day I had purchased a fresh pair of Rollerblade skates and was heading to Minneapolis’s skate park. Despite being out of shape, I was actually doing pretty well. Able to pick up speed quickly and having a blast on launch ramps and quarter pipes, but I was there on a mission. All of the park’s half pipes were getting use, but the park’s bowl lay dormant for some reason. So I pulled up to the lip, committed to the drop, and leaned forward. It was a blast, and so freaking easy. I had complete control and tons of speed as I pumped through the bowl’s curves. I finally came to rest in the bottom of the bowl, totally psyched to have finally dropped in after giving up 10 years ago. Tired and ready to call it a day I tried to get out, but couldn’t. My legs had not yet gotten strong enough to really start skating well again, and the bowl’s walls were very steep.
I was 24, wearing a brand new pair of rollerblades, and stuck in the bottom of a 12 foot pool at a skatepark.
After about ten minutes of trying to get out a couple kids had started lining up, asking me to get out so they could skate some. Finally one of the park’s employees came by to help pull me out. It was both the highest point and lowest point of my skating hobby, but despite the embarrassment of being pulled out of a bowl in front of a bunch of kids, I did keep skating for a few years. Eventually dropping in and back out of the park’s many half pipes and bowls.