Two weeks ago I was skating the little ditch near my house — the one I’ve been skating since about 1978 – and I ate it. Rolling in, about halfway down the wall, I hit a little rock and got pitched.
I’m 50. Yeah, I know I mention that a lot. I think it is often relevant. You see, I got up and kept skating. The slam pissed me off. I got back up, kicked that goddamn rock out of the ditch, rolled right back in, and skated for another hour. Most dudes my age can hardly get out of their chair. So that’s why I mention my age.
I’m not going to lie. I don’t like falling. I don’t like getting hurt any more than the next guy. If someone says “You know, I hate falling and I’m done with this” I totally understand. There have been plenty of times when I slammed harder than this and just packed it up for the day. Slams that just knocked the fight out of me and reminded me that gravity and the concrete are actually in control. Frankly, I’ve taken shots in the shin from my freestyle board that dropped me right then and there to the ground gasping for air. BUT — getting back up and continuing to skate two weeks ago was killer. I did, in fact, think about just leaving. But I didn’t. I got mad and kept skating.
After taking that slam, and surviving, the rest of the skating was better. All day it was better. For the rest of that ditch session I was looser and faster. At the parking garage where I sometimes go to street skate I skated better. Getting the shit knocked out of you, shaking it off, and continuing to skate can really put you in the right frame of mind and give you the right perspective. You fall, it hurts, you didn’t die, and you keep skating. Some slams are worse than others, but after many years, I’ve decided that if you can go on skating, you should.
You see, most normal humans live in mortal fear of getting hurt. They avoid injury even if it means avoiding fun too. This is natural. This is the survival/breeding instinct in action. Survive to live/breed/raise kids/grandchildren another day. Seek pleasure avoid pain. But that doesn’t mean it’s always the right course of action.
There seems to be very little in the basic survival programming about accomplishment. Sometimes you have to just say “fuck it” and keep doing the possibly injurious thing, because even that fall will lift you up in the end.