Getting out there

Yesterday I bought plane tickets to London.

Let’s start a little further back.

As longtime readers of this blog will know, back in about 1999 I started a skateboarding website called “Bob’s Trick Tips”. Twas a simple site, with tiny videos of skateboard tricks, and still image captures breaking down the tricks into instructional material. It was popular. It’s not there anymore.

medlogoEventually I added a message board to the site. At one point, that message board had thousands of members. At any odd time of the day or night you could log on and there would be upwards of 2000 people on it, all talking about skateboarding.  These were people from all over the world, which really was kind of amazing. I had no idea when I was creating any of that website that it would become, for several years, a international hub for skateboarding discussion.

One group of skaters on the message board was a gaggle of scraggly young Brits who had apparently discovered freestyle, to some extent, through my site. They were funny, smart, argumentative, difficult, loyal, and fun. I just found out last night that they arranged the first of their freestyle meet-ups through the message board.

With the development of social media, message forums like my old one are mostly played-out, but in the intervening years social media has allowed me to keep up with most of those British kids as they’ve grown to adulthood. I’ve gotten to know them. One of them has been, for a couple of years now, my partner on the Freestyle Podcast.

Sooo…the other night I was watching this show about “end of life decisions”. One of the patients was a 42-year old man with brain cancer, who of course died. Now, about five years ago my father died of GBM, probably the worst kind of brain cancer. Well, maybe the best, as it tends to kill you fast rather than torturing you for years, but I digress. Watching that show was tough. It brought up a lot of feelings I normally keep under pretty tight control. Besides the usual memories of being with my dad during those last months, it made me feel — not frightened of death — but just questioning what the hell I am doing with my time.

When I got up the next morning I checked out round-trip plane fare to London. It was not that much. If I could stay with my friend Tony (my podcasting partner), lodging would be paid for.

I thought “I am 50 years old. What am I waiting on? That guy on the TV was dead at 42. I was lucky enough to be born into a place and time in which I can get a passport and travel pretty much anywhere I want to go. I need to get all Henry Rollins on this shit and get on the move! ”

I messaged Tony, and he said yes, come on, it will be rad, so I hit “purchase” on those tickets.

I’m going. After all these years, I will get to meet and skate with these friends (most in their late 20s now). I could hardly sleep last night.

Will report more on this in a few months, when it happens. I can hardly sit still.


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