Thursday, May 30, 2024

Returning to the Source

 

[Rough draft of something I will edit and suss-out a bit more in near future]

 

I started skateboarding in 1985. I was 11-years-old. It is now 2024. I turned 50 last month. That means I’ve been skating for…39 years. 39 fucking years. After all that time, and so-called “experience,” I sit here still trying to figure out how I “relate” to skateboarding. “Relate” is such an inaccurate word. I don’t know what word I am really looking for here, or if the proper one even exists. All things that come close: Resonate. Integrate. Inter-relate. Experience. Personify. Allow-to-Flourish. Associate. Bring Forth. Present. All of these are somewhat appropriate, but none of them individually, or collectively, really hit the mark. Skateboarding, like life, is this big abstract phenomena, and things of that nature often fall outside the scope of language. I suppose that’s why two of my favorite philosophers (Lao Tzu and Heidegger) often dwelled on the limits of language. If this written blog is to focus on my relationship to skateboarding (in my “twilight years”), I’m off to a bad start if I freely admit the words utterly fail. So, let’s cast words aside for the moment, and move to something else: emotion(s).

 

Various forms of social media now suggest “reels” to people (thanks, insipid algorithms). Of no surprise, my “suggestions” are often modern skate clips. I occasionally look at them. Why, I don’t know. They always fill me emotion, and not good ones. Remorse. Sadness. Contempt. Alienation. Disgust. Indifference. Disdain. Despondency. Heartache. Mournfulness. And that’s just to name a few.

 

If you understand why I have those feelings, no further explanation is needed. If you don’t understand it, I am not sure any explanation is possible.

 

Well, a few days ago I saw something that was the opposite of all that. Navs (Darren Navarrette, the renowned vert skater) has been posting something totally out of the norm: Him riding a very old-school “pig” deck, doing some very “old-school” skating on some mellow banks, ditches, and other assorted street stuff. It was some of the most refreshing and fun-looking skateboarding I’ve seen in quite some time. And of course, me being me, I have been perseverating over the question “why?” Why was this refreshing? Why did I like it? Why was it magical? Why did it give me the emotional reaction it did? After a few days, I think I have a few answers.

 

·      There is no pageantry of difficulty or daredevil-ness.

·      It’s an overt counter-narrative to accepted (skate) norms (what I always liked about skateboard in re to larger society).

·      It’s clearly being done for pure, unadulterated, fun.

·      It’s “beginners mind.”

·      There is no cool-guy element.

·      It’s accessible and relatable.

·      It’s full-circle, return-to-the-source-energy.

 

All of these things hit somewhere very deep, at least to me. They are elements of the skateboarding I knew and loved. elements that have seemed to been lost to time…and mainstream normalization of the “sport.”

 

[Yes. That is it. That is what I am really trying to do now, at this stage of my skate life, and with this blog…is re-kindle, re-ignite, dis-cover, etc. those elements of skateboarding I knew as kid. To be clear, I do not wish to “relive the old days.” But rather, I want to better tap an old, ancient, and timeless Stoke that has been somewhat obscured with time. Hah. I think Heidegger basically had the same objective with the original concepts of Being and ontology, but he didn’t skate, so what does he know? Lao Tzu says it well in Chapter 16 of the Tao The Ching, “Returning to the source is serenity.”

 

I think, if anything, this blog will serve to be a chronical of my attempts to return to that source. Navs has pointed the moon. It is currently 11:52pm. Time to go roll for a bit under the star light.]   

 

 

 

Thursday, May 23, 2024

The Chasm Between

It’s my day off from work. It’s raining out. I was just laying on my bed, wasting time while waiting for the laundry to be done, scrolling through Instagram (e.g. looking at skate clips). Yes, this is the 50-year-old, 2024 version, of flipping through Thrasher back issues after school on a rainy afternoon. Not much has changed. Everything has changed. 

 These days when I look at skate clips, I am both quickly bored and disenfranchised. It’s amazing how little skate content there is these days that gets me “stoked” or inspired to go skating. Well, strike that. I should say how little “modern” footage there is. I mean once you’ve seen Jaws kickflip melon-grab 25 stairs, Daewon skate a ledge or mini ramp, Jamie Foy skate a handrail, or Burnquist/Way skate a mega ramp….what's left? Beyond that, everything just feels like watching someone play Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. It’s just so…bland, despite astronomical difficulty. I forget who said it, but, “It’s disheartening to have a culture you loved become something you find contemptuous and alienated from.” 

 “The skateboarding I see in Thrasher has very little in common with the activity I enjoy. I don't have any sort of hate in my heart for either of those things, it just doesn't apply to me.” -Chris Castle   

It’s about time to go take the laundry out, so my time here is short. But suffice to say, much of what I anticipate sussing out in this blog is how this dinosaur (e.g. me) relates to both the modern (and historical) world (and experience), of skateboarding…and scrolling through Instagram a few minutes ago reminded me of the gap between what currently is, and what personally resonates. The chasm between those two could not be wider. 


Anyway, time to go fold shirts.

 

Here is a photo of my friend Ben, that resonates...

 



Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Welcome to the Twilight Sessions

Last month was my 50th birthday. That 16-year-old skate rat I used to see in the bathroom mirror...somehow turned into an old man. Yet, here I am...still alive, and more miraculously, still skateboarding. I've started several blogs over the years, and here is yet another one. Why another one? My other main skate blog (Concrete Existence) started as one thing, and evolved into something else (much like everything in life). Over the last year or so, I knew I wanted to start writing more about skateboarding, and life, from the decidedly other side youth. Moreover, I wanted to write in a different tone, and on different subjects than I've been dealing with over at Concrete Existence. I had actually stopped updating my other blogs that often because I was sort of looking for a new "voice," if you will. I think I have found it (at least for now). So, with all those considerations, it just seemed making a clean break / starting a new blog was the best way forward. So, here we are...welcome to The Twilight Sessions.     

What subject matter will be covered here? I will mostly focus on the cultural, historical, philosophical, and existential musing of being an "older" skater. I will certainly still keep posting more general skate stuff (product reviews, DIY stuff, etc.) over at Concrete Existence, but the more personal stuff will be here in The Twilight Sessions.

The pic below is me doing a 5-0 on my 50th (4/17/2027).  



Returning to the Source

  [Rough draft of something I will edit and suss-out a bit more in near future]   I started skateboarding in 1985. I w...