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Editorial: Zen and the Art of Skateboarding

I've always thought of skateboarding as a spiritual experience. Maybe that's overstating things, but ever since high school, I can remember thinking that skateboarding was a great way to relieve stress. Looking back I can't imagine what I had to be stressed about. Then again, there was girls, parents, schools, girls, whether I was masturbating too much, girls, trying to keep from getting busted for all the stuff I was into at the time, oh yeah, and did I mention girls. These things seem trivial now, but I'm sure they were real at the time. But even back then, I remember thinking that skateboarding made it better.

I guess that it's the nature of skateboarding in that it's dangerous. Not dangerous in the sense of "you're gonna break your neck," as your mother used to say, but if you skate long enough, eventually you fall. And falling on concrete hurts. You learn from experience that the best way to keep from falling is to focus on what you are doing. You know that if you let your mind wander, you are bound to take a spill.

You find yourself trying to judge the best way to traverse that nasty crack in the sidewalk or looking back up the hill you're carving to make sure that no cars sneak up on you or making sure that the kid at the skatepark is really going the way you think he is, so you don't have to alter your line. And you do this almost continually the whole time you are skating.

When you get done, not only have you got some exercise and had the fun of skating, but you've managed to clear your mind of all of life's worries. You haven't been thinking about the job or the boss or the bills or the wife and kids. And maybe, just maybe, these things don't seem quite as important as they did.

Yeah, I can just see trying that on the bank officer, "Yes, I know that I'm three months behind on my mortgage, but I just pulled off the most epic Coleman slide, 15 feet, straightened it out and kept going. Coned out my new Kryptonics on the first run down the hill. Now, about that extension on my loan, ...."

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Nose Wheelie, except where noted otherwise, was written and created by Chris Sturhann.
Copyright © 1999 Chris Sturhann