Snowboarding in the half-pipe.
It’s not that I’m old or past my prime or out of touch. It’s just that back in my day, before cell phones, color TV, and breakfast burritos, the Winter Olympics was about skiing, ice skating, and curling. That’s about it.
In these modern winter games are sports and competitions that I used to think of as hobbies and kid’s activities. Just the same, last night I watched Shaun White win the gold for the third time in four Olympics. It was exciting to watch, amazing to see, and incredible what those guys could do on a snowboard.
My maternal grandmother gave me my first skateboard. It was in the 60’s and I was maybe eight years old. I think it was a Christmas present.
Skateboards were all the rage. We didn’t think we were skiing, we thought we were surfing, just like the Beach Boys. But watching the competition last night, I heard terms and phrases that came right out of the skateboard culture. It was cool.
You bet it was. I skateboarded everywhere. Every time I hit a small pebble it was like putting on the brakes and I would be launched off the board and onto the sidewalk. This was before knee pads, elbow pads, and helmets. I was always banged up, missing skin on my knees, and bruised. We were idiots. Maybe that explains some things. But I loved it.
We built ramps to jump and set up all kinds of little race tracks. It was summertime in Phoenix, Arizona and we wore denim cut offs, with no shoes or shirts. And no sun screen. We were idiots. Maybe that explains some things.
I congratulate Shaun on his amazing achievement and want to say good luck to our whole Olympic team. You guys are doing great.
But 55 years ago, my two friends and I were paving the way for your success.