Taking the PlungePosted: July 2, 2012 | |
Back when I was kid I used to skateboard. I was pretty good at it too. I started in 7th grade and quit after an injury about 5 years later. I was watching a documentary on a skater on IFC the other night, and there was a scene where a grom (young kid) was dropping in to a dork ramp for the first time. He ate it. Lol. EVERYONE bails their first drop in. That’s why everyone stops and let’s a noob drop in. It’s a right of passage. The first time I dropped in I bailed and of course everyone laughed. I finally nailed it on my third try. I was decent on a do….oh- sorry. A dork ramp is simply a ramp without any vertical. It can be 4 feet tall, it can be 6 feet tall. It’s also called a quarter-pipe. Anything with vertical is typically called a half-pipe. Well, eventually I made friends with this guy Iggy who owned the legendary “Monsoon Ramp”. It was 10 foot of transition (the curved part) and 2 feet of vertical. The thing was a fucking BEAST. Only the the elite rode Monsoon. I used to watch contests from Iggy’s bedroom window. Eventually, I worked up the nerve to skate it. Once I was able to compress to the coping (the metal pipe placed on the edge of the ramp), I was told I needed to drop in. Well, Monsoon had a channel, which allows you to roll into the ramp without dropping in. After I was comfy with rolling in I was ORDERED to drop in. Now, I wore a helmet, and knee/elbow pads for Monsoon (you kind of have to with big ramps), and stepped up to drop in. I had EVERY big name skater in the tribe watch my freshman ass about to fall and go owwie. My heart was fucking pounding as I looked down at the drop. Iggy leaned over and said, “Dude just go. You’re going to eat it. It’s ok. But the longer you stare at it, the worse it gets.” I held my breath, said a quick prayer, and dropped in.
I went careening onto a death roll down half the ramp. The backyard erupted in laughter and cheers. I got up, Iggy asked if I were ok, and told me to come up and try again.
As I climbed up the massive ramp, a few guys took runs and skated until I got ready. I set my board and again….DEAD SILENCE. I took a breath and dropped in and…….I made it. I rolled up the opposing transition and all I could hear was cheering and boards being pounded onto the ramp (it’s how skaters clap) as I 50-50 the other side.
I had done it. I slayed the dragon.
I never really realized how important the lesson I learned from that day until recently. But it taught me a lesson no one can teach you, that you have to stare down and battle against. And it’s a beast that can kill and consume you if you don’t slay it early.
Self-doubt. NOTHING is impossible. NOTHING is unattainable. It may come at a cost. It might hurt, but I CAN be done. On that day I made a profound transformation and I was only 13-14 at the time. I had earned a place among the tribe. I “rode the Monsoon” and it wasn’t something a lot of people would even attempt. It didn’t matter if I rode well and couldn’t do a ton of tricks, I dropped in, and skated it.
The guy that taught me to surf said he only rode a big wave once- In Hawaii. Said he paddled out, got into the line-up and when the locals let him surf he took a wave. Said he had a about a 6-7 second ride and he paddle back in. Said that was it for him. He can say he big-wave surfed- and it scared the hell out him. I told him this story and he laughed and said it made perfect sense.
It’s unfortunate that men really don’t experience moments like this anymore. There’s no rite of passage, nothing. And as men, we NEED it. Now I realize why boot-camp was such a joke for me. There was no breaking me. I didn’t need to be tested to find out my limits.
I was already battle tested.
I’m started therapy for my insane mood swings and the Doc wants me to keep a journal. I told him about the blog and said it would suffice. So I guess you readers get to experience my psycho-therapy. I’ve already had my initial visit with him and he’s a VERY cool guy. We went over what I think is bothering me and it all comes down to one thing: I’m burnt out on the Navy.
Thank God I have just over a year left.
I’d also like to offer a prayer for TV Munson’s passing, and keep Dogsquat in your thoughts as he works in a very hazardous and dangerous job site at the moment.