On the evening of February the 21st this year I suffered the misfortune of splitting my left elbow open whilst attempting a skateboarding trick. It stung at the time and, once my pads were off, I was horrified to see a gaping cut at my elbow joint.
Whenever I get hurt, I don’t really get fixated on the pain in the moment unless it’s excruciating. Usually my mind projects ahead, thinking about the near term impact the injury will have and I immediately begin working out when I can expect to recover. A couple of years back I had to make a calculated bail whilst skating in the same pool at the skatepark, landing awkwardly on my right heel (in a pair of Vans I never skated in again) and right from the moment of impact I thought; “Damn it! That’ll be two weeks at least.” I was wrong, it was closer to a month before I could walk properly on it again, but the instant self assessment is something of a gut reaction regardless of the accuracy.
When I saw my split elbow in the mirror and then the reaction of the guys at the reception in the skatepark as I was patched up, I tentatively figured I’d be out for two or three weeks at best whilst my body repaired itself. Unfortunately, a week later my arm had become painfully swollen and I was put on an emergency course of antibiotics, double the normal dose, to help fight off the aggressive infection that had taken hold.
Interesting to see the mostly positive effects of children experiencing skateboarding for the first time in Afghanistan.
Skating really is a sport that crosses the class barrier, and is favourable towards the poorer or working class in terms of accessibility – all you need is a deck and you’re good to go. When I first started in the early 80’s I had a cheap green plastic deck that I think I swapped a friend something for and it did the job for me to learn the basics of skating. Not that it mattered where it came from, as back then pretty much everybody was skating similar plastic decks that would shatter under a heavy impact.
In that regard, it’s a shift to the opposite end of the spectrum from one of my other favourite sports – tennis. When I was in my teens and a member of my local tennis club, I always found that the other kids – generally from the middle and upper classes of the area – had much better clothes and equipment than myself. I was using a metal hand-me-down raquet that vibrated like a big tuning fork as I struck the ball, when the rest of them were using carbon fibre and other exotic materials. (It made it all the more satisfying when I occasionally beat one of them – rare occurrence, sadly!)
Of course, nowadays both my tennis racket and my skateboard are made from exotic materials and cost a good bit more than your budget variety. Hasn’t improved my skills at either sports, sadly, but it does always make me smile at a skate park to see some kid tearing up the place on a board that looks like it was found in the trash. 🙂