Friday, July 3, 2015

Back To The Future On A Skateboard

I'm going back in time on a skateboard because there's no money in the budget to do so in a De Lorean.
It was 30 years ago today that the cinematic classic Back to the Future was released in theaters.
I can remember how excited I was to see it that summer in 1985. Going to the movies in general was a big deal. I eventually ended up working at the movie theater, the State Theater in high school. After working there, the thrill of going to the movies was gone. It was work.
It was the perfect movie for me as I was a big Michael J. Fox fan. To this day I'm still referred to as Alex P. Keaton by some people. I take it as a compliment. and Huey Lewis and the News had a few songs in the soundtrack for the movie. As big a fan I am of theirs, I have never seen them in concert. Although Huey Lewis almost hit me with a wedge on his backswing at Pebble Beach once.
The movie was great, but one thing I wanted more than anything after watching the movie was a skateboard.
So I did what any teenage boy with no spending money would do to get a skateboard. I asked my mom. And mom gave me the answer I heard many times from women in my teenage life, "No!" I would ask girls to sit with them at lunch or ask for their number in school and I heard no a lot.
So I went without the skateboard that summer. The seasons would change and I thought I'd take a chance and ask for a skateboard for Christmas. Mom was always a softie at Christmas, she was certain to deliver this time. I thought wrong. I got everything but the skateboard, although she did tell me the damaging results of owning a skateboard. She made it seem as if I'd be spending a lot of time at the ER at Woodland Memorial Hospital.
I would continue to walk or ride my bike to get around.
But a very important day was coming in the spring of 1986, my birthday! So once again I asked my mom for a skateboard for my 14th birthday.
And once again, I was told no. Hmmmm, what to do?
Ever see those T shirts kids wear that say, "If mom says no, ask (insert cool relative)"?
Well in my case, if mom says no, ask aunt Marcy.
She beat me to the punch. She asked me what I wanted for my present.
I told her K-Mart had the official Back to the Future skateboard for only $14.99.
Before I could describe it in more detail, she said she'd take me to K-Mart and buy it for me.
And she did! I was the proud owner of a Valterra Back to the Future skateboard.
I envisioned myself skating in style all over Woodland with my new board. I was cool....or so I thought.
My friends Sergio and Alvaro came over and I excitedly told them of my birthday present. I then went into the house to show them. "Look at this!", I proudly said.
They laughed at it.
They went on to explain the many skateboards one could choose from, Cabellero, Gonzalez, Powell and Peralta. They were speaking a foreign language. I didn't know there were other boards. I just thought mine was the coolest. It was featured in a Hollywood movie by the way.
After they stopped laughing, Sergio helped himself to my board. He then started grinding on the curb of the sidewalk with it.
"Stop! Your ruining it! Your scratching the paint off it!", I said.
Sergio said, "Your supposed to do this with the board. Your supposed to actually use it you know." I didn't know. I thought I supposed to use it Marty McFly style. The only trick I knew was to kick the tail of the board after you stopped riding it, if you could call that a trick.
After Sergio and Alvaro left, I looked at my scratched up was ruined. The Back to the Future logo was gone. I had to somehow salvage my board.
I then spent my own money at K-Mart and bought a orange can of spray paint. I actually did a good job painting my board orange. Only a little bit of grip tape was orange.
So once again, I proudly showed my friends my new alterated board.
They laughed again. But this time they "borrowed" it.
I'm still waiting to get my board back.
I also would like to think I helped create "The Fro Bros", the famous Woodland skate group. I'm kidding as I say this. They formed themselves into The Fro Bros.
Sergio and Alvaro would eventually go on to bigger and better things in the Woodland skate scene. For a small town, Woodland was a big skate town.
So, you're probably asking, why am I talking about skating and a movie on a sports blog?
I have been asked the question,  is skateboarding a sport? I would answer yes, and so would ESPN. As long ESPN can squeeze a nickel out of a sport, it's a sport.
So if skating is a sport, skaters are jocks. So I guess now I can say I hung out with the jocks in school!
Seriously, I hung out with the skaters, even though I didn't skate. I kept busy after school with yearbook and newspaper. They kept busy skating around town.
Anywhere there was concrete, they'd use it for as the police wouldn't hassel them.
I have heard of the Woodland Ditch, witch was on Beamer Rd. I heard to get there, you had to go in the irrigation ditches by the freeway. I always wanted to go and watch, but I was afraid of the rats they talked about.
They spoke of going to the Chicken Ramp in Grimes. Their roadtrip stories sounded like so much fun. I think they went to the new at the time Davis Skate Park.
They developed a bond on those after school skate sessions and roadtrips.
Kinda like  my friends who played baseball or football, the bond keeps them together despite the passing of time.
I sometimes listen to their stories and laugh along with them, but their laughs are longer and harder because they lived it and experienced it. I always envied them for that. It's kinda hard to get my old high school newspaper and yearbook friends to laugh and tell funny stories. But that's for another post idea I have in mind. (Watching from the Sidelines, coming to a blog post near you!)
Yes, skateboarders are athletes. My friends were always in great shape and I'm sure they all had the best cardiovascular health of anyone around.
Most skaters have the reputation of being rebellious or non confirmists. I'll honestly say they were truly there own people. They marched to a beat of a different drummer. Or shall I say they were drummers who marched to a different beat. They were all great guys and I can proudly say all of them have gone on to be quite successful in their different endeavors in life.
I don't have much use for a skateboard anymore. At a family reunion last year one of my younger cousins had a board and he was showing me tricks. He let me ride on it for a bit. I was very careful as I didn't want to fall off and break something. After all these years I still can't ollie. Now I'm to heavy to do it as when I was younger I was to clumsy and awkward to ollie.
Sometimes at work the kids are out skateboarding in our parking lot or in front of the store. My old boss would tell me to run them off. I know a good skate spot is hard to find. I just tell them to be careful and don't break any merchandise out front.
And this story began 30 years ago today.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna listen to Huey Lewis and the News, go back in time and get my skateboard back!

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