Guide to Overcoming Klutzdom
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
What is the difference between a roadblock and a stepping stone? What you do with it.
My favorite sports are skiing and snowboarding. Living on the Big Island of Hawaii, I obviously rarely get a chance to do these. I'm not particularly talented in sports; I'm healthy, somewhat strong, and reasonably coordinated, but that's it. My problem is I get scared very easily. So even though I live for those rare moments I get to shred / ski Mauna Kea and attend High Cascade Snowboard Camp, frankly, I'm always scared to death when I go. As a result, I'm not very good, and I progress slowly. So I try to ease into those sports by cross training. The way I do that is rollerblading for skiing, and practicing on a skateboard for snowboarding.
I found a great place to practice skateboarding at a high school campus. It has several long ramps for wheelchair-bound students that are absolutely perfect for new learners and sissies like me, especially since there are rails to grab onto to slow myself down. To make matters even better, awnings cover all the ramps, so I could practice even when it rained.
One Saturday last May, I was practicing on one of them when I was approached by a cop. He told me what I was doing was illegal. I told him I didn't see any signs prohibiting this. He said there was a sign in front of the school. He then asked for my name, address, date of birth, etc. That made me nervous. At first, I gave him fake information, but he sensed that and got mad, so I told him the truth, adding that I was just a harmless old lady who was trying to keep from getting fat. Later, my counselor told me he was just going to enter the info into the police data base, and I'd better not skate on any more school campuses, or I could be in real trouble.
So I found a great cul-de-sac to skate on. It's one big hill, 1/4 mile long. Last Thursday, I was feeling exceptionally tired, so I ended my skate session there early. It's a good thing I did, because as I was getting into my car, two cops pull up and say, "Don't tell us you're skateboarding here - please don't tell us!" They were acting threateningly. Innocently, I said I was on my way home. They told me it was illegal to skate on the street. Once again, I said I saw no posted signs. They said it was a county ordinance; the only place I could legally skate was in a skate park. So I left, calling my friend in Oregon and telling her I wished I lived there, but she said they had the same law in Oregon, too.
In spite of the fact that I dropped into an 18 inch halfpipe last June at HCSC, and skated a foot high pyramid there summer of last year, I still felt in no way ready for any skate park. Still, I had no choice. I think I've become sort of famous here, since there aren't too many African American women on this island, and I'm sure I'm the only one who skateboards. So if I skate in any more illegal areas, I'm bound to be arrested. So I checked out the two parks closest to me. Pahoa's is 20 miles away, and Volcano's is 26. Both looked equally threatening.
Today, I called a friend of mine who lives nearer to both parks, and asked her to join me for moral support. She agreed. So we went to Volcano, and she tried to help me rock a halfpipe, but I just wasn't getting it. So I asked for her help in skating down a pyramid that was 3 feet high - 3 times the highest one I've ever done! I had her push me up it a bunch of times, then hold onto me to slow me down when I finally dropped in. Then I dropped in by myself! In doing so, I found it's best to practice rocking the halfpipe if you drop in first, because it gives you the best momentum.
We met a great guy there, who gave me tips. I wound up giving him a ride to the highway, then I took my friend to lunch. She’s an alcoholic who wants to overcome her addiction, and I told her doing stuff like this is a great way, because it gives you a high no drug can match. She's eager to help me next week. I told her to get some protective gear, and she can use my rollerblades while I skateboard.
So, rather than let those restrictive laws ruin my skateboarding, I actually used them to advance! And I may even help a friend as well!
As you see, I’m a great believer in easing into new and frightening situations. I will be writing other chapters addressing how to overcome fear.
Me, Rolling Into the 3-foot Pyramid at Volcano Skate Park
Talk about courage! This is the story of someone who nearly died, only to go on to become an Olympic snowboarder. He also was instrumental in getting the sport into the Olympics in the first place.