Monday, May 03, 2010

Calvin at the Skatepark

I wrote this the other day when I took Calvin to a park near the house that has a skateboarding area.

Calvin has his blue bike helmet strapped on over his purple Washington Huskies hoodie. There are less than half a dozen other youth with scooters and about a dozen older youth with skate boards. Jeans and hoodies are the uniform most wear here. Younger kids will have color; older are all black or dark blue. Younger kids have helmets; older have abandoned them.

The smack of wheels and decks hitting the ground is a counterpoint to the drone of the wheels rolling up and down the slopes. Somehow they manage to stay out of each other’s way and most all of the accidents are single person wrecks – usually a skate boarder flubbing an ollie, grind or jump. Click, clack, slap and the occasional groan from the crowd as someone lands wrong on the concrete; almost always they pop right back up oblivious to the facts or pain of the situation. The younger kids are not so stoic and the wail of the more adventurous can be heard as they try and fail to get to the top of the half-pipe; successfully navigated by older skateboarders.

Calvin will sometimes buddy-up with other scooter riders; making a circuit around the skateboarding area or racing around the trail at the edge of the park for walkers and bike riders. Sometimes they are school friends but that’s not a requirement. After a few laps they’ll stop and practice hanging out. There are several low walls around the edge of the skate park that can be used for grinding but more often server as a bench for a shifting cast catching their breaths and kibitzing about the performances of others.

If there are no accidents, Calvin can do this dance of wheels and flesh nearly indefinitely. He’s still young enough to want to go on the merry-go-round before leaving. I’ll often be drafted to “push harder” or “go faster” to make his enjoyment and my exhaustion continue. His other favorite activity is to climb a tall tree that is near the skate park. Today he’s made friends with two brothers; he’s never seen them before. After scootering around for a while and climbing the tree, they pull a couple of Nerf swords out of their car and they trade off swashbuckling until it is time to go. Even after all of this he still asks to go on the merry-go-round but isn’t disappointed when I tell him we need to leave and he spent his merry-go-round time playing swords with his new friends.

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