Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Blood, Sweat and Tears.

July 2, 2010 quickly became the worst day of my life. July 2 was the day I said goodbye to my love, my passion, my dream, my skateboard.

I always considered myself to be invincible. That doesn’t mean I never got hurt, but I always got back on my feet. Hell, I’ve broken both ankles 4 times each, fractured both of my wrists twice, been stitched up more than a handful of times, and the list continues. But like I said, I always got back up, and I always returned to my skateboard.

Skateboarding was my addiction, my stress reliever, my exercise, my verb. That feeling of catching air, or hauling ass through a skate park. To me that was the best feeling in the world. I can safely say that before July 2, 2010, I went skating every single day. I spent my childhood pushing that piece of wood and wheels through my neighborhood streets, bombing every hill, or meeting up with friends to go skate our local spots, or just to ride down to the beach and check the waves. I was obsessed, and my parents hated it.

My folks can be summed up as tennis lovers. Scratch that. Tennis fanatics. They raised me from 3 yrs. old playing this silly sport, and I hated it. All I wanted to do was be with my friends, shedding more blood and breaking more bones on that gripped up piece of maple. So, after following my parent’s footsteps for 17 yrs., I moved out, started school, and could finally dedicate myself to what I truly loved.

I got a job at the local skate park and I was stoked. Dude, I was getting paid to skateboard! So from 17 on, I spent my days rushing through classes, grabbing a quick lunch, and hurrying to my skate park. I spent hours upon hours dedicating my blood, my sweat, and my bones to this sport. I got pretty good quickly and at 18, I got a sponsor.

A sponsorship is a dream come true for most kids doing extreme sports. I had become part of the Oldest City Skate Team, where we had a crew of close friends, a manager with a heart of gold, and we traveled around the state doing contests. I was never the best, but I did well and I had the most fun in my life. My popularity grew, and every skater in the community knew our team. I became close friends with many professionals in the sport, and couldn’t attend a Florida skate park without someone knowing me or having some homies to skate with. Life was grand.

Free skateboards, free shoes, free clothes, at 18 I thought I was hot shit. This continued on for a few more years, with only a few minor injuries. At 19, our town got a new skate park, with the help of a $50,000 donation from our shop owner. This became my new hangout. I worked at both the parks, making skate videos and spreading the joy of skateboarding. It was exactly what I wanted out of life, and I could have continued doing it happily for the rest of my eternity.

My dreams would soon become a nightmare. The new park was opened for about a year. I was a fresh 20yrs old with an awesome skate team, a popular skate website I helped design, and a new girlfriend. I was happy as a clam. On July 2, 2010, the girlfriend and I woke up to go and hang out at the skate park for the day. About 30 minutes in, I wanted to impress, and decided to go for a difficult trick I’d only landed a handful of times. Worst fucking idea ever.

I pushed fast into an A-frame bank ramp, feet set up for a frontside flip (a 180 kickflip) to land on the other side of the bank, covering a gap of about 5 feet. After launching in the air, everything was feeling good. I made the 180 rotation, the board was flipped, gap cleared, and I was preparing to land on the other side, my feet about to stomp the skateboard bolts. My back right foot stuck to the board, while my front left foot dangled off the side. Coming down, my left foot planted the cement, while the right foot stayed on board. My body rotated rapidly with my left foot still planted on cement, causing my whole leg to twist. I could feel the tendons and bones around my knee twist and pop, making a heinous cracking clatter. In a minute my life was turned upside down.

I tore my outside lateral meniscus, and nearly tore my entire ACL. Since July 2, I’ve tried my best to stay positive. Minus the few occasional breakdowns, I’ve managed to do so. It probably wasn’t the best idea to be involved in an extreme sport without insurance, but like I said, I thought I was invincible. A year and half has gone by since I’ve skated. It slowly gets better, and I’m able to surf and run, and for now, that makes me happy.

Doctors are surprised I’m walking, and recommend I don’t do any sports until a major surgery. But who knows? They all want to cut you up anyways. How else do they pay the bills? One thing I do know, is my skateboard and me will meet again soon enough, I’m 100% sure of that.

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