Change #20: Skateboard Girl

You skateboard, I will conquer you! (Or, more likely, oh lord, what have I gotten myself into?)

I was one of those people that would think, those lazy kids. I can’t believe they skateboard. Why don’t they just walk? It’s better for them;  it  forces them to stretch their legs and get the blood flowing. How lazy are they? 

I can tell you now, if you were also one of those people – SKATEBOARDING IS HARD! I barely made it on a skateboard  20 minutes before  the calf muscles were burning as they haven’t been used in a couple of years because of my lack of running.  (I’m sure my pudding belly didn’t help either.) It’s hard work standing upright, pushing yourself off, and trying to get the other foot back on the skateboard. It’s a lot like juggling.

As well, it requires coordination. (See earlier blog Change #19 regarding Juggling. I am NOT coordinated.) I thought this challenge would be easy. Turns out, not so much.

I have to also admit, that after seeing the warning on the skateboard, I was pretty fearful of this challenge. (Please see picture of me wearing a helmet.) I called this blog, “Pushing Boundaries”, not “200 Ways to Get Oneself Killed”.  I thought my husband and my friend were being paranoid about me hurting myself. (Although, they both know how clumsy I am). After I saw the warning, I realized skateboarding was serious business.

Yesterday morning on a walk with my friend, she wagged her finger at me and said, “Are you crazy? What made you think of going skateboarding?”

To which I replied, “I don’t know. It’s called Pushing Boundaries. It seems I should be doing a couple of more challenging things.”

After meeting with her, I went skateboarding. But my “skateboarding” consisted mostly of me pushing off with one foot, with the other foot precariously perched on the skateboard. The foot on the skateboard, just pretty much stayed there.

Except for one remarkable moment (or maybe a couple) when I managed to push off, jump on the board for a second (possibly 2 seconds) and “rode the skateboard.” It was pretty awesome. When I did it the first time, 5-year-old grinning me said to my partner (who is my cameraman) “did you see me? Did you see me?” At which point, I threw my hands up in jubilation in the air in similar style as athletes do when they’ve won the gold medal at the Olympics.

You may think that I’m a chicken for wearing the helmet, especially if you knew how slow I was going. You’re probably right. But, I think twice more often now, about risks because of what I know. My grandmother was always worried about what could happen to my brother and I.  As you age, you realize that parents and grandparents maybe onto something because they’ve seen (and now you have too) terrible things happen.

One day, almost 7 years ago, my brother had an accident at work. In a nanosecond his life was forever changed. When he died two years ago, he wasn’t taking a big risk; he got sick and didn’t know it. He died before anyone could do anything to help him.

At one point in the year he passed away, I told him that I went ice skating on the canal in Ottawa for the first time in years. I hadn’t gone since his accident because I was afraid. I remember he looked at me, shook his head and said, “Why?”

“Because,” I said, “I could fall and hit my head on the ice.”

His face turned red as he tried to suppress his laughter (because he was always laughing at me), he gave me that goofy lop-sided grin and with his face scrunched up said, “But you could get hurt anywhere.”

I knew it. But I was still afraid. I’ve heard of cases of people diving into pools, walking down the street and tripping, snowmobile and car accidents where the result is that they get seriously hurt, or don’t make it out of the hospital. You can get hurt anywhere – even staying inside your home. You take a risk every time you get up in the morning.

Will I try the skateboard again? Yes. Those few seconds when I rode the skateboard were thrilling. But I will proceed with caution, and always with my helmet on.


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