On skateboarding, softball, and sillyness

It was one of those things where you think to yourself, “I have to do this. I must do this. I will do this!” And now, in hindsight, I should not have done this.

It all started on a warm Wednesday afternoon. The day before, on a warm Tuesday afternoon, I mowed the front yard, so naturally on the next day, I’d mow the back. It takes about 40 minutes behind a push mower I bought from my neighbor years ago. It’s a trusty little mower. I secretly planned to mow half the yard Wednesday, and finish it up on Thursday. Such a secret, I didn’t even tell my dogs! Because we’ve all seen how that can go.


Mowing only half of the backyard was partly due to conserving energy for 2 softball games I had that night, one at 615 and the next at 720. I know softball isn’t exactly physically demanding, but I still like to be energized for running, etc. Anyway, I ended up mowing the entire backyard, which wasn’t the worst decision I made that day.

While I was mowing, I thought to myself, “Hey, I should ride my skateboard to the games tonight.” Now we’re getting really, really close to the worst decision I made that day. Plus, how is riding a skateboard 2.5 miles in any way going to help me conserve energy? I’m so silly. I’m also stubborn, so now that the challenge was out there… there wasn’t really a chance I’d say no.

A couple of hours later I gathered my gear and went through everything mentally. I’d need a backpack, flashlights, water, phone. Check. I left the house and here’s what I realized by the time I arrived at the field 30 minutes later: It was mostly walking! The original plan was to walk the uphills, then ride the downhills and flat spots. Well, there were about 2 flat areas and the hills were steep and horribly positioned. They all seemed to end at an intersection. C’mon man! So I ended up walking up and down the hills.

I only had 2 close calls on the way to the fields: one where I did ride down a hill and needed to make a right, almost sliding into a car because I could barely maintain the turn with the speed I was going. The second was when I fell backwards, landing on my hands and rump. I’m sure someone saw this (I was in a neighborhood) but I didn’t hear any laughter. They were probably just being kind till I was out of ear shot.

I played the two softball games, and was pretty much dreading the ride back home, another 2.5 miles and this trip in the dark. I had a headlamp on the entire time, and flashed a Maglite flashlight when cars were near. So. Much. Walking. But I was determined to ride, so I sometimes pushed the board going uphill. I made it in about 32 minutes but my legs were toast!

Good news: I didn’t fall or have any near collisions this return trip.

Bad news: As I’m typing this post, pretty much every part of my lower body is sore. What a leg workout that was, and for future reference, you will not see me riding the skateboard on Wednesday nights from here on out! I’ll take advantage of the luxury of having a car to ride in, thankyouverymuch!

-Out of the Wilderness

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The Rhode Island Rider Rides Again

The last time I considered myself a skater was in 4th grade. I was living in Newport, Rhode Island and had the sickest neon green Tony Hawk skateboard in the neighborhood. It was custom built with two red wheels and two green. The trucks were tight, the grip tape was grippy, I was a mini Tony Hawk flying around Fort Adams that year. Thanks in part to my Airwalk shoes, I almost forgot. The ride was short-lived, though, because the very next summer we moved to Stafford, Virginia. Skateboarding wasn’t a thing there, so I traded my Tony Hawk board for a Starter jacket, and yes, my name was sewn in. It was righteous. Don’t believe me? Just ask JR Sheets, Chris Taylor, or Joey Willis, only the 3 other coolest guys at Stafford Middle School.

They say to do something every day that scares you. Well, today covered my portion for the rest of the month! Why? Because I flew on 4 wheels again.
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But it wasn’t the riding that scared me. You see, I thought it wise to find a safe and large area to get comfortable on the board again so I went to the empty parking lot of Brentwood Baptist Church in Tennessee. With a long board, the trucks are much looser than a standard skateboard because they’re made for speed, turning ability, and distance riding. I gotta tell you, riding again was so fun… and a heck of a workout! But this empty parking lot was becoming dull. I needed more challenges. I mean, hey, this is the heroic reincarnation of the Rhode Island Rider. People need to see this. I packed up and went home, only to prepare for my skateboard ride to Sam’s Club. Hey, I might be the Rhode Island Rider, but a man’s gotta get some skim milk, know what I’m sayin’?

Literally, I needed skim milk.

Sam’s Club is a bit over 2 miles away and there’s a few ways to get there. I knew the highway was not an option, so I picked the second best choice, which would have less car traffic. The first half mile was pretty much all down hill and I thought to myself, “People must be tweeting about this epic ride as they see me wistfully pass by.” I coasted on the down hills, pushed on the flats, and walked the up hills. It wasn’t till arriving at Sam’s I encountered my first problem. Stopping. I was inches away from cars passing me, down hill mind you, and I needed to make a sharp right turn. Stopping. How to do that? Stopping! No brakes. I envisioned myself attempting this right turn and busting it amongst onlookers laughing at this 34-year-old man in a mid-life crisis. Stopping. I decided to continue past the turn and let the upcoming hill slow me down. Stopping got a whole lot easier when the hill did it for me. Then I had to back track about 100 yards to Sam’s. Slightly embarrassing for the Rhode Island Rider.

With the milk in my backpack, I ventured out to return home. I went a different way back and it was actually a pretty good ride. I didn’t like the constant bumps of the sidewalk, though. I learned that pretty quick. I stayed on the edge of the outside lane for some of the time and apart from a few squirrelly encounters with manhole covers that were entirely frightening, I did pretty well.

Did I do something that scared me today? Yes. Do I consider myself a skater? Of course. Will the Rhode Island Rider ride again? Check your rearview mirror and you tell me.

Skate or die! Rider out.

-Out of the Wilderness