Saturday, March 17, 2012

New Skateboard!!!

You may be saying to yourself, "Isn't 31 a little old for this guy to be buying a new skateboard?" And to some extent I agree.  However, as of late, meaning about the last two years, I've really seen myself focusing more on fun, than on competition in my athletic pursuits.

As I've mentioned several times before, I've competed all my life.  Ice hockey, lacrosse, football, baseball, MMA, you name it and I've more than likely tried it about once.  You cold say I'm quite the random athlete.  I like to do it all, and I like to test myself.  I'm guessing that's why triathlon appealed to me so much.

Anyhow, the last two years have found me getting more back to my roots.  When I was a kid (pre-17ish), I was all about the sports that no one was into, a.k.a. the "extreme sports".  I liked the stuff you now see mainstream on XGames.  The stuff that guys who drink Monster and Redbull Energy drinks dig.  Stuff that could get you hurt, but the adrenal dump is worth the pain.  Originally my re-birth came in the way of mountain biking (of which I started with xc and since that has grown monotonous I've moved onto Enduro and Super-D), which is still my true love.  Now, though, I've decided to broaden (or "re-broaden" as the case may be) my horizons by exploring, once again, the skateboard game.

Now, I'm not looking to be grinding rails, jumping stairways, or getting myself in a half pipe (not for now anyway), but rather, I'm getting a new longboard to indulge in my teenage ways.  I've wanted this particular one (Original Skateboards Apex 34) for about two years, and now that I've finally splurged on it, I can't be more stoked on getting it.  The way I see it, like a tattoo, if it's something I've been after for two-plus years now, it must be something I'm  really gonna get some use out of.

There are really two reasons I'm going this way.  One: I really enjoy taking my dog out with my current skateboard.  It's fun for me, and it's fun for her.  She gets in some fun running time, and I get to have a blast and not get board just walking.  And two: You can only ride a bike (mountain, road, bmx, whatever) so much before you get burned out.  I'm not saying that I'm burned out on mountain biking-nothing could be further than the truth, but adding a little variety in your physical pursuits is never a bad thing.  Not to get off on a tangent, but I really believe that the biggest problem facing both people looking to get fit, and young, up and coming athletes, is the fact that they both go overboard in doing only one activity or one sport.

When I was young, my biggest and most favorite sport was ice hockey.  I'd play everyday for hours on end, waking up at 2am some mornings to get in some ice time before school, and then heading back to the rink the moment school was out to get back out there.  By some means I was fanatical.  (*This probably explains my "all or nothing" attitude I've carried into adulthood-yeah, working on that...)  I progressed for the first few years of my hockey career, getting quite good for my age, only to hit a giant plateau.  I got to the point where mentally all I thought of was hockey.  This lead to being extremely hard on myself, and allowing myself to become consumed to the point at which I was only happy if I was playing good.  When general "life happiness" is dictated by your performance, it's a recipe for disaster.

Once I entered high school, my parents enrolled me at a school where it was mandatory to play a sport each of the three athletic seasons.  I fought tooth and nail against it, but I was committed to the school and therefore committed to it's rules.  Football was in the Fall, hockey in the Winter (though there wasn't a school team I was allowed to play with my travel team), and lacrosse was in the Spring.  The funny thing was, once I spread my focus among the three sports, I excelled in all.  No longer was I a slave to my own mind, I was freed up by the aspect of believing that if I had a bad performance in one sport, there were always two others to fall back on.  In effect, I could no longer worry so much about one because the others demanded my attention as well.  Yup, I'm a little sick in the head.

In regard to where I now find myself, it's taken me about 30 years to realize that overemphasizing one aspect of your life, whether it's relationships, family, sport, work, or whatever, is never a good thing.  To be a complete, and therefore happy person, you must surround yourself with challenges of a physical, intellectual, and emotional level.

In ancient Japan, there were men called Ronins.  Basically, a Ronin was what we might refer to as a modern mercenary.  They fought for cash, and were generally considered some of the most efficient killers and assassins of their time.  They were trained in sword fighting and martial arts of course, but what set them apart from so many of history's warriors was their education in other aspects of life.  They were poets, artists, philosophers; skilled in different trades, and could produce thoughtful insight on life as well as death.  They were first and foremost complete human beings.

When you look at not only athletes of today, but the general population as well, so many are focused mainly on one thing.  There is very little balance to the way the western world works.  More times than not there is a set plan: Go to school, get a job, meet and marry someone, buy a house, have kids, and die.  All the while being unbalanced as hell, and trying to be "happy" as it were.  Kind of unoriginal if you ask me.  The point is that you can still do all these things, only with a balance that comes from developing yourself in different ways.  You can still be a master of one thing while being a jack of all trades at others, but realize that you must balance your mind and body to be successful and happy.  Otherwise, we're just a bunch of ants carrying sand to make an anthill.  Sure we serve a purpose, but in the end, what did we really do with our lives but add another peace of sand to a hill that will be gone faster than it was built.

Rant over.  Moral is the story is, I got a new skateboard, and I'll damn sure bet it's going to make me a better mountain biker.  Have a good day. :)

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