Ok so here's my first post. If you knew me at all you wonder, as I am, what the hell am I doing blogging? Before I met the love of my life Christine
, (she hates being called that, but I think her name is a beautiful as she is inside and out!) I had only an vague idea of what blogging was or the type of person who blogs. I always pictured someone with nothing but the internet in their life, quietly typing away on a computer surrounded by cats and hoping for a connection to the outside world. What I have discovered is very different. She has shown me that it's a tool for connecting with like minded individuals and for sharing a story or learning from someone else and their experiences. Connecting with people that you would normally never have access to. Blogging is not for someone hiding from the "real" world, but just a new way provided by technology to connect with people in places we have never had access to before. So here I sit, (well lay due to a stomach bug) on New Years Eve 2012 blogging for the first time. I actually don't really expect anyone to read this blog, but it might be interested to see if anyone takes notice. Inspired by my girlfriend an athlete with Type 1 diabetes I thought this would be a good way to document my experiences as I make some huge transitions in my life.
Let me start back at the beginning or at least as far back as I feel I need to go to give a foundation for this blog. I was always terrible at sports, in fact my mother used to write notes for me to get out of phys ed classes in grade school. I tried soccer and hockey but quickly grew to dislike team sports, schedules and disparaging looks from teammates as I produced one lack luster performance after another. Ok so maybe team sports weren't my thing. I ran cross country through the last 3 years of grade school. I nearly fainted on a number of occasions due to a congenital heart murmur (which in later years has shown no trace I'm guessing due to my many years of sports??). I also tried my hand at swimming and participated in lessons until I was 13 when I reached the level before my bronze cross (needed for life-guarding). I was too young and never returned for it. In grade 6 I was on our school's swim team and actually did some racing but the following year I changed to a school without a swim program. This was the year I found my true athletic match, skateboarding. I had been in awe of the sport since I was about 8 but after many arguments with my parents it was always the same, it's too dangerous. I eventually made a skateboard that year out of plywood and wooden wheels made using a hole-saw for cutting out doorknob holes. It was pathetic. After 2 weeks of attempting to push this giant paperweight up and down the street my parents felt sorry for me, gave in, and bought my first board. It was love at first push and this is where my athletic story really begins.
|Performing at Markham Fair 2007|
I skated everyday to school and for hours after. It quickly engulfed my entire life. Posters of Christian Hosoi and other 80's skateboard legends adorned my walls. It was all I could think of from the time I woke up until I went to sleep to dream about it. Now I wasn't a natural talent, but I made up for it with drive. I practiced the same tricks over and over until I could do them without fail. I received my first high-end professional skateboard for Christmas 1987 and the following summer went to my first contest. I got 13th. The next summer I entered the SUD Skates
team try-outs (one the biggest skateboard shops in Ontario and continues to be to this day). I placed 2nd, obtaining a highly coveted spot on the team. Fast-forward to 25 plus years later and I'm still riding for the same amazing shop! Through the next few years I entered numerous local contests winning many and rarely placing outside the top 3. I even entered the well-known Slam City Jam World Championships in Vancouver, BC in '99. I landed myself 57th on street out of over 150 of the worlds best pros. I was approached and sponsored by many companies over the years. Names such as Airwalk & RECS Shoes, Downtown & Axis skateboards and Furious Styles clothing have graced my skateboard resume (and still grace my closet daily). In 1990 I was approached by Rick Davis Promotions or RDP Events which they later became known as. It was a travelling action sports side show of sorts with a skateboarder (myself), inline skaters and bmxer's. This was my life off and on for the next 2 decades, performing at everything from State Fairs to Theme Parks like Canada's Wonderland to corporate events for Microsoft. The money was decent and it was great to travel, meet people and just do what I loved for a living. Unfortunately my body began falling apart around 35 and I had lost my love of performing, so I retired.
|Blunt to Fakie at the Hoedown.|
I settled into my new life as a recreational skateboarder set on being content with "just" enjoying skateboarding again. It didn't take too long before my competitive side began yelling at me again and on July 8, 2012 I came out of retirement. I was hellbent on making a new name for myself at the "Hoedown at the Hoof", a large bowl contest in Toronto, ON. Although I made the finals and placed a respectable 8th, I went home with my tail between my legs knowing one fact for certain... I had been completely over-powered by the younger generation and I no longer had a place as a competitive skateboarder. After a month of depressive soul searching I happened to be watching the Olympics held in London. I was suddenly inspired by the abilities and determination of the athletes, especially the few "older" athletes which had qualified to compete. I was struck with the revelation that just because I felt I was finished in skateboarding, perhaps another sport was waiting for me to begin. I had a history of swimming and had been running 5 kms for a few years. I also had a background in cross-country mountain biking. The next thought seemed only natural, triathlon. Many of the top athletes were over 30 and as a new-comer I would have nowhere to go but up! This is where I will begin my story, documenting the ups and downs as I learn, grow, train and compete as a self-coached triathlete.
No, we are not all sitting around surrounded by cats closed off from the outside world.ReplyDelete
;) I'm a regular functioning human being in society AND I blog!
I love you. You're going to be a kick-ass triathlete!
There is no shame in placing 8th in that contest the younger skaters of today will always be better because they have learned our best and used that as there basics. (progression at its best) and another thing to be proud of is a very select few have seen that side of the Vanderhoof bowl and even fewer have aired out of it. Your gonna be an awesome triathlete with skills and determination only a hardcore skater can deliver.ReplyDelete
I remember watching you in the semi-early years - in awe even then. You were always a great friend and a great person. One with tremendous determination and could always accomplish what you set out for yourself. I watched you fall down and pick yourself up any number of times - in many different ways. I have NO doubt you will accomplish what you have set for yourself - and I can say that about very few people. I think you have grossly underestimated the number of people that will follow you on your journey :). I will watch - can't wait forReplyDelete
the next installment!
Just because you retire from competition doesn't mean you can retire from skateboarding entirely. On many occasions you have told me that, as skateboarders, we will never walk away from it, skateboading runs in our blood. Lately I notice your point about the younger generation, they are all killin it. Take step back and look at a lot of textbook tricks you have, they love seeing it and may not have seen it before. Enjoy creating inspiration every time you step on the board. I find myself teaching a lot of kids tricks recently and it's great to pass on the knowledge and let them take that trick to the next level. Good luck with the Triathlon training. So that's skateboarding, snowboarding and... Jk. Hopefully we can get together and skate one day soon.ReplyDelete
Hi Ryan - nice to meet you. Scully's right - the blogging world is a great way to connect with some pretty amazing people (like her!) and I can attest that we bloggers are not all socially inept hermits :)ReplyDelete
Good luck with your triathlon training. Does that mean I will be meeting you in Welland this coming June?