Growing up in the small, quiet town of Moravia, in upstate New York, I was surrounded by trick-crazy skater kids. Though I never knew any of them, they only increased my desire to skate.
Losing my vision at age nine due to a retinal detachment in my left eye, (I never had useful sight in my right), I knew what skateboarding looked like and always had a secret, deep passion to try it myself. So, on my twentieth birthday, 2005, I went out and started out on a cheap board. My dad took me to various parking lots in town where I began. I remember the very first day of skating, he asked me if I wanted to use an old broomstick handle he had in the car for balance! Snorting, I told him no, that wasn't how you learned to skate. Practice from falling was the way to go. Just because I was blind, didn't mean I was an exception to the laws of gravity.
A few weeks of this parking lot skating routine soon built up my confidence, and it wasn't long before my legs had stopped trembling under the motion of the board, and I soon was flying down the grades.
Much of what I learned from skating was learned off the internet, and a few people I knew who skated.
Fully aware I'd never be able to cruise the sidewalks in town, as the many other younger skaters did, I stuck to the roads. Risky, I knew, even more so when you can't ride a straight line half the time.
From day 1 of skating I never felt it was a wise idea to go without wearing a helmet or pads. Not cool-looking? I spared myself some nasty injuries by falling many times. The truth was, I felt more confident in the gear. I'd met other skaters who refused to wear the gear just because it looked so uncool and yet were afraid of falling, and had less fun than I ever did.
The ollie was a trick I attempted countless times over the next two years of skating, tearing up my sneakers so badly I went for Etnies skate shoes.
I never did get the ollie and so instead, mastered the kickturn. I found I liked to ride more than anything, so recently I bought an Arbor Bug longboard. It took some getting used to compared to a normal skateboard, but it's all part of the challenge. My favorite stance is the low stance and then rising up to a regular stance as I ride the road. The worst, and most frustrating, thing that happens to me is when my board gets away from me. It can happen easier than one thinks, usually by being kicked from under me if I push off too quickly, or when I find I have to bail and roll right to the ground. Then I have to go search for it. It's during these crazy moments when I question why in the world I'm all alone on a country road between two fields on either side of me, slowly tracing my steps to where I think the board's located. Well, usually I find it and only once I had to get someone to help me find it. I had to walk the ten minutes back home down the road and back to do this, though. Living out in the country on a county road wasn't the place to ride after a while. I was nearly creamed by cars speeding up to sixty miles per hour where I'd have to keep my ears constantly open, which took the fun out of skating. It became a risky game. My own mother always worried about me, watching from the window in fear I'd go flying into the deep ditch. I never did, though. Mostly I'm alone skating, with no supervision, something many people are astonished to hear when I tell them I skate.
Fortunately for me, up my road is a small road with only three houses, and being a dead-end road at that. So, I have the road all to myself. Sometimes the neighbors on that road will drive by and stop, always telling me to be careful.
Using a compact tape player, I play my heavy rock/techno music I set up at the roadside, halfway to the road's end. The tape player's a landmark, and tells me that I'm closing in on the main county road with the traffic when I pass it.
I find skating thrilling, and very challenging for myself. Perhaps that's why I haven't given it up, even when I veer off to the side of the road and ... (finish the story on page 2)