As Willem’s dad, I was only able to join the Sk8theSt8s journey for the last few days of the trip, after Lou and Niall had already said goodbye in LA. I am catching up on the stories, sharing in the group dynamic, and giving Neal a bit of relief on the driving and crowd control.
One of the things I was most interested to see firsthand was how the boys would skate and interact at the parks and spots we would visit. Since it’s primarily a male sport, the vibe can be quiet and focused, loud and gregarious, goofy and playful, or sometimes aggressive and negative. Some skaters show up at a new park quietly and maybe even hesitantly checking out the scene and the features. Others show up loud and even swaggering – especially if in a group.
Yesterday we hit the Tanzanite park in Sacramento and there was only one older guy skating the bowls quietly as we rolled up. The boys mostly skated a more street area as other older skaters showed up. Those skaters headed for the bowls and surfed around for a bit, until I saw a couple of them try a few tricks in the street area. Before long almost all the skaters (except me) were skating in the street area and working some of the same lines. Our boys and the older group did not interact at all, which I find fascinating and pretty consistent in skateparks I’ve visited. But the vibe was not negative, just more parallel: we’re doing our thing, you’re doing your thing.
Because we had to make it all the way to Medford by nighttime we only hit one more spot: the skatepark in Weed, CA. Pulling up with the late afternoon light perfect, the air fresh and cool, and Mt Shasta looming just behind the town, it was near perfect. And there was no one else there – a skating treat akin to a long ride in the back seat with the girl you have a crush on.
To follow the whole coast-to-coast, dads-and-sons adventure, check out http://sk8thest8s.cbslocal.com/