It has been many many moons since I have posted an entry on this blog. Not this exact one, but the original blog that I began in 2008. Its been roughly about 3 years of moons , so long that many of you may not even remember I used to have a blog. When I started, it was a place for me to document pictures, videos, and stories of all the travels that I have been blessed to go on through this art I love called Rollerblading. Rollerblading itself is a physical activity that everyone can do, but I believe it becomes an art when the individual spends enough time doing it that they make it their own, through their unique way of moving their body in motion on wheels.
I’ve decided to start it again because I miss it. For me this process is a completely free flowing one, where I let my mind roam to wherever it wants and then put it down in here. Its really fun for me, and people in the past have enjoyed reading it as well so its pretty much a win win. Although skating professionally can be like this, its not always so fun and easy. Not because the act of skating isn’t fun and easy because it is, but all of the mental barriers that arise from continuously trying to progress yourself along the path. Ask anyone who has been skating long enough and you will find that doing what you love is not always that easy.
For myself, I can say that dealing with self criticism has been my biggest barrier . When I was young I did not think about why I skated or whether it was good enough or current enough. I just skated because it was all I wanted to do and all I can think about. It was much easier for me then (early 90’s) because everything was so new. There were only about 3 or 4 grinds that were actually known, and thoughts of sponsors and filming parts were non existent. It was a much simpler time that seems prehistoric now that I’m thinking about it. And it really is.
I think a lot of people my age and from my generation have all gone through very similar trials and tribulations. You start by having fun, then you get recognized and sponsored and reach a high level of skill and notoriety. At one point you kind of “peak,” and your kind of on top of the world. You think you have made it, and then the buzz of being their either wares off, or you simply grow out of that person that you have created in the limelight and are not really sure where to go from there. Its kind of like you have pushed that person or ego as far as you can, and you don’t get the same thrills you once got and it doesn’t fulfill you. Your left with the question “where do I go from here?”
This question doesn’t always require an answer. Sometimes your just naturally driven to skate differently and you follow that. You can see this happen in anyone who has skated long enough. Its natural to change because everything in life is changing all the time. It is something we either embrace and flow with or fear and fight. I would say that I have a foot in each side. Sometimes its easy for me to feel free to create whatever comes to mind regardless of any external pressures, and sometimes my mind gets the best of me and critical thoughts of what I think I “should” be doing impede my natural growth. It reminds me of a time I was telling a story to my brother in-laws father and I used the word “should” in a sentence and he instantly replied “Never should on yourself.” If you sound it out you will get the joke. He’s a witty man.
Which leads me to where I am at in life now. I am 32 years old, been skating for roughly 20 years, and have been traveling on wheels around the world for the past 13 of those years. About 4 of those years were spent unsponsored, but even then I was still traveling and skating and putting out sections. I will be honest and say that I can’t do EVERYTHING I used to do in my young age, but at the same time I wouldn’t want to. In your younger years a lot of what you do on blades is driven by the need to be accepted amongst your peers and be the best at what is accepted as the “best” during that time frame. Eventually that doesn’t fulfill you, and you must go inward to find out what makes you happy on blades.
I am not saying that I have mastered this phase of life. Far from it. I am still very critical of myself and sometimes when out filming leave a session angry because I couldn’t think of the “right” trick to do or didn’t land a trick the way I “should” have landed it. Expectations are a killer. Not only a killer of fun, but also they can be a killer of your body especially with what we put ourselves through just to get the trick right. Depending on how I feel a session can just flow freely and ideas come to me and then I just make them happen with little or no disturbance, or I end up getting nothing “accomplished” at all and tumble down a spiral of negativity. If you skate and your reading this I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. We seem to be a group of people that are extremely self critical. It can be a trait that makes us great, or hinders us from simply cutting loose and expressing the unique abilities that are naturally inherent in all of us individuals.
I am not old by any means, however in “Rollerblading Years” I’m pretty much a dinosaur you could say. The gap between the generation I grew up skating in and the present one is HUGE. Its a different world with different tricks levels, different mentalities, and different technologies documenting it all. It’s only been 3 years since my last entry and just in that short amount of time the internet and how we view skating has changed drastically. The last time I updated my blog I think I had an old blackberry and even at that time for me that was advanced. I now have a new iphone and the thing is basically like another limb and I’m always thinking about what do let the world know what I’m doing.
I choose to love technology. Technology itself is neutral. Its a medium for your expression of who you are and who we are as humans. It’s a great way to stay connected and access information about anything in a matter of seconds. If I have a question about anything, I can press a button, ask my phone, and it will give me the answer. It’s really nuts.
My view on technology is that it is here for us to connect with each other as a species and create a interweb that supports us in bringing out the best in ourselves. I think the pattern of what media has done in the past is limit us to our fears and prejudices and what makes us seperate. Now with the power of the internet we have the ability to change that negative spin on humanity and show all the great ways that connect us and make us human. I think that with easy access to photo apps and music making apps and all the ways that are available for us to be creative through technology can catapult us into a technological renaissance, maybe even one day filling the streets with dance and music and art and all that. Of course we have to collectively make these types of changes in thought and action, but there has never been a time where change can happen so quickly as it can now. I think we are all being brought so close together through the internet so we can work out the things that separate us and instead rejoice in the things that bring us together and enjoy the beauty in our differences.
This of course probably sounds like some lofty dream, but it has been a vision that has come to me frequently over the past few years, and one I have seen expressed before in many ways all over the internet and in real life via flash mobs and live music festivals in the streets of Europe. We can either move that way, or down a path of self destruction which is the path we are headed down now as a collective. Of course both are possible and the underlying fact relative to both of them is that it all comes down to the individual choices we all make that guide us as a whole. I believe the voice of the individual has never been as powerful as it is now…
If you have made it this far then I applaud you. All of this has just streamed from my fingers in the last hour and 15 minutes. I honestly had no idea where it was going to go when I decided to start typing so I’m sorry if its so wordy. I promise there will be more picture stories in future updates.
Here is a quick update of the last few months of my life. During my visit to Canada over the summer I planned to save up money and go to India to take a yoga teacher training course. Not only did I find this choice to be good for my physical healing as I have been beating my body up for the last 20 years, but also an overall great practice for the longevity of my body for the rest of my life. Skating can be a very fulfilling practice inwardly, but outwardly the impact it has on your body is always a negative one in reference to your joints.
Upon telling my Sister this news, she invited me to stay with her for the coming months until I would eventually leave for the trip. I agreed happily as it would be a great opportunity to spend time with my brother in Law and Nephews, which has also turned out to be a huge blessing. During that time I also got a Job catering in hopes of saving up enough for the trip. As it got closer to the time I would be leaving, I realized that the trip was more of a fantasy then reality and having the catering job was barely helping me through the month financially do to some untimely auto repairs and bills.
During the last couple months I was able to spend some much needed quality time with my nephews, and skate around some areas I don’t normally frequent when I am usually in the Bay Area. Oakland has a pretty happening scene and I got to have many sessions there at their Wednesday Night Skate. I had super fun sessions with people like Kennan Scott, Erik Garcia, Victor Arias, and many others. I love the WNS in Oakland because it has the same exact vibe for me as the old Friday Night Skates that used to go down in San Francisco in the 90’s.
I have also been doing a lot of Yoga at the Local YMCA. I enjoy doing yoga here because its so lax. No one in there is worried about what your wearing or if you can do the postures good. Everyone is there because they are genuinely interested in their overall well being. Surprisingly, I never thought of doing yoga to build strength but it is actually helping with not only that but balance as well. It makes me aware of my muscles and how to properly use them so that other parts of myself like my back, hips, and knees don’t get over stressed.
Speaking of knees, I actually havn’t been skating the last few weeks due to some pain I have been feeling in my left knee that I have never felt before. Its been a REAL bummer, as I am going to begin life on the road again starting the middle of next month with a skating trip to Puerto Rico. My brother in law who is a personal trainer gave me a quick assessment, and told me that its probably a tight IT Band, which is the muscle that runs from your hip all the way down the side of your leg to your foot. When it is tight it can rub against your knee causing pain similar to what I am feeling. The remedy? Foam roller, self massage, and using a lacrosse ball to loosen it up. This is the first time I have ever felt something like this so it was a bit scary but now that I have some remedies to try I feel less scared and informed.
So yes, life on the road begins again next month, and this year I plan to be traveling A LOT on my Rollerblades filming edits, updating this blog, and continuing to share these stories with all of you. I am a pretty avid instagrammer so you can continue to follow me there as well as on facebook, and also look to my sponsor Rollerblade on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/trsrollerblade) where there will be clips and stories from my travels as well. I plan on racing a couple marathon’s and doing more non grinding type blading on the many different high quality blades that Rollerblade makes which you can find at http://www.rollerblade.com.
Once again, thank you for reading this very wordy entry, and I promise the next one is going to have some photos/video to go along with it. I hope everyone is doing well and making the best of their time on Earth! Cheers!