Hot summer days make most folks think of beaches. My boys are no different but, owing to far too many days of being sunburnt on Cape Cod beaches as a child, Mama Structure Sleuth is no big fan of sunblock and sand, especially when they creep inside your swimsuit or continually find their way into your picnic sandwiches.
Besides, with so few truly nice days throughout a Nova Scotian year, the kids have been begging to get in as many road trips and visits to skate parks as we can manage. Little Trainman even got a new Thomas the Tank Engine scooter for his birthday last weekend.
We stayed a bit close to home today, using our hours of warm sunlight to visit the Chester Skate Park for the very first time. It’s quite well situated between 3 restaurants, affordable one’s too, not like those catering to the throng of American tourists so typical at this time of year. We took advantage and stopped for Chinese food before gearing up and hitting the ramps.
Our arrival at the park was around lunch time, which is a couple of hours before peak heat here in Nova Scotia so that gave us plenty of time to try out some features before the entire fam-jam melted like beeswax in the sun.
Parking is scarce but the plethora of slick features is more than worth it. Most kids skate to the park anyways, so car parking is only of concern to Mom’s who actually hang around (you can read that as old school skate groupies 😀 ) as the majority are drop-off Moms. Mine are too young yet for those hours of freedom. LOL.
Upon arrival, Skateboy did a general scope of the scene and then his usual approach of picking one feature and making it his home base for the entire visit. “Must master” seems to be his mantra. He is disinterested in relocating and sticks with his sole focus, which will only shift during subsequent visits to the same park.
Today he settled for a mid-height ramp that, to this Mama, did not look challenging enough in comparison to the ramp he was last nailing at the Mersey Skate Park. But, I let him get comfy with it for a bit while I settled his adoring younger brother onto his new scooter. Trainman was just so darned cute, trying to be like big bro, even though he doesn’t trust wheeled vehicles that one can fall off of, preferring to sit and look out of train windows instead. 😛
When I returned to watch Skateboy, who is a bit extroverted and whose catch phrase is, “Mama, I like an audience,” he was simply too good at his lil ramp and honestly, didn’t seem to be having that much fun. The kid is the type who needs a challenge, or else he will become a challenge himself. Haha!
What I did was to gently suggest that he try the taller ramp, which was just across, half-pipe style, from the medium-height one he’d been skating. As with all new things, he was intimidated at first, remembering the last big side scrape he’d had at another park. No biggie, starting is the biggest obstacle. Once he feels the first *whoosh* of skating he gets hooked in all over again. (Remember, he begged to do this for a full two years before we finally found some kid-friendly events in province.)
Once reminded that even long-term pros take spills and consider their bumps and bruises as badges of honour and perseverance, Skateboy said, “Oh, yeah! It’s not about falling off. It’s about getting back on.” Truly, it warmed my heart that he clearly heard what some of the older skaters had been telling him.
And, to see his newfound tenacity is just as amazing. He’s actually told me that skating is about learning how to fall in a nice way. This from the kid who quit climbing trees because he slid a foot or two once and scraped his elbow on the bark. The tenacity is beginning to permeate the rest of his life too. I’m telling you, he couldn’t sit for more than 10 pages of a book before getting on a skateboard, now he’ll read 100 pages of a graphic novel before bed. Wowsers!
About half an hour after we took to the park, a couple of teenaged skateboarders showed up and brought some good tunes. In my experience the music preferred by skateboarders of the younger generation is super mellow and smooth compared to the loud, radical tunes that were being blasted when I was a punk high school chick hanging out with floppy-haired skater boys. I mean, it’s astounding to sometimes be amongst 15 or 20 kids skating and not have a backdrop of Ramones, The Clash or even Rage Against the Machine. Feels foreign, though it may just be the Canadian politeness leading them to leave their more obnoxious musical expressions at home.
Anyways, these two were very kind and generous with giving tips and compliments to the Skateboy. Having been skating the high ramp for about 12 minutes at this point, Skateboy was making it look easy and the younger teenaged boy, Kevin, said, “Wow, he is killing that! I would never have been able to stay on a board that long or even dare to ride that ramp when I was 6.”
Both older boys got even more impressed when I said that Skateboy has been on a board exactly 5 times in his life. Trust me, Mama is blown away too. Jesse, of Homegrown Skateboards, was so right when he said, “The kid’s a natural.”
When he noticed that big brother was getting videos taken of him, the little Trainman started to feel a bit more confident and wanted to be videoed as well. I’m hoping that his self-assurance in the face of fast wheels and gravity will continue to improve, just so he won’t be painfully bored when we’re hanging out for hours at skate parks. 😉
Since the kiddos seemed to be in good hands with these two nice older skateboarders, and Grampa Hikesalot was watching over, Mama Structure Sleuth made free to wander around and make record of that most rare of feature in a Nova Scotia skate park, graffiti art. I will call it art because some tags were quite good. And, also because my urban street art muscle is just plain atrophied after 7 years in this bucolic coastal paradise.
The majority of the graffiti was contained within the bowl and really gave the curves some fluidity, some motion.
Trainman came to join me at the bowl and scooted around the lip while I took photos. By the time we made it back over to Grampa and Skateboy, most of us were getting sweaty and cranky. Grampa rescued us all by going to buy some drinks and we sat about on the viewing stands – Americans can feel free to translate that to “bleachers.” – and watched the older boys pulling tricks and such.
My Skateboy asked for 10 more minutes with his new friend, the tall ramp. I obliged and pacified the rest of the fam with promises of a visit to the 40 flavours ice cream place. I don’t generally eat ice cream, so I was looking forward to an ice cold Fresca.
We bid the older skaters, Adam and Kevin, goodbye but not before noticing a VERY promising poster taped to a nearby light pole. 🙂 Oh, yeah! Stay tuned, folks.