Skating Lake Michigan (Goofy Foot II)

It has taken me a while to locate my wrist guards, so in the three weeks that G and I have been in Chicago, despite all of the beautiful weather, I haven’t been able to get out and skateboard in Lincoln Park along Lake Michigan, which is only a mere three blocks from our apartment.

Yesterday, with determination, I finally found my wrist guards. The weather is just too beautiful now, and I had to get out there because I know it won’t last long. My last skateboard lesson from Christopher was over a month ago, and if I was going to keep my nerve, I had to go.

So I walked down to the Lake. On my way I saw gaggles of young men walking away from the park, skateboards in hand, and I felt intimidated. I was on the opposite side of the street, and I was thankful because if I had passed them they no doubt would see my board, and I’m sure they’d wonder to themselves what this approaching-middle-aged lady was doing with this way cool longboard. I know, I know, I’m not really middle aged yet (though I’m getting there), but compared to these kids, I feel that way.

Anyway, as I got closer to the park I could here the unmistakable sound of wheels on pavement, the whir of rushing wheels and the clack of boards on concrete and metal as skaters practice their fancy moves, turns, pikes, and twists. I don’t know the language, but I know that sound. I read the sign and saw the chain link fence, “Wilson Skate Park.”

My board is a long board meant for cruising, not a shorter trick board. I have no desire to skate with these guys, as much as I admire them. I wanted to skate the path and enjoy the sunshine and the wind on my face. But I wanted to go and watch, but again I felt intimidated. I didn’t want to call attention to myself with my big, beautiful skateboard. I knew that some of the kids might be interested because Christopher’s boards always draw interest, and I felt shy to talk to anyone, like a poser who didn’t belong there. I am old enough to be some of these kids’ mother, after all. Seriously.

So I kept my distance, and took my board to the path.

I’m just starting out, never having done this in my life before six weeks ago. There weren’t too many joggers and bikers out, so I didn’t feel the pressure of traffic coming up behind me. I was really stiff to start, trying to learn to keep my balance and trust myself, trying to remember in my body and in my mind Christopher’s lessons. Stay loose, keep low, bend your knees, toes down to go left, toes up to go right, don’t bail.

With time I gained confidence and went faster and faster, but at first even a slow jogger passed me as I tried to get over my fear of speed and gain more coordination in my kicking. I was out there for about an hour, and the more confidence I gained, the more fun I was having. Christopher would be proud.

It was a blast. I will go back and watch the skaters another time, perhaps after a few more times out there on my own.

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