Moms, Do You Know What Your Skateboarder is Doing?
Helmet-less boys soar twenty feet in the air. A trick biker skids eight feet on his shoulder blade, stopping inches from my feet, while his bike careens in another direction. He yells, "F***!" I imagine the road rash under his t-shirt and cringe. And I hope my kids didn't hear what he said, but it was loud and he enunciated quite well through the pain. The road rash boy reunites with his bike and pedals up another concrete slope, launching his bike and flipping it around in the air. This time he nails the landing.
I'm at the Skate Park in Menlo Park, CA and I've tentatively brought my six year old son, Guy-Guy, here to use his RipStik in the "shallow end." The park is a caged set of four connected concrete swimming pools, with no water. I'm letting Guy-Guy go in the "wading pool" - which is what it would be if it were filled. I tell him he's not old enough for the deeper pools. He complains as I suit him up in a helmet, elbow pads, wrist guards, and knee pads. Seven pieces of equipment. Ten minutes of tugging and adjusting. I'm freaking out that I promised he could come here as a reward for sitting through his sister's gymnastics class which has just ended. The skateboard park seems crazier and busier than other times we've looked in on the action.
We wait until a few boys leave then enter when it feels less crowded. The safe place for me and my daughter to sit is opposite the skate park entrance. Dashing between the "wading pool" and the first of the deeper pools, I feel like a refugee running across Highway 101 - we look like the illustrations on the odd orange road sign I see along some busy highways that features a silhouette of a woman running and dragging with outstretched arm, a child. I hold Guy-Guy's twin sister's hand - she's dressed in a sparkly purple gymnastics leotard - and we dash across during a safe-looking opening in the action. We hear calls of "LOOSE BOARD!" as skateboards fly out and their riders earn more rashes at the bottom of a pool.
As I imagine one of the loose boards flying up and knocking out my teeth or hitting my daughter in the head, I wonder why I thought this would be most dangerous for my son. I'll take two Michelin Man suits, for protection, please! If only there were such a vendor today,I'd have made his day with a big purchase for me and my daughter.Continued on the next page