Today we are joined by Maureen Walker, one of the raddest Brits we've ever met. You'll be amazed an inspired by her story below; we guarantee it!
At age 52, and with a bit of extra time on my hands, I thought it was time to discover a new hobby. How about knitting, needlepoint or basket weaving you may well ask? Definitely possibilities. But when I saw a cheap second-hand skateboard at a car boot sale (flea market), I bought it on a whim. It came with hand, knee and elbow pads for the princely sum of £3 ($4), including the board.
The first time I took it out I could manage little more than pushing rather lamely with my left foot (I later found out that makes me ''Regular'' rather than ''Goofy''). What I needed was a partner in crime to aid me towards balancing with both feet on the deck. I asked a friend for help. He looked dubiously at my board and wondered briefly – not for the first time - at my questionable sanity. But then he set up his iPhone on a convenient fencepost to record the historic event, literally holding my hand as I set both feet aboard. Thinking it was the most fun I'd had in a while, I made up my mind I'd stick with my new hobby. I splashed out, firstly on a new set of wheels for my “cheapskate-board.” Then, later on, a whole new set up which was put together for me at the excellent Lariatt Skateboard Shop in St Albans Hertfordshire here in the UK. The proprietor was a little bemused when he asked the age of the child I was buying for, and I replied, somewhat sheepishly, “it’s for me.” But he certainly didn’t laugh out loud as I had feared he might.
My first outing on my brand new set up involved a spectacular fall, unfortunately not caught on camera. But there’s another one that was, and you can see here.
Falling off is inevitable, so falling without hurting yourself too badly is something that needs learning pretty darn quick. The fear of falling off never leaves you, apparently. But I think that’s a good thing, as it's this fear that keeps you focused on the business of staying on the deck.
On the whole people’s reactions to seeing me out and about on my board have been mostly positive. One woman, also of a certain age, passed me slowly on a bicycle and said, “You’re brave.” When I responded, “Foolhardy,” she reaffirmed, “No, BRAVE!”
There are several good ''how-to'' videos on the subject available online. I was particularly encouraged by this one. If they can do it, so can I!
If like me, you are a mature newbie and you find that steering your board along a path with any camber to it is a challenge, it could be that it is your core strength that requires work rather than your technique. A few weeks of daily exercises such as 'the plank' could be what your future holds. As you can see from my photos and videos, I'm not the typical lean and hungry-looking cool-dude-on-a-skateboard type. As I write this, my weight continues to fluctuate. But that's another tale to tell on another site perhaps. I will say this: it is advantageous to have a motivation to get fit, other than because you know you ought to, or due to pure vanity. So why not try skateboarding? It's definitely a sport, and it's recognized as such by the International Olympics Committee, who has scheduled its debut in the 2020 games.
So, what's next for me? There are a few more weeks of yoga poses and a lot more skateboard practice ahead. As with so many things, you get out of it what you are willing to put in. The bottom line is, there's one hell of a lot of fun to be had for not too much outlay. OK, so my set up cost around £90 ($110) – slightly more than my initial £3. And I did need to invest in my own well-fitting crash helmet – a must at around £9. I may never attempt an “Ollie” – well not while anyone’s watching anyway. But, like the lady said in the video, there certainly is a whole lot of fun to be had in training your brain to do something new and unexpected - proving to yourself that the pipe and slippers, or the knitting needles, can be postponed for now – because there's life left in you yet!
*Thanks Maureen! Hop over to her website to show her some love!*