Learning often requires pain.
Think back to geometry class. It was a painful experience, wasn’t it? Sines and cosines. Shapes. Formulas. Pain.
A reality in life—which you already know, but I’m going to state anyway—is that pain is a part of growth.
Playing baseball and soccer, and skateboarding, all taught me many lessons I won’t forget:
- What community looks like
- How to develop (and destroy) friendships
- Perseverance, coordination, and balance
But the most valuable lessons they taught are found in two statements:
- Get Up!
- Keep Going!
My next-door neighbor pushed a quarter pipe into his driveway one afternoon. Well, he and his dad moved it out there. They had built it with 2x4s and masonite. It was a surprise and a thunderclap in our neighborhood. Change was here.
It. Was. Epic. A quarter pipe was another universe for a group of kids with only streets, sidewalks, and driveways to skate.
We would be real skaters. We were stoked. Excited. Ecstatic. We couldn’t wait to shred that bad boy. I had dreams of grandeur, maybe even semi-pro in the future.
Then, I tried to ride the pipe.
I had biffed it many times. I was used to falling: our road was a landmine of gravel and gravel chips. It’s a perfect case study for why you must prep your skate area (or any sporting area). See my other article about preparing the ground for skating.
But the first fall from the quarter pipe from heaven was different. If I remember correctly, it went like this:
I shot up the face of the ramp, smiling, glowing, in rapture. I hit the top of the pipe and—I was free falling. My board rocketed straight up in the air. My body was hurled sideways, over the lip, and into the street. Almost a full-on face plant, broken only by the palms of my hands. I can still see the scars on my wrist from the rocks.
I can still feel the gut punch as I landed on my belly.
I can still hear my friends’ peeling laughter as my board rolled away halfway down the block.
I had not anticipated the slickness of the ramp. I was used to the gravelly road and the cracks in sidewalks.
The quarter pipe was smooth as butter. And I didn’t shift my weight correctly. I was unprepared and hurt.
But there was no way I, a hardened skater, would stay on my stomach.
Not with my friends there.
Not with my rep on the line.
I jumped up. Brushed off the pavement. Picked rocks from my bleeding wrists. Jogged down and cried as I jogged so others couldn’t see me, got my board, jogged back to the ramp, and went again. Slower this time.
I don’t remember what my friends said as I rode up the ramp a second time. And I can’t remember if I pulled off any trick other than going up and coming back down without falling. It doesn’t matter. What matters is I kept going.
I kept trying.
I didn’t stop.
The pain was awful. The sore muscles the next morning were crappy. But NO ONE could say I quit that day. Or any other day.
You must keep going to improve at anything—whether it’s a sport, a profession, or art.
Now, I never became a quarter or half-pipe expert. Honestly, the quarter pipe was the extent of my ramp days. I stuck to the street and rode for fun. But I conquered the pipe in one way: I didn’t let it beat me.
Get Up and Keep Going
There is nothing original here: I thought you could use some encouragement this week.
Whatever you are facing today, tomorrow, this week, this year, take it from an expert at bailing: don’t stop.
Get up and get on the board once more.
Take it a little slower and go up the ramp.
Then, keep going until you’ve beaten it.