Wednesday, 19 June 2013


'Tail whip', 'bunny hop', '360' and 'tail grabber' have become high frequency words in our house these days. Thanks to a recently aquired stunt scooter and a newly opened skate park.

Since my son cunningly persuaded me into buying him an insanely expensive stunt scooter (a cleverly concocted plot involving him doing all his homework on time, not teasing his sister, or at least not as relentlessly as he normally does, and lots of helping around the house), he has been talking about little else. And whenever I don't seem to be doing something useful - from his point of view that is - he asks me to take him to the skate park.
Last Sunday I succumbed. Partly because the skate park happens to be close to my favourite Italian restaurant, so we could have pizza for lunch, and partly because I love to see my 11yo's wide-eyed exitement on entering the park.
Immediately he starts showing me his tricks, which mainly involve him jumping off a smallish ledge. He directs me to take countless photo's and films to be send out to family and friends later on. He really believes in himself, my 11yo, and strongly feels his achievements should be broadcasted. And so do most of the guys around, I notice. There aren't a lot of jumps being executed without someone filming them.
My son knew what he was doing when he took me shopping for his scooter. It's definitely a good one. So much so, that other owners of seriously cool scooters soon ride over to check my boy's out. A few words, or a quick nod with his head are soon followed by a test spin on someone elses scooter. Within minutes the11yo is part of a clan that I didn't even knew existed.
A couple of young men are busy spray painting intricate designs on the ramps. A group of Jewish boys - earlocks dangling when they take off their helmets - is queueing up to get their headgear painted. The muslim boys are on to it too and soon every boy in the skate park is having their helmet sprayed. My eyes almost well up with tears (what is wrong with me these days?) at the side of those tough looking, graffiti artists, patiently waiting for the little guys to pick their favourite coulours.
After scootering around the bit of the park geared towards youngers skaters, my son plonks himself down next to me. Silence. I know exactly what is coming. I have seen him stare longingly at the the other side of the park where grown up skaters are tackling grinders and jumping over boxes. And sure enough after ten minutes of staring into space, he takes a deep breath, picks up his scooter and starts to ride over. I follow at a distance.
He scooters up to a very deep bowl where bikers and skaters, one at a time, drop down and then cruise along the sloping sides. My son is standing at the edge, watching, biding his time while screwing up his courage. When he finally takes the plunge, he does so at the exact same time as an impressively tall and skillful skater, coming from the opposite side of the bowl. This guy is so good that he just about manages to avoid a head on collision with my son. There is no way however he can keep himself from tumbling off his skateboard, leaving the 11yo looking bewildered and ashamed.
As the guy scrambles up he looks my son straight into the eye and both my boy and I are holding our breath. But then he slowly raises his hand, indexfinger and pink stretched out, the rest of the fingers curled inwards. 'Dude', he seems to be saying. 'No worries, shit happens'.
My son is growing taller instantly. This is definitely top of the 'coolest-things-that-ever-happened-to-me-chart'. I should have taken a picture. Of course, I should have. It would have looked great in my sons trophy cabinet, positioned between his medal from when he was eight (and surprisingly managed to beat four other boys in his ski school's race) and his collection of sports day diploma's.

How cool is your son and does his 'coolness' make you smile?