It’s early Friday evening, and I am lying on the couch flipping channels, when a friend, who I am currently furious with, calls my cell and “Wonderwall” starts to play. Do I answer it? I let it ring a few times… “Hey.” I say in a non-committal tone,
“I…I’m bleeding…I might pass out…I, I just needed to call someone.”
(The anger evaporates.) “What happened? Are you OK?”
“I was skateboarding down the road behind Seabury and I swerved around a car and fell and rolled down about 20 ft. The guy didn’t stop, he just kept going…you know what, it doesn’t matter, I’ll just board down the rest of the hill to your house.”
(The anger returns full force.) “You’re such an dumb-ass… we’re coming to pick you up.”
I spent about an hour applying hydrogen peroxide to his cuts/gashes/grazes, while he winced in pain…Afterwords, he wanted to skate to his friend’s house and I had to convince him to let me give him a ride. Now, the boy I’m talking about was 16 at the time, and reasonably intelligent/levelheaded… about everything except his skateboard. A few weeks earlier he had suggested a venture skateboarding down from Iao Valley to Ka’ahumanu Mall and I refused, meeting him at the mall instead, to find him sweating through his t-shirt, hair plastered to his forehead, grasping his skateboard against his chest, eyes glowing and laughing about his dangerous exploit. Don’t we all know someone like this? Chances are if you are a young guy or are friends with or related to any men between the ages of 5 and 35, you know exactly what I am talking about.
A Honolulu Advertiser Article by Micheal Tsai notes some interesting, though not completely surprising statistics:
Skateboard Related Injuries
2008: 906 emergency room trips. 70 Hospital admissions
2003-2008: 84 percent of the injured were 5-25 years old
84 percent of the injured were male
89 persons admitted to Queen’s Medical Center Trauma Registry. (20 of them were riding downhill when the incident happend)
12 Deaths. All Male. All between ages 17 and 34.
Fast. Loud. Dangerous. We get it… guys (and women, just usually in a less-life threatening fashion) will do just about anything to get that adrenaline rush. But is it really the adrenaline rush these boys are after, or is the attention? With the advent of YouTube, it is so easy to advertise last-weekend’s life threatening mission. Some disturbing videos… try these on for size… A video of a couple boys “bombing” down from Iao valley reads in the description: “mike dub and tj charging the rough and shitty road of iao valley in shorts, tanktops and slippers..chea!” Are your boys going to laugh at you if you trade your trucker hat in for a helmet?
Another video shows some guys long boarding down from Haleakala. The footage is epic. Above the clouds, nothing but skateboards and speed…it makes me want to head up there bright and early tomorrow morning… but I cringe a little when I think of a recent drive to the crater, and how I almost hit a pedestrian with his dog coming around a tight corner at just the wrong second. That was a close enough call, and what if it had been a skateboarder dead-center in the middle of my lane? Skateboards don’t have brakes. I would have had no time to react, and neither would he.
There is no use in saying not do it… that would be like the recent Maui Weekly Headline that reads: “Maui Aims to be Graffiti-Free.” by Sarah Ruppenthal. That’s just a call to action for local graffiti artists and taggers…some of whom are creative and original to the point that I’d call their graffiti masterpieces, not something to paint over with ugly brown white-out paint. So my only comment is: Ditch the trucker hat and put on a god-damn helmet, get your buddy to follow you in his car, and stay on the right side of the road. Please and Thankyou. By: Sierra Brown