I remember growing up watching the X Games on TV - they were held the exact same two weeks that my family was on vacation at the Jersey Shore every summer. And this was THE X Games, back when Tony Hawk was still "just" a skater and not yet everyone's favorite namesake video game. My family's vacation ritual, every day, was to wake up early, go for a walk at the beach to see what treasures had washed up over night, and then frantically race home to lather up in SPF in preparation for hours and hours in the sun and surf. Exhausted and dehydrated after our morning session in the waves, my brother and I always wound up on the couch in the early afternoons, recharging our batteries in the AC and glued to whatever X Games finals were on.
I don't recall anything specific about those Games, apart from wanting to be Dave Mirra and trying to figure out how to install pegs on my mountain bike. What I do vividly remember is how effortlessly cool every single guy, in every single event, looked. To the point where 20-something years later when we moved out to California, I figured that within months after buying my first skateboard I too could be bombing around the skateparks and at a bare minimum, have mastered a kickflip.
Alas, none of that was meant to be, and the skateboard I bought in the first three weeks of showing up has started to collect dust. Nothing makes you feel 35 more than a horrific wipeout while nearly standing still. More than anything though, riding around on that board gave me such a direct appreciation for just how magical it was to watch the early X Games athletes do what they did back in the mid 90s.
The skatepark at Venice Beach has quickly become one of my favorite spots to camp out in the early evenings, and I expect to be heading down there a lot more this year to just meditate on the the effortless ease of everyone riding around in the dying light. And, maybe (maybe, maybe, maybe) someday I'll join them