Full disclosure: Despite all my talk of skating and the fact that I have my own board and there's a small colony of skateboards leaning up against the wall at my front door, I skated a total of ONE TIME this summer. ONE WONDERFUL, GLORIOUS TIME.
I've regretted the fact that I talked so much about skating before tour because by August I couldn't stop thinking what if I break my hands if I skate on a day off? How will I type and do my job with broken hands? Somehow I imagined a cast extensive enough to require a little stilt between my torso and arm. It was a bad break, bad enough to break both arms along with my hands. Really bad.
My one skate was in Salt Lake at the very beginning of the summer during rehearsals. I was walking around the city with Neil Wilson and we spotted a deserted parking garage underneath an apartment building. I scooted around and leaned this way and that and took a few turns and was pretty pleased with myself. Nothing fancy but it felt like a solid start.
For the rest of summer I was harassed by Neil Rinden and Tyler, both of whom would ask me periodically how my skating was going and then make fun of me for being a poser. Neil Rinden was particularly relentless and kept asking to see my wheels to which I kept giving him the finger. Finally, on the second-to-last show day he said that we had to do a photo shoot of me "tearing it up." Sure, I said, no problem.
I forgot, though, how crazy the last show day is. There is so much to wrap up and close out and take care of and it's one of those days where I want to be sentimental and thank everyone personally from the bottom of my heart for all their hard work but I end up resorting to Lamaze breathing to try to calm the fuck down and at best manage to share a few beers in the parking lot after load out.
When I saw Neil in the dressing room corridor that day he said, "Roncker, get your board out!" and I distinctly remember replying simply, "NO," over my shoulder as we passed. The photos didn't happen, the wheels still look new and I still can't skate very well but I still think it looks fun especially now that I'm less worried about the repercussions of being in a body cast.
But what I really wanted to tell you to check out is this: A.skate, a nonprofit for autistic kids.
Children with autism often struggle with the ability to follow directions, play on a team due to the lack of social skills, and many require activities to be performed on their own terms.
Autism, like skateboarding, can be unpredictable and often times unruly. We embrace the parts of autism that are hard to understand and give these kids an outlet that is free of rules or judgment, and allows them to be social without being “social”.
How cool is that?