LIV SEIDEL, THE "I USED TO SKATE" PHENOMENON

 
 

A few days after the release of the Jenkem article on psychoanalysis and skateboarding, I was studying my learning and behavior textbook and found a diagram on the conditioning of fear following a skateboarding injury.

Having considerably injured myself this last summer (3 broken bones in my ankle resulting in surgery...now I have a plate and 9 screws in there), I laughed and was like, 'that's me'! Just like in the model from my textbook, I've acquired a conditioned fear of getting back on my skateboard. Granted, I'm not fully healed yet, and my ankle is as fragile as fucking glass. Once summer rolls around though, I'm back to rolling around with my girls.

But when I first saw the textbook model, my initial reaction wasn't just to laugh at my own misfortune--I made a super puzzled face like, hold up, I have homies who have broken more bones than they can count and they still go out and rip. I don't think Pavlovian conditioning can account for the phenomenon of getting back on the board after serious injury. And this is what--to me--separates a fad-skateboarder ("Yeh, I used to skate") from a core-to-the-core skateboarder.  These are the kids that went out day after day, struggled hour after hour, to get the trick right, and are still at it, year after year.

I think the true separation lies in the aspect of determination. Those that keep skating after numerous injuries and surgeries are those that learned determination from skateboarding, and learned to channel their past shit, their daddy-issues, their struggles with their partner, into something constructive. Where in life, there usually isn't that "perfect trick"--you and your girlfriend are never gonna get past that one issue, your daddy ain't gonna love you like you want--in skateboarding, you can reach the fucking destination. You can achieve what you see in your mind. The pain is sublimated (in Freudian terms) so that you can wake up and get through the damn day, and you can actually succeed. That determination becomes the driving force, and no injury can stop you from that incomparable feeling of finally getting something right.