Skateboard-Face-Scraping

At least 300 Words in 15 Minutes — Daily Writing Exercise — Zero Draft with no edits

I felt the skateboard lurch forward in a jerky motion as I rolled over the loose gravel. Speed would matter if I was going to break the record, so, lying on my stomach on the deck of the board with my knees slightly bent and head down for aerodynamics, I began pushing against the asphalt harder and harder. With every thrust of my arms the board would wobble side to side with each new burst of speed. I continued to lean forward and thrust until I entered the steepest part of the hill. At this point I grabbed the front of the skateboard with elbows tucked in and hands on the front of the board to help with steering at the higher speeds.

I should point out that skateboards have come a really long way since 1980! These days you can choose from a variety of decks, trucks, and wheels for different environments and purposes. But in 1980 you had one plastic skinny board that came in a few bright colors. They were wobbly and unstable and shaped like surfboard with one end slightly raised for turning quickly.

We were in a neighborhood boy competition: who can go the furthest on the skateboard without propulsion? We could gain speed until the hill, but one we crossed the stick marking the line all you could do was tuck and coast.

Helmets? Elbow and knee pads? Yeah right. This was 1980. Safety was an after thought. New bicycles came with padding on the handlebars, a pad on the top bar of the frame, and a pad on the connection between the handlebars and the frame for, er, um, crotch protection. You could also get a bike with knobby tires and a numbered dirt bike placard on the front. Mongoose also made a bike with these amazing spider mag wheels. This was all before bikes and skateboards became “Rad”. Half-pipes and padding were a few short years away from becoming mainstream.

I needed this win. I was in a distant third after my first two attempts. I was convinced in my six year old mind that, with a few modifications in my form and a little more speed, I could shatter the old record and set a new one that couldn’t be beaten. I may even set a new world record, I thought as I leaned forward and down.

These were the days of “records”. Evil Knievel was regularly breaking daredevil stunt records. A new show was airing called “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” where amazing stories were featured from around the globe. Occasionally they showed a segment about Guinness Book of World Records. We had begged for a copy of the book so we could try to set some new world records in our neighborhood.

As the pitch of the hill increased to the steepest part of the hill the rear wheels came off the ground slightly. I panicked and shifted my weight backward a little. Then my feet touched the ground and the skateboard wobbled violently. I regained control but now my aerodynamics were off! I knew I needed to move forward on the board again, but not too much or the board would tip forward on two wheels again! I made the move forward but I miscalculated badly. The board tipped forward on the front trucks and for just a second I was on two wheels screaming down the hill. In an effort to move backward on the deck I pressed my hands down on the front of the board. Instead of going backward the board tipped forward more from the force of my hands.

The last thing I remember was pavement coming toward my forehead and closing my eyes. My face acted like the brake and scraped the gravely asphalt for a few seconds before I could make the choice to roll off the board and abort the attempt. I failed to set the record but now I had bigger problems. My two front teeth hurt and my lip was getting fatter and my forehead, nose, and chin were bleeding badly. I had scraped the front of my face along the ground for at least 10 feet! (Surely that was a world record?! Somebody should check the Guinness Book of World Records for “longest face scrape”).

I remember crying my way home, anticipating another spray of Bactine and a cold wash rag scrubbing the wounds to get all the debris out of the cuts. The only benefit would be a super-hero themed Band-aid.