Ryan Chin can’t do all the tricks he used to, but that won’t keep him from teaching his kids two important words: Keep Trying.
I used to rattle off one-arm pull ups and climb steep rock faces. On my skateboard, I used to ollie garbage cans, slide down hand railings, and fly off loading docks.
I can’t do that shit anymore because at 41 years old, I’m grinding into the Has Been stage of my life. I no longer work out to get stronger; I work out so I don’t get weaker.
Surfing helps me cope. Weekend surfers like myself can still catch the bomb—pull in—hope and believe. The big drop and monster tube is only a stroke away.
I also test my ollie every year: up curbs, one eighties, and over my kids’ toys. And the last time I snowboarded with my mate, we sprayed rooster tails at forty miles an hour, split a pitcher of micro-brew, and carved some more.
So I’m not tossing in the towel or anything; I’m just not flying off loading docks. I’m also coaching some Will Bees and that helps me embrace Ripper Decline. My oldest boy is 4 and his little bro is 2. My wife, Lori, and I are everything to them as they are to us; we are their first memories. They will have many “teachers” in their life but only one Mommy, and one Daddy.
It’s crucial that I embed memories of me rippin’ it before arthritis sets in. I know anything can happen; life and health is fragile. So I my Powell and Peralta Mike McGill reissue, and give it a go when the opportunity presents itself.
On my 39th birthday, I ollied my son’s toy trucks of various sizes. That ollie-incident was enough for him to give me a fist bump with a little glint in his eyes. Of course toddlers gawk at anything their parents do; I think he had the same glint when I juggled sharp garden tools for him (at a respectable distance of course).
It’s no secret, kids want to be like their parents. I hope he remembers that ollie more than he remembers me yelling at his Mom in what can only be respectably called a marriage-growing-moment.
Recently, we watched the video of the ollie together and I pointed out how, “I failed a lot before…I DID IT!”
“You DID it Daddy, Daddy did it!” he yelled.
At that moment I realized it wasn’t about me nailing the ollie. I was modeling how to have fun, how to try, and most importantly—keep trying.
In order to call yourself a Has Been you must first Be.
My sons Will Be.
photo courtesy of author
Find more of The Good Men Project on Facebook