Skateboarding: Why should youth be wasted on the young?

Skateboarding at 40+

For the last couple of years, I was a frequent visitor to a magical place, a place where, honestly, I had no real business being at age 42: a skateboard shop!

I was instantly a kid again, trying to figure out how many lawns I'd need to mow to buy the latest Tony Hawk skateboard. But it turns out I didn't have to, because my wife surprised me by buying me one for my birthday.

Without a doubt, it was the best present I'd ever gotten, and also the one that most necessitated me updating my will. Because you see, while inside I felt like a kid again, outside I remained very much a middle-aged man with a sense of balance that could only be described as intermittent.

I didn't let that stop me, though, and despite more than a few falls I felt like it was coming back to me.

Heck, I even skateboarded past a bunch of teenagers one time and I swear I heard one of them say, "That guy is cool!"

luek-burbank-skateboarding-620.jpg
Contributor Luke Burbank recently took up a new hobby, skateboarding, and while inside he felt like a kid again, outside he remained very much a middle-aged man with intermittent balance. CBS News

I was on top of the world!

And then, I saw the meme – you know, one of those funny pictures that lives online. 

It's called, "How do you do, fellow kids?" and it shows actor Steve Buscemi trying to seem youthful, carrying a skateboard.

how-do-you-do-fellow-kids-meme-620.jpg
A reminder of life's inexorable progression. CBS News

In an instant, I realized that was me – a silly-looking 42-year-old with a mortgage and high cholesterol who thought he could reconnect with his youth.

I knew it was time to hang up my board. The dream was over.

And then something interesting happened. At a radio show taping I was part of, I met the actual Tony Hawk, skateboard legend, who, it turns out, is eight years older than me – and still skateboarding every day.

luke-burbank-youthful-skateboarder-promo.jpg
Luke Burbank. CBS News

I told him about my doubts, and he confided in me that he still gets nervous before jumping his board 30 feet in the air and completely rotating it two-and-a-half times. I told him I knew how he felt, because sometimes I just fall off the board for no reason.

For a brief moment he wasn't Tony Hawk and I wasn't Luke Burbank. We were just two dudes, talking about skateboarding.

Will I ever be as good as him? Probably not! But am I giving up? Not a chance.

I've just got one question I need answered: How do you do, fellow kids?

       
For more info:

      
Story produced by Young Kim.

      
See also: