Monday, March 08, 2010

skimming the waves

I am a BS kid.

Before soccer -- that is.

When I was growing up, my friends and I did not have the frenetic schedule of British prime ministers -- being chauffeured from engagement to engagement by a now-outdated hot voter group.

Blame it on soccer.

Sure, we had little league and Pop Warner, but we never traveled long distances for games.

Soccer seems to have inducted American children into the same migratory class as the Sooty Shearwater.  Think locally.  Drive globally.

I thought about that lifestyle this past weekend while I watched a three-day skimboard competition here in Melaque.

If you have not seen skimboards in person, you are missing one of life's true sports.  (I took a literary run at the topic in gidgets wanted.)

Imagine standing on a beach that has a single surf break just a few feet from the shore.  Your sole sports kit is a board less than four feet long, similar to a surfboard -- but with no fin. 

You need to watch for the hint of a wave powerful enough to lift you and your board, but not too large to overpower your skill level.  You know it when you see it. 

When you do, you run as if the IRS is hot on your audit trail.  You drop your board on the wet sand proving Newton's laws of motion -- as it speeds along with your strides.

You jump on the board as it enters the water, and you skim out to your wave.  If all goes well, you do a spin or two on the crest -- or a jump -- or a curl.  Whatever your free spirit chooses.

It is a young person's sport.  Until this weekend, I would have said "a young man's sport."  But I finally saw two young women skimboarders on Saturday.

But it is definitely not a sport for the post-20s set.  The legs go.  The center of gravity shifts.  Stay in skimboarding too long and you will look as ridiculous as Dick Cheney in a mosh pit.

The competitors this weekend did not look ridiculous.  They were as graceful as Baryshnikov.  As athletically powerful as Michael Jordan.  Or did I mean that in reverse?

I should have taken the time to learn the competition rules.  I didn't. 

I simply enjoyed the experience as an art form.  Camus would have been proud of me.

And I knew I was in Mexico when the competition was over.  The competitors did not climb into their mothers' vans.

They simply walked back to their homes and hotels.

Just like BS kids.

Note:  If you are interested in seeing part of the competition, take a look at: Skimboard Competition


Karen said...

I know....what is it with kids now they have to have play dates, we played outside all day. They have to have organized sports and a different one each day, we played in the sprinkler it is sad they do not learn how to solve their own problems because they have adults who do it for them. Ahhhhh the good old days.

Chrissy y Keith said...

"as ridiculous as Dick Cheney in a mosh pit." snork.snork.snork. That's funny.

- Mexican Trailrunner said...

Dick Cheney in a mosh pit! And the winner for Best Mental Image Of The Year goes to. . . .Steve Cotton - for his vision of Dick Cheney tossed into the air and passed overhead through a mosh pit! Hooray.

1st Mate said...

I haven't yet seen the whole skimboarding process yet, though I've seen kids racing after their boards on the beach, what a hoot! So I went to Google and came up with this great YouTube vid (just turn off the rap if it annoys).

Nancy said...

Steve, I always come check and see what you are writing about but lately you have been outdoing yourself with the complicated prose.

Like this:
"When I was growing up, my friends and I did not have the frenetic schedule of British prime ministers -- being chauffeured from engagement to engagement by a now-outdated hot voter group."

That kind of sentence makes me itchy - I can't help it. I don't understand why you write this way.

I know I'm in the minority as you get lots of compliments on your writing, but I find I am skipping or skimming (no pun intended) your posts frequently and thought I should say something.

Have a great time exploring Pátzcuaro and San Miguel.

Anonymous said...

hi steve,

got a good laugh out of this post! i've always enjoyed your style of writing and look forward to reading your blog every day. keep those laughs coming.


Steve Cotton said...

Karen -- And that is the other side of this. We treat our children as if they had adult schedules, but we then infantalize them in their decision-making.

Chrissy and Mexican Trailrunner -- Thanks. The thought tickled me, as well.

1st Mate -- Thanks for the site. But you should come see them in person.

Nancy -- Thanks for the observation. Due to some scheduling changes around here, I may not get to Pátzcuaro and Morelia until the week after next. But it will happen.

Teresa -- Thank you very much for the nice compliment. It will be an incentive to keep me writing after I head north for my short sabbatical.

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