THE ORANGE SPIEL - "MY VERY FIRST TRICK"
By Abe Dubin
WORDS: Abe Dubin
We all remember our first tricks on a skateboard. Scraping your first ollie and soaring centimeters above the ground. Holding your breath and taking the plunge on your first three-foot quarterpipe drop in. Dinking the end of the neighborhood flat bar with your first boardslide—consequently scratching in your first slide marks. Earning your indisputable stripes of victory. Achieving an indescribable sense of accomplishment and triumph. These are the moments that live on in infamy. Shiny golden trophies mounted in our memory.
Not only does learning a trick flood your heart with pride and uncontrollable elation, it's a carbon stamp on where you were at that moment in your life. How old were you? Who was in the crew? What stained T-shirt from Old Navy where you wearing? Landing that trick freezes all these details in your memory like Walt Disney’s body underneath Splash Mountain.
We all remember our first mobbed ollie down the local three set, or stomping our first roly-poly kickflip (well, some of us do). But do we remember our “first trick ever”? Our very first ever, that is: a skateboard trick that nearly every member of your family, from toddler to elder, can do.
In my research and experience, this trick is so universal but also so unappreciated, it does not even bear a proper name. I can only describe this trick in its process and execution, and I’m sure you’ll remember… wayyyy back when…
The trick starts by standing perfectly still. Maybe in your grassy backyard, or in the gravel driveway. Maybe the steamy summer asphalt of the cul-de-sac or the rusty red mulch under the swing set. Remember: you’re not riding, just standing still. Remember?
Standing where you are, you simply place the skateboard, grip side down, on top of your feet (preferably while wearing shoes, but its your feet, not mine). Once the board is firmly positioned on your feet, and you can sense the weight of the deck on your toes, you gingerly lunge forward, flipping the board in a 1/2 flip rotation. Land firmly on the board, knees slightly bent to absorb the impact, shoulders squared, totally bolts. You’ve just landed your first trick!
Everyone I’ve ever skated with, whether it be for years, my entire life, or just someone borrowing my board for the very first time, has undoubtedly done this trick.
Perhaps the collective consciousness of skateboarding is so strong that by even attempting to skateboard, at absolutely any capacity, no matter how limited, you KNOW how to execute this trick. Perhaps it is deeply embedded, instinctually, in the mass mind of all who encounter skateboards. At any rate, you learned this trick one day.
The joy of learning is like a seed that grows with time, energy, and passion, into the beautiful flower garden of the master craft. This first small trick victory shows you that anything is possible and the road to realizing your dreams is paved with fun.
The process isn’t always as easy. Sometimes skateboard tricks seem like the most mentally and physically taxing endurance test of your life. A challenge where survival itself seems to hang in the balance. Despite the occasional or constant torment, skaters are students of their environment and their own imagination. Learning what works, what doesn’t, and trudging on until the nuances and nearly imperceivable wrinkles are ironed out.
Keep learning tricks. Relearn tricks. Remember what you learned and how it made you feel. Learn tricks and capture a snapshot of who you are right now. Never stop learning and keeping with you the vital info of each slam, shinner, and snapped deck. We may be food-shopping at the dollar store, but skaters are beyond wealthy in knowledge and the invaluable skill of self-education.
Abe Dubin, better known as "Orange Man," remembers the first time… and the last time. Everything in between is kinda fuzzy. Visit his YouTube channel, or the Fancy Lad site, and get another dose of carotene.
"The Orange Spiel" appears in Berrics Magazine. Get your copy in The Canteen today!