I busted my knee last week while skateboarding to work. I can imagine this statement to be pretty normal coming out of a 20+ year old hipster living in a Western urban setting. But this is Singapore, I'm a 36-year-old with a blood pressure problem, and a father of two. I've received opinion from various corners of society that either this is a ridiculous idea, or I'm just having another one of my mid-life crisis moments.
Particularly with my recent injury, I've been met with a very helpful "You see lah! You see lah!" both at work and at home. But, as I explained to the Mother of Xander
a couple of nights ago when she asked me if I was going on the skateboard again after what happened, I have to skate
. And this is why.
A day after I bought my board, Xander asked if he could try it. Now, here was a 5-year-old that looks at roller coasters as massive contraptions of impending doom, and would turn off the TV without hesitation the moment the screen flashed that "due to the portrayal of violence, parental guidance is advised for the following programme", asking if he could try riding on a wooden board on 4 tiny wheels with no handles for balance or control. So I let him try it out. He went on for hours, over two evenings. I thought I was never getting my board back. It was the first time I saw my son keep at something for more than 15 minutes, and loving every single moment of it, even the falls and spills.
Well, most of the falls and spills. On the second evening, about 30 minutes into his skateboarding session at a park near our home, he took a fall on the asphalt track and scraped his knee. As expected, he cried in pain and wailed to go home. After I washed his knee and put on a plaster kindly offered to us by a passer-by, I decided to give him a little pep talk while he nursed his bleeding knee and bruised ego.
"You still want to go home?" (Nod. Sniff.)
"Do you like skateboarding?" (Nod. No sniffing.)
"And because you fell down and scraped your knee, you're going to give up and stop? When yesterday you remember you were falling all over the place and laughing and having so much fun?" (No nodding. No sniffing.)
I pass him his water bottle.
"Have a drink. Take a few minutes to rest. Then you decide what you want to do."
A few minutes and three-quarters of a bottle of water later, he turns to me and says, "I want to skate some more." Sniff, and wipe. And he was at it again, for another 2½ hours. He slept like a log that night.
The very next morning, after dropping Xander off at school, I busted my knee while skateboarding to work. 5 days of straggling around the house like a limping fool, sorry for not being able to go to work as a result, but not sorry for deciding to relive a part of my youth I haven't thought to do again for 22 years. I told the Wife, after all that talk about not giving up after a scrape on the knee (I pulled a couple of ligaments actually), I could not possibly justify not going back on the skateboard after I've recovered. Besides, this is Singapore, I'm a 36-year-old with a blood pressure problem, and a father of two. I should be skating.