Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lessons from the Globe warehouse I

Raph invited me to a skateboarding event at the Globe warehouse, a distributor of skateboards and skate gear. He called it a 'skate jam'. After he reassured me that there's nothing untoward at the event, I decided to accompany him. We entered the warehouse located near the Melbourne port district, an industrial area dense with warehouses, factories, and other commercial buildings. There, running across the full length of a self contained section of the warehouse is an extra wide, expertly crafted, wooden half pipe. It comprises three sections of different heights, approx. 5 ft at the lower end and 12ft at the highest with swimming pool tiling adorning its peak.

Three dozen people are standing on the platforms of the ramp watching skaters enter the ramp and execute impressive tricks. A stereo is blasting some heavy music, and some of the people are drinking cans of beer as they watch the skateboarding. Because the ramp is unusually wide, the skaters are building up immense speeds and performing long grinds along the coping (metal piping running along the top edge of a ramp) with an elegant, flowing style reminiscent of surfing.

Both the skaters and the onlookers are highly energized. The skaters are visibly charged with adrenaline, and the observers, vicariously intoxicated by it, are excitedly cheering them on. The energy is so contagious that I feel fortified by the increase of adrenaline pouring into my blood stream. At this point it struck me why people enjoy the experience: the thrill of the 'skate jam' jolts one to life like defibrillators shock the heart back into lively rhythm...                               

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