Punk Rock Academy Fight Song – The Separation of Church and Skate

September 13, 2009

Skating and Punk rock. Its like donuts and coffee, tequila and lime, Starksy and Hutch...they’re two good things that go great together. But who would think that they could come together in a church parking lot? Nowadays both are more widely accepted and pro skaters earn six figures and punk songs sell cars and CBGB is now a high end store and blah blah blah and all that's really beside s the point because its been said a million times over so I’m not gonna bemoan the watering down of the culture but celebrate the fact that I’m 34 years old, have a wife and family and I still love to skate and I owe it all to my confirmation class.

Now I do have to be upfront about a couple of things. Number one I was and still am a horrible skater. I’ve been skating since the 7th grade and I still suck. Maybe its because as much as I love skating I dreaded the thoughts of broken wrists and ankles in my youth and as an adult i dread the thought of what my wife would do to me if I broke any bones (sorry babe). And number two I was originally anti skating. Not so much anti riding a skateboard because long before I got “into skating” I’d always ridden a skateboard, though mostly on my knees, but I couldn’t stand the way most the kids at my elementary school seemed to be in it for the fashion, the haircut and because it was the “cool thing” to do. I’m sure we all remember California in the late mid to late 80’s-you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting some one in Jimmy’Z shorts and the ever popular Tony Hawk bangs. Maybe I was just bitter because I couldn’t get my thick wavy hair to flop down over one eye but their attitudes just didn’t sit well with me. You could tell in a couple of years they would be over it and on to the next cool thing. So I pretended not to care about it but secretly drooled over my friend Eric M. latest issues of Thrasher magazine with shots of Christian Hosoi and stories about bands with crazy sounding names. I may not have looked like a skater but man I wanted to be one. The only problem was my mother didn’t really approve of it and being the religious woman that she’s always been objected to it mainly because she didn’t like most the graphics on most of the decks. Now by religious I mean goes to church on Sunday type and not crazy “everyone is going to hell” nutjob types. However after much begging and pleading and mentioning that my friend David M. from Sunday school skated my parents finally got me my board-a John Lucero with the cross on the bottom of the deck and the small elephant on top, I think mom must have thought it was a “holy board”.

So there we were, me and David in the church parking lot every week waiting for confirmation class to start skating around the parking lot. You remember confirmation don’t you? Those series of classes and tests you took at church  when you were in junior high to prove that you believe in Jesus and are a good Christian. Because he really cares if you can find the Sea of Galilee on map of the holy land? But regardless of confirmations intent to make me a good Christian boy (I think I turned out alright) it really helped me become a skater. We would skate in the parking lot and trade tapes for our walkmen and that seemed as important as anything else that the pastor was trying to tell us in class. We kept on thrashin’ and we managed to get confirmed (even though I did have to go to confirmation summer school to turn in some missing assignments). If it wasn’t for those two years I don’t think I would love skating as much as I still do. It was just this moment in time with this weird juxtaposition of two distinct worlds that seemed to be at odds but at the name time seemed completely natural for me and friend. So I kept on skating all through high school and college. I constantly got bothered by the university police for skating on campus, it’s kind of hard not to notice a guy with leopard spot hair and an old Caballero. No matter where I went I always kept my board in my truck. I’ve never stopped loving skating. When me and my wife rented our first house together me and my buddies built a small ghetto ass half pipe in the backyard. A couple days ago my principal asked me to start a skate club at my school-needless to say I said hell yeah. Duane Peters is pushing 50 and still rips, Tony Hawk is a mogul, Mike V. is still kicking ass and inspiring people. I haven’t seen my old friend David in more than 15 years but I hope he’s still skating. Maybe I’ll drive down to the church and skate around the lot for old times sake. I still suck but I still love it and I don’t plan on stopping. Oh and I still cant find the Sea of Galilee on any map.


-Daniel N-