Saturday, August 13, 2016

30 Year Retrospective

Summer, 1986. My parents reluctantly allowed me to order a skateboard from California Cheap Skates. I procured a popular board for the time, the hot selling Vision Mark "Gator" Rogowski model. The board was a pristine white dip with the signature geometric Gator graphic in a brilliant pink to purple fade. To complete this trainwreck, I chose pink Gullwing trucks, pink Vision Shredder wheels, and all pink plastics, yes, rails, nose guard, and tail plate. I. Just. Didn't. Know. Of all of the boards I would pore over in the magazine ads, the Zorlac decks, the Santa Cruz boards, and just about every Powell-Peralta deck, all emblazoned with horned demons, slashing skating monsters, and skulls, skulls on everything, I chose a hot pink geometric pattern, oddly, one of skateboarding's most popular graphics at the time.

The day my new board arrived I hit the streets with a friend who had a board with another snoozer of a graphic, the Sure-Grip International Eric Grisham pro model. We threw some duct tape on the sides of our shoes, not because they had holes in them, but because we saw that all of the other skaters in town had duct tape on their shoes (because their shoes had holes in them from actually skateboarding), and headed to the plaza where all of the local heavies could be found most days. It would be our first of many, many skates to the plaza to session over the next few years. We had arrived, desperate to be cool.

But how cool? Even in skateboarding, which at the time was a non-elitist anti-sport if you will, there was a weird jock like pecking order composed of the older, more experienced (i.e. "better") riders at the top and the new jack posers (us, at the time) on the bottom. But it wasn't long before we were accepted into the fold. Despite our soft bellies, twangy dialect, and very new unscathed skateboards (very not cool), we became part of the crew and were soon sweeping drainage ditches and building jump ramps with the other guys.


With our new found street cred, we were desperate for female attention. We needed some skate Betties in our lives so we could be cool like the no bullshit Godoy brothers. Look at them up there. Sleeveless tees, leopard print, posing with a skateboard but not even wearing skate sneakers. These guys were punk rock, unconventional. And they probably had girls, Betties, I bet they had all of the Betties! So we did what we had to do to get the phone numbers of some girls, ones that of course didn't go to our school and lived ten minutes from town, which back then might as well have been China because we didn't drive. Our chances were slim to none when it came to actually meeting these girls, with the above factors combining with the fact that we were nobodies (at least we thought we were nobodies) we had no game. So we did what any other low-on-the-totum-pole fourteen year old kids would do. We told them we were Jeff Grosso and John Lucero. And it worked. For about a week.

2 comments:

MidWestxBlueCollar Skateboarding said...

Hahaha!!! You guys were grosso and Lucero... To get "Betties". Rich. Just, rich.
Loved the post. Short, to the point, clear, and leveled right down the line to let us into the experience...
Being 14 was like wearing a hair shirt.

Jeff said...

Thanks a million! I appreciate the feedback for sure. Check this one out if you can... http://nosissyrodeo.blogspot.com/2016/06/i-remember.html?spref=fb