Insulting Injury…to its face!

The Elbow                      

I believe my injury is severe bruising of the UCL. 

This weekend included multiple sessions and I would have normally blogged about each. However, Friday nights session included two falls which left my wrist and hip badly scraped and bruised. The committed boardrider that I am, these discomforts didn’t keep me from heading back to the garage Sunday afternoon for a couple hours of solo skating. Session in the books, heading to my car, I hit a stupid yellow pole with my front-left-wheel and was violently thrown to the ground.  

I’m getting ahead of myself, let me rewind to Friday night and go through all the events that have left me in this sad state.  

Rod called to say that he and his dad, Troy, were heading to the garage Friday night to skate.  I was really wanting to go with them because Troy is a salty old skater from the 70’s who was an early influence originally pushing Rod, myself and the rest of our crew to begin to skate.  I had seen Troy a few weeks ago and he mentioned that he wanted to check out the garage and get back into skating himself-Troy’s a great guy, I can imagine him back in the day skating some G&S toothpick pretending to be Tony Alva.  

I called Bill who also said he would be there Friday night and my mind was made up, I had to figure out a way to get there.  The problem was that I worked until after 9pm and was supposed to pick up Veronica at mom’s afterward.  Mom would normally have no problem watching her a couple extra hours, however getting over the “hand, foot, mouth,” virus, Veronica has been more of a handful than usual. Still I decided to ask mom if she could watch her a bit.  “Oh Matt she’s been soooo fussy tonight, and then I have her in the morning.  I don’t know if I can do it.”  “She could just stay the night,” I replied. “So you can skateboard?” Mom is still figuring out how serious I am about skating, can you imagine that she doesn’t always think it’s a good reason for her to watch extend Veronica’s visit!  Still she relented and I had a couple of hours to go to the garage.

Racing from work, Tool screeching from the speakers, my pre-skate ritual had begun.  Jumping around, singing into mirrors or banging my head to the loudest music I can find, my ritual is very informal. Once complete, I feel juiced as a bucking bull ready to bust from the shoot complete with back sweat and spray coming out of my nose.  Nothing, at that point, can keep me from getting on my board.  

Exiting from Broadway, Bill called with unsettling news.  “Rod fell and busted his head open. Him and Troy are gone, and its kinda killed the vibe,”  Bill was ready to leave too!  “That’s why you and I wear helmet’s and I’m practically here, wait for me.”  Bill relented, turns out he was a little dehydrated and a promise to bring water kept him around for a few more runs.

Stepping off the elevator, Bill was waiting for water.  He gave me a brief synopsis of Rod’s fall and I made a silent promise to myself to not let the pavement ruin my night.  Only one thing left to do…RIDE! 

I was really owning it Friday.  I had a breakthrough Wednesday in the neighborhood and some old surfing techniques were coming back to me.  I finally remembered that you have to steer with your rear foot and to push my legs forward when turning backside.  I had also read a great quote from Laird Hamilton about lessons learned from surfing that I was able to apply to my longboarding.  

“You can’t kind of catch a wave. You either catch it or you don’t. It’s a commitment.  That’s just like anything else-you either go or you don’t. He who hesitates is lost in the end.”  USA Weekend, July 4-6, 2008  

That advice is great for anyone trying to get better on a board.  You have to go for it!  If you’re worried about getting hurt you will hesitate and hold something back.  Unlike surfing, holding back may not instantly cause you to eat shit, but it will keep you from breaking through to new heights.  When I ride, I push the limit and go for broke, I try to commit and leave it all on the, figurative, pavement. 

Eventually Amanda called saying she was off work and I invited her to head to the garage to see what I’m always off doing.  Upon her arrival she utters “I’m only watching one run and heading home.”  After a long shift, Amanda bordering on starvation, she was more interested in eating than watching me skate.  Finally I knew her priorities! 

After enjoying herself more than expected Amanda stayed for several runs.  On about the 5th or 6th that she watched I tried a particularly hard slide and went headfirst into the ground, my helmet and wrist guards breaking my fall.  Unfazed I continued to skate several more runs.  On about run 9, I was carving and tail-sliding particularly hard, showing off basically.  For the second time in 5 minutes I again fly headfirst over my board, sliding on my wrist guards right at Amanda and Bill (he had stopped for a breather near where Amanda sat).  I popped up and relatively unscathed I hollered “Now that’s what pads are for!”   And it was! Having fallen twice, my wrist was a little bruised and my hip skinned, but other than flesh wounds was completely fine.  I left the garage thoroughly satisfied with my session and quite proud of my skating.  I even enjoyed the falls!

Fast forward to Sunday.

Sitting at the house, trying to bug John into taking out the boat; I decided screw it, I’m heading by myself to the garage to get some exercise. I had resolved to get on my board at least 5 days a week, and having nothing else to do, why not go by myself?  I would stay within my limits to assure I didn’t fall again on my heavily bruised palm and wrist.  

Skating for almost two hours, I was thoroughly exercised and felt I had continued to improve on my Friday night session.  Turning towards my car I tried to skate out a very narrow space between a pole and a curb, and dammit if I didn’t clip that curb with my wheel!  The board creeping like molasses, it was still enough that I went flying to the pavement.  Immediately, feeling faint and lightheaded,  I knew I had hurt myself. Sweat pouring out, my entire arm numb, I struggled to remove my pads and get into the car.

Arriving home, Amanda and I assessed the damage.  I had shooting pains down from my elbow, my lower arm had a spot of black and blue, and my elbow was a mess- a swollen piece of meat and bone.  I could already hear the “I told you so’s,” and resolved early to avoid the doctor. However, after consulting my old friend Michael, now a NYC-ER doctor, we decided to head to OU Med Center to be assessed.  

I waited like 4 hours in serious pain!  Finally I told Amanda that if the triage nurses didn’t think it was an emergency, why did I!  “Let’s avoid the co-pay and call it a night.  See how it is tomorrow. If they tell me to go home and ice it I’ll be really pissed.”  And with that we left.  

It’s now Tuesday night and my arm continues to improve.  I think I badly bruised my UCL and jammed my arm from wrist to shoulder. No more shooting pain, but it does continue to ache.  No matter,  I fully plan on boarding this weekend! 

My conclusion…injuries are temporary.  So is adrenaline, but the rush keeps you high for a lifetime.  When boardriding or doing anything else, commit to it, go for it and don’t be defeated by a little pain or fear. Life is short, live it to the fullest!



  1. Lance · July 17, 2008

    That’s funny!!! “hit a yellow pole” haha.. wish i was there to see that… tell all the fools I say what up!

    love the blog….hate the picture!

  2. sandrar · September 10, 2009

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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