#NoRegrets2018 – Shawn’s Adventure


Our very own lifestyle journalist, Shawn Greyling has decided (for some odd reason), to start skateboarding again after more than a decade. This is a bigger deal than you may think… perhaps it’s because he’s coming to terms with that fact that he’s getting old.Here’s “oupa” Shawn’s story.

I used to be fit. Not like run-a-marathon toned or load-a-fridge-on-a-truck strong, but I was able to strut my stuff around the entire day, stay up late and wake up early to repeat the entire process all over again. This was up until I got my first job after high school and discovered that money can buy McDonald’s. I used to be a skaterboy (see you later boy… yeah yeah, whatever).

Now, I need you to think of this the next time you see a kid with a skateboard going down the street. Skating means a lot to a skateboarder. Thanks to skating I made friends, stayed fit, and spent a lot of time outdoors… a lot of time. It was more than just a hobby – it was the expression of a kid who didn’t know how to express himself. The sad thing about skateboarding is that society (especially parents) don’t take too kindly to us. For someone like me – a creative person, if you will – it offers an outlet into this strange world. All the kids growing up thought I was weird (which I was) but skating was the gateway to my own little world where there were people who were just as strange as me. Misfits. That’s what we were.

Sadly, along with my waistline, skateboarding went out of the window as I grew older. This broke my heart. Every time I saw someone with a skateboard I clenched my fist and said, I need to start skating again. Well, payday came and I bought a skateboard. In fact, the skateboard I bought just before writing this is the only new setup I have owned in my entire life. This won’t mean much to you but having a brand new board and wheels and bearings and trucks (those are the things the wheels are fixed to) is amazing. The day I bought my skateboard was also the day I realised something else: Money can buy you more than just a Big Mac.

When I look back at the time I spent skating (something close to a decade), I can remember almost all of it. Waking up at 4AM to go skate a shopping mall, or the time we thought it would be good take a train to Joburg CBD at the age of 13 to go skate the Standard Bank Ledge (we got lost and almost arrested on the train for buying 3rd class tickets and sitting 1st class),  or when my friend Mervyn BackSide flipped the 7 stair at Westridge High and snapped his brand new Zero skateboard… I miss those days, man. We were kings back then. Now, we’re just fat.

So, in an odd attempt at reclaiming my youth, my first #NoRegrets2018 is to start skating again. I went to a new concrete skatepark built for the kids living in the informal settlement Munsieville, and soon realised that I am out of shape. Even pushing myself from one end of the park to the other was a mission. Off balance, out of practice… that type of stuff.

Here’s a little video I put together of the day I decided to travel back to the kid I used to be… except now girls like me and I don’t stay up late anymore.

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