There are few things that really bond us together as skateboarders. Like - all of us. We can pretend that we all get along, but let's be honest, if you see somebody with an insane kit, a Monster hat, or doing some ridiculous shit, you're most likely going to group up like you're straight out of Mean Girls and talk shit about them.
But the glue that holds us together and unites us, is the shinner. In a world where we find enjoyment watching people suffer, there's something about laughing at a shinner that just doesn't feel right. Why is this?
Well folks - the reality is that the shinner represents something more than just an injury. The shinner is a rite of passage. It's the brand that you wear on your lower leg that shows that you've committed yourself to this life of misery.
The first shinner that you get really sets the tone. It's the sink or swim. You gonna tough it out or are you gonna cry?
But there's something more to this particular injury that I'm really having a hard time putting a finger on. There are snakebites, ankle rolls, sprained wrists, concussions, and this list goes on - but none of them are quite as remarkable as the shinner. Something so dull and simple about it - yet piercing and seemingly endless.
A shinner WILL make you sit down for a moment and question why you skateboard.
And maybe that's what it is. Here's the dark reality - as you start to get older, it becomes harder to convince yourself to go skate everyday. You'll deny this in your youth, but I promise you - the passion that you have as a teenager slowly begins to wane into an effort to get some exercise, and maintain your basic tricks. The number of friends you have who skate dissipates year over year until you are left with a bare bones crew. Women become less attracted to you for being a skateboarder, and are really looking for stability (reasonably so). Your girlfriend that you've had for a few years now tolerates it in doses, but really only puts up with it because she's probably a really rad chick who understands that it's the one thing that you've ever really loved in your life.
And with all of these factors taken into consideration, coupled with the anxieties related to work, family, and other aspects of life, the release that skateboarding provides becomes essential, even if just to get away from it all for a minute.
So when you go to the park after work, try a fucking big spin, and take a shinner, you're tossed into a state of emotional turmoil. You lay on the ground staring into the sky asking yourself what it all means. Why am I here. I don't need this. I don't need this.
But for some reason, as a child comes up to ask you if you're okay, you put yourself back on your feet, and persevere.
THIS is the defining moment.