Tony Alva @ Gonzales. 1977

Gonzales pool -2000 -My birthday party.

Perhaps the insanity began as I picked myself up off the slimy, gray locker room floor all those years ago; smelling my own acrid fear. I huddled next to my locker; my ears flushed hot from the blows to my head, avoiding the laughing eyes of the accepted. My own pathetic insecurities embraced me; wrapping their clammy arms around my nervous, frail body just as fiercely as any other teenagers. Wasn’t that what being an adolescent was all about? Pubic hair, questioning authority, waiting for the phone to ring, and the unending greasy skin?

The incurable disease of ‘being accepted’, rode with me , in a monotonous parade of long nights at home, & endless walks to the bookshelf. I didn’t have friends, and I  didn’t know why. According to my own narrow 13 year old standards, I was cursed by a pee-wee body, freckles, and big ears. I looked like Alfred E. Newman….without the smile. I was picked on & picked last. Gym class intramurals proved to be the death of me. Fat Wendy was chosen before me…humiliation was my constant companion. However, Kenny P. proved to be the bane of my existence.

A Nazi Stormtrooper in appearance & attitude, he was brutality personified. Daunting, dangerous; he pushed & prodded at my feeble attempts to prove my athletic prowess. He knocked me around the locker room after class….regularly. Like I said, I think my insanity began there. Amid the looming, metal lockers that stood row-on-row, like Confederate soldiers, I also turned on that which he tried to destroy; myself.

I couldn’t catch a ball…but when I stood on a skateboard, everything changed for me. I could ride it. Skateboarding is the first thing in my life that I could-naturally-do. The image of Tony Alva at Gonzales pool & ones like it, helped me make it through those terrible times. Years later, I ended up having one of my birthday sessions at Gonzales…who would’ve thought?!  By the way—Kenny P. died in a house fire years ago…I heard that he was running down the street on fire, shrieking & slapping himself in the head; trying to put his hair out. Firemen stated that, “He looked like a wooden match…” I actually felt sorry for him. Thanks to Jim Goodrich & Bryce Kanights for the images. Skate Long/Skate Strong-Ozzie


11 thoughts on “Pathos.

  1. I’ve always dreamed of sk8ing Gonzo’s back in the day.
    Look at you now Ozzie….you da man!
    Let haters be haters…live your life!

    Love yourself – Dig yourself!

  2. Having played all number of ball sports and skating since I was pretty young and being terrorized by kids for being skinny, having parents with funny accents I found a refuge in being good at sports in general but ultimately picked skating for it’s self pressure and peer acceptance.

    The constant win or you’re nothing attitude eventually drove me away from team/ball sports and toward skating.

    Skating also promoted the get up and try again and suck up the pain help me stand up for myself and eventually growing to be 6’4″ and 200+ pounds didn’t hurt either.

    I have noticed that I have (and my skating peers) remained young at heart and continue to have more fun than any of those cool kids do now in general.

    Thanks for all the great stuff you post in here Ozzie.

  3. bummer for Kenny P.

    You on the other hand have a gift with the pen (or keyboard)…I enjoy the shit out of your blog and your take on matters rolling or not. Keep up the good work.

  4. looks like you never learned the one most effective tool of fighting off bullies in grade school….. the helicopter!!!

    • thanks for the comments. its cool. i was tiny & those years are hard on -virtually- everyone. Nobody pushes me around any longer…except Salba. hehehe-Ozzie

      • didn’t mean to take your post lightly, it just instantly reminded me of a 3rd grade incident with a guy twice my size… i was a toothpick growing up. a friend taught me a move called the helicopter. it was genius and it worked and looking back i can’t help but laugh at how i must have looked flailing my long skinny arms at this fat fuck like that. basically you just spin your arms like a windmill… ok maybe it was called the windmill, not the helicopter…it’s all coming back now. another trick i learned was “i know voodoo”. i had a girl threaten to “put a goose-egg” on my head. i wasn’t sure what that meant, but my uncle told me to tell her that i knew voodoo because apparently “black people are afaid of magic”… this was in mississippi (i’m not racist, i promise, i was in 4th grade at this time)… it worked, she never messed with me again.

        obviously my experiences were not as harsh and painful as your’s but at the time, i hated life. i got lucky, i guess.

        it’s these things that shape our future relations with other people. some of us have shitty trials while others are the shitty trial. it sucks but once we recognize where we came from and how it has affected us, we have a great tool!!

  5. They took much from me…many pieces…but I refused to give them reign over my life long after they were gone from mine. They can’t take my joy…no one can. Eventually, we all take our power back, we all reclaim our light….because its ours!

    And nothing and no one is worth robbing self or the world of our joy.

    No one….ever. “Follow your bliss” to the pool, to the board, to the limitlessness of your being!

  6. karma has a weird sense of humor.many surfers and skaters from the 70’s now have battles with drugs,cancer etc.the 70’s was a testing ground for alot of pay your dues until your dead.anybody that saids they pay their dues is full of it.

  7. I was delt my share of beatdowns as well. Since I was one of the only “white” kids in my neighboorhood it was rarely one on one either. Drugs, crime, & violence were my escape. Skateboarding drifted to my subconscious whilst I delt with the coming up years. I eventually learned through the ass whooping that others delt me how to stand up, & the value of not backing down from certain pain, & fear, and through this, respect. In the Mexican neighboorhoods in which I lived, this, more than anything else was valued. Now, years later, I have since rediscovered my love of skateboarding, & though I have no love of violence, I do still cherish the lessons I learned in those years. Thanks goes out to the vatos that kicked my ass, & taught me how to stand my ground. We’re all the same, we all just want to hold our heads up when we walk…

  8. It took years before I realized that most people weren’t part of the “in” crowd during adolescence. I spent my early adult years trying to get over the punishment that the adolescent years doled out. Those years do fuck with your head . . . often for life.

    The nice thing about middle age, I think, is that you know who you are and what you are. Fuck those who can’t accept you.

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