Church. Salvation. The immortal soul. It is something that some skateboarders don’t like to talk about. I’ve posted things about religious belief and spiritual searching and actually received hateful comments from people. The Blue Tile Obsession is purely mine. My thoughts. My beliefs. I write about skateboarding as I see it. I write about life as well… there are many facets of life that are beyond our understanding. When I worked as an RN on an AIDS unit, I took care of people until they died and sadly zipped them into body bags. I peered out of the windows and wondered if God were really on the job. I’ve questioned his existence in the past. Don’t we all?
Eddie Elguera is a pastor and has his own church. Christian Hosoi, Dennis Martinez and Steve Caballero joined Eddie on Sunday morning for a panel discussion. Each of them spoke to the audience in a heartfelt, meaningful way. Dennis Martinez spoke of his brutal drug addiction and all that it bled from his life. He was a husk. A broken, raw nerve ending that neither felt or cared for anything. All he wanted was the soothing rush of amphetamines… until the drugs stopped working. He asked God for help. He now helps paroled prisoners and addicted youth to turn their lives around at the Training Center San Diego.
Steve Caballero spoke. He said it quite clearly… an echo of the usual argument against God- “My life is fine. I have money, fame, travel, things… what do I need God for?” He felt life’s hollowness and wanted more. He walks with the son of God now. Christian Hosoi. Prison. Drug addiction. His fame brought all of its deadly shadows. He stated, “My life was a bucket full of holes.” He now walks with the son of God. It shows in all of them. Courageous. The higher the perch, the further the fall. The hungry wolves are just waiting to take them down. The message that morning was clear and concise. Some people may actually look at a church and think, “Abandon hope all ye who enter.” Dennis, Christian, Eddie and Steve think in a different way. “Bring your hopes inside, leave your old life behind and watch the son rise.” They share the courage of their convictions and I respect them as skateboarders and men.
After church, I was walking into the Palm Springs Skate Park and Steve Caballero pointed to a guy he was speaking with and stated quietly, “Bobby Valdez” I was beyond stoked. I’d tried and failed to locate him when I was doing the William Sharp book. He looked great and people quickly gathered around him. Bobby Valdez did the first Invert and is responsible for progressing skateboarding at the time. Inverts were a real game-changer. The contest was about to start and we found our way over to the pool. I spotted Jeff Tatum. He’s hard to miss. He also is responsible for more vertical carnage than most people can understand. Backside ollie? Nope. It was called a JT air. Jeff is responsible for arch carves, huge backside airs, early tailtaps… the dude rules. At the pool, people were ripping. First look: Arab- speedy lines. Tony Magnusson- huge frontside airs. Keith Meek- fluid drive.
They decided to scratch the contest and simply have a jam session. The crowd grew excited as everyone began to throw down. Most of the people skating were at least fifty years old. Amazing. We’ve never really had fifty year old skateboarders before. Tony Alva is fifty seven. He still crushes a pool. Looking at these guys, I laughed. Fifty seemed like the new ‘fifteen’. When it was announced that Bobby Valdez was present, inverts were brought out and served hot. Bobby just smiled…
Things grew even more hectic and laybacks started to flow like water. Jay Smith smiled from a nearby seat. He has been injured and couldn’t get in the pool to show exactly how a layback should be done. There are none better. Jay Smith told me a few years ago that a motorcycle accident removed some of his famed rubber-man flexibility. I thought that Jay Smith without flexibility was like Picasso without a paintbrush. Eddie and a few others put them back for him…
Jim Gray skated hard all weekend long. People called out for the ‘Jim Jam’. If you call out Jim Gray, you’re going to get it. Jim handled his business. Dave Hackett stood up tall all weekend long as well. Full speed frontal attacks were his and his alone. Allen Losi was poolside and watching and we wish him better health.
In the end, it all went down better than it was expected or planned. Eddie Elguera took an idea and implemented the entire thing. All of the good in life, fell onto Palm Springs that weekend from the heavens above. Legends from the Hester Series and Gold Cup Series came out in droves. Respect from fans and their peers were in abundance. The very thing that Eddie Elguera tried to do, he did. He wanted to “… honor the past and champion the future.” I believe that Eddie and everyone present accomplished that very thing. Thank you to MRZ and Orlando Welsh for the images. Skate – Ozzie