The New York Times today has a feature on skateboarding as the midlife crisis replacement to the little red sports car for men in their 40s and beyond. The story references Fat Old Guy skateboards and interviews several men of a certain age, including Stacy Peralta, who is now 52:
“Tony Alva and I have joked about it,” said Stacy Peralta, who, along with Mr. Alva, was a member of the legendary Z-Boys skate team in Venice, Calif., in the 1970s. As detailed in Mr. Peralta’s 2001 documentary “Dogtown and Z-Boys,” they would sneak into unoccupied suburban homes and drain swimming pools to skate in them.
“When we were kids, it was so new, we could never imagine doing this when we were 50,” he said. “The idea that my dad could be doing the same thing I was doing in a swimming pool was unheard of.”
The story goes on to mention how longboards and a new breed of smartly-engineered skateparks have made skating a more forgiving endeavor. And for the most part, the middle-aged daredevils interviewed in the piece -- most of whom grew up reading about Dogtown -- are sort of in on the joke.
“They realize I’m not a teenager, just an overweight dude with gray hair,” said Gary Saenz, a 52-year-old quality-assurance specialist, about run-ins with the cops.
The best part of the story is a three-panel photo sequence of 49-year-old Bill Robertson riding a bowl in Carolina Skate Park in El Paso, Texas. It ends how you would expect it to. "We're the group with helmets and pads on," he says about those of his ilk.
Not sure helmets and pads can protect him from the bruised ego. Nevertheless, kudos to Robertson and all those other middle-aged men picking up new decks. Never say die.
Follow Richard S. Chang on Twitter at @r_s_c.