It was a freezing cold morning in Farnham. I thought to myself 'Why am I out of bed at this time on a Saturday morning?' My question was answered merely two minutes later as I managed the trick which I have been trying for the last week, a 'topside sunny day.'
'Nice man, nice,' was the call from the bench as I looked over at my friend Mark who was giving me the thumbs-up as I came swiftly out of the trick.
I skated over to the bench lazily and took a seat next to Sam, Mark and Henri. 'What time is the comp tomorrow?' I asked them.
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'Nine am bright and early,' replied Sam whilst getting up to skate over to the grindbox and attempt another amazing trick.
'I know I need practice for the competition but skating at eight o'clock on a Saturday morning in the freezing cold is a bit too much,' I moaned as I put on another jumper.
'You wanna go street for a bit?' asked Mark as he took off his skate and started fiddling with the laces.
'Where are we gonna go? The sixth form college is too far, we're not allowed in Lidls and Redgrave rail is still wet from that rain during the night,' I complained. As I said this I was mostly thinking of my stomach, as I hadn't any breakfast yet. 'You fancy going to Wimpy?'
'I'm still banned,' said Sam almost proudly as he glided back to the bench having just done a perfect 'topsoul.'
Henri was being strangely quiet and he suddenly stood up, picked up his bag and said 'well you can wait outside then.'
Mark stood up sharply 'as long as I can get some hot food I'm not bothered where it is.'
On the way to Wimpy I thought constantly of the upcoming competition that was getting ever closer. As I imagined what it would be like to have about thirty or forty people stare at me for ten minutes butterflies suddenly came to my stomach and made me feel nervous and uncomfortable. I gripped my bag a little tighter with my freezing fingers and wished I had had the sense to bring the gloves I bought the day before.
As I entered Wimpy I could feel the warmth of the deep-fat fryers and hear the voices of the Turkish men who worked there. We took a seat in the smoking section and looked at the menu.
'Man I hate being able to see pictures of the food on the menu. It just makes it look pathetic when it arrives because it never looks the same,' said Mark miserably.
'Just decide what you want and order I'm starving,' I told him as I had already decided on a large Wimpy breakfast consisting of sausage, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, beans and toast. 'Can you add a toasted teacake to that?' I asked the waiter as I gave my order.
I wolfed down the breakfast, even though I don't like tomatoes, and lit a cigarette. 'Is anyone else nervous about the competition tomorrow?' I asked trying to hide the fact that I still had butterflies in my stomach despite having finished my breakfast.
'No it's not big deal just think of it as another game of IYMTA. It's only really us, Ben, Carl and James that are entering anyway so there's not a lot of competition.' As Mark said this he was lazily puffing on a cigarette and leaning back on his chair.
IMYTA is a game that we play where we skate against each other. It stands for I Match Your Trick Association. It is an annual competition involving professional skaters from around the world where one person does a trick and then everyone else has to do the same trick or they are given a letter. When you have all five letters you are out of the game. We played this regularly and hearing Mark put it like that I felt more relaxed about the competition.
'Yeah I guess,' I replied as I leant back on my chair feeling relaxed for the first time since I heard about the competition. 'I' m off home to get some sleep, I might come out later on,' I said as I left the restaurant. I skated to the bus stop feeling good and made it just in time to catch the 9:40 bus. When I arrived home I went straight upstairs, undressed and fell into bed. I fell asleep almost instantly as I hadn't had any sleep the previous night and was still tired from school on Friday. I dreamt of the competition. It was a warm, sunny day and it had just started.
I smiled as I dropped in on the big ramp to go for my first big trick. I jumped, and as I was flying through the air I grabbed my feet and pulled them behind me then released them and landed perfectly to go up the other ramp and do a perfect 540 degree spin. The crowd was cheering and the judges were going wild. I skated round the entire park and did a 900-degree spin on the biggest ramp. I was about 9 feet in the air and I leant forward too much. My front wheels hit the ramp and I landed on my face. It hurt so much. I heard an ambulance somewhere in the distance but it was distorted somehow. It sounded more and more like a phone ringing.
'Ian. Ian wake up you have a phone call!'
I woke with a start. My heart leapt. It was a dream I realized. I stood up and put on my dressing gown trying to tell myself it was just a dream and that that wouldn't happen. My stomach had butterflies again. I took the phone from my mum.
'Hello?' I said groggily.
'What are you still doing in bed? The competition is half an hour away!' said Mark urgently.
'What?! It's tomorrow stop joking around,' I said as I checked my watch. 3Sun it said. Oh my God I thought. I slept right through.
'I will be there don't worry,' I mumbled quickly and hung up. I ran upstairs, threw my clothes on and picked my bag up. I half-fell down the stairs in my haste and put my skates on. As I flew down the hill towards Farnham skatepark I had the feeling I had forgotten something important. It was as cold as the previous day but I had no time to be cold. I skated faster. I arrived at the skatepark five minutes later out of breath and threw my bag down.
'Where have you been?' asked Sam.
'In bed,' I answered quickly and I went straight to the biggest ramp and started warming up. I was skating quite well, I managed to spin a 540 and land but then I tried to 'Truespin topside pornstar' and my feet missed the right spot and before I knew what happened I was lying on the floor. I got straight back up and thought to myself 'this is not going to beat me.'
I skated hard for another 15 minutes before the announcer had finished setting up his equipment and announced that the competition was about to start. It was the BMX'S category first so I had a twenty-minute break before I had to skate again. I rolled lazily over to the bench where my friends were sitting, sat down and lit a cigarette.
'Why do they have to have a BMXers competition anyway?' asked Mark indignantly. 'There's only five of them.'
'Because it gives us something to laugh at,' retorted Henri.
I couldn't join in their jokes and laughter. I was too busy thinking about the trick I had been working on for two weeks. A bio flip. To do it I had to do sort of a front flip but instead of going over my head and landing forwards, I had to throw myself over my right shoulder and land backwards. I had only tried it twice and never landed it. None of the others knew I had been trying it or that I even planned to attempt it.
The BMX competition was cut short because of an injury and the announcer told all the rollerbladers to make their way to the ramps. I hastily threw my cigarette to the floor and skated up the ramp. As I stood at the top of the ramp I looked around at the people in the crowd. There were so many.
'You have 15 minutes,' came the voice over the speaker. 'Go!'
I jumped into the ramp and immediately went into a four foot high 'mute grab' over the funbox and neatly stalled on the other ramp. My heart jumped as I went back down the ramp backwards and did a 360 spin over the funbox. I was skating better than I had skated in a long time and I had a moment where my butterflies and doubts had gone and I was just confident. This was it. I dropped in on the smaller ramp and did a 180 spin over the funbox so I could go backwards into the trick. I could see a photographer in the front of the crowd aim his camera at me.
I went up the ramp backwards and threw myself as hard as I could over my shoulder. For a second it was like time stood still. I had pulled my legs in so that I was like a ball in the air. I brought my legs back round so I could land near the bottom of the ramp. Suddenly it felt like I was going to spin too much and land on my knees. But somehow I managed to lean back a tiny bit and land on my feet and roll away. The crowd were shouting and the photographer was going mad. I could hear the announcer shouting 'He's done it, he's done it.'
Mark and the others had stopped skating to watch my bio flip but Mark had come over and shook my hand and said 'nice one.'
The others were standing with their mouths open as if they had never seen a bio flip before. Henri skated up to me and said 'I never thought you would do that.'
It suddenly occurred to me as the speakers told me that I had come first that this is why I do it.
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