February 23, 2013

Big Wave Playground Skills. ~ Shinazy


“Waves are not measured in feet and inches, they are measured in increments of fear.” ~ Buzzy Trent

I’m peering through binoculars at dots bobbing up and down; I see them in between one-inch high waves at the Mavericks Surf Competition. Then something happens—the wave emerges.

A surfer propels himself down the face of a giant 30-foot aqua blue wall and the top of the wave folds like a used Thanksgiving napkin and the surfer disappear into the tube, swallowed.

My breathing stops, anticipating…will the athlete reappear?

While waiting, my mind wanders to my first athletic endeavor and that of every city girl with a piece of chalk in her hand: hopscotch.

Yes, the children’s sidewalk game where we balance and jump on one leg, instinctively calculating ballistics before we toss our marker into poorly drawn squares.

Hopscotch, a sport for strong, skilled athletes.

We trained for years; in just over 13 months, from our birth, we mastered synchronizing our feet, ankles, legs, knees, hips, spine, arms, shoulders and head to move from one set of embracing arms to the reaching arms a short distance in front of us.

Over the next year, we completed our first marathon over kitchens floors and living room carpets; some of us incorporated stair repeats. Once we ran, we never stopped—we were endurance toddlers.

Our training continued, constantly climbing the ladder on our favorite slide and using our abs to navigate the slope, ensuring we stayed within the low, cold, metal lips. By kindergarten we were jumping rope.

With every contest we competed against ourselves, as well as the reigning first grade champion. We desired to be in first place; we practiced and played with determination to win.

It’s also during this time we risked bodily harm. We were fearless when we wrote to Santa—we’re ready—we needed a two-wheel bike.

Those first days without training wheels frequently resulted in scraped knees and bruised elbows. But we continued; we must learn this skill.

With nerves and experience we soon used our power and peddled, alone, to our friend’s house.

As the lone surfer emerges, he flips the nose of his board and starts to paddle out into open water to try again.

Try again.

It never crosses the surfer’s mind to head for the safety of the shore; it was the same for us when we were kids.

Someone might say comparing Mavericks to hopscotch is comparing the sun to birthday candles.

Nay, I say.

Sometime in our lives, we, too, had athletic skills that represented equal ferocity.

Today is the surfer’s day and the waves his playground.


I am Shinazy, founder and storyteller of www.BOBBblog.com and scribe at www.ALvinsPlace.com. My favorite Neil Young song lyrics are: “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” What this means to me is to keep moving, learning, creating. I founded BOBB because I remember the stories my great-grandmothers and grandmothers told while I sat at their kitchen tables. These and other stories I plan to tell. Bitchin Ol’ Boomer Babe (BOBB) uses today’s technology to continue the age-old oral tradition of storytelling. BOBB also conveys the wisdom and joy we gain through living our lives, with its beauty marks and moles. So, you have a story of your own, message me and let’s get your story on BOBB. In my personal life, I’ll continue to push the envelope, be silly, run and climb over, under, around, & through almost everything. I currently run a business, Shinazy & Associates, that specializes in Career, Resume and LinkedIn tutoring. I’m always in training to run somewhere—next destination is Australia for my eleventh and final marathon (then my feet will have run on all seven continents). I am easily distracted because there is just so much in the world I must see and do. Come along with me…


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Assistant Ed. Rebecca Schwarz/Ed: Bryonie Wise


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