Friday, September 09, 2011

2011 Daily Streak Day 229 (Aug 17th): Skatepark or fair?

2011 Daily Streak Day 229 (Aug 17th): Walk - 3.75 miles, Time - 1hr 10min, Weather - actually some blue sky in the morning but the clouds soon gathered.
The day after giving blood is no time for any vigorous exercise - a gentle walk, tops. 
Walking through the park I saw another fair setting up. Just beyond the site is the skate park, which was full of kids hanging out and doing stunts and I thought of the difference between the thrills. On fair rides you are thrown round and tilted at crazy angles so that your adrenaline surges and your stomach flips. On the bmx or skateboard you get a similar  adrenaline surge when you leap or twist but with the difference that you are practicing a skill and are developing all sorts of abilities.
When I look at the kids doing their tricks I wonder at two things: balance and bravery. Some  things can only be done if you fully commit at speed but the faster go the more it hurts if you fall. When you are learning there must be an awful lot of bruises but you can only develop by accepting the risk and the occasional injury
I recently read Bounce by Matthew Syed and one of the interesting asides is the observation that the best ice skaters fall over more frequently than skaters who are merely good. The reason is that they are always trying to push their limits, working hard at the edge. The courage of top performers is something I have never thought too hard about but this made me realise it is crucial. In any sport you cannot reach the top without taking a hell of a lot of lumps.
In the fair, where all the thrills come from power, speed,  and throwing the body around, you need to be absolutely sure of the safety of the rides. If something goes wrong it is potentially fatal. In the skatepark you need to make sure it is is not hazardous (eg rickety structures or sharp edges) but the aim is to provide an environment where people can take risks and perhaps get a little hurt.
Odd the comparisons you make when you see things side by side.

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