I like preaching un-sermons here in the Church of the Churchless. My inspiration can come from any source, so long as it isn't -- ugh! -- a holy book or holy person.
Today I want to praise the glory of loose trucks.
Now, some of you reading this won't understand what the hell "loose trucks" means, especially if you're over thirty. Others, including ancient 64 year old me, will, because we've embraced the marvelous spirituality of skateboarding/longboarding.
Trucks are thingies that connect the wooden board to the wheels. They're what make it possible to turn the skateboard by shifting weight one way or the other.
Geezers like me who are recently into land paddling on a longboard, we like our trucks fairly tight. This makes the board feel more stable, since it doesn't move from side to side as easily.
Or, turn as easily. And that's a drawback... if you want to do anything but roll along in a straight direction. And where's the fun in that?
As with life itself, every skateboarder/longboarder has to find a balance between feeling free to move in any direction and feeling secure while heading in a potentially risky situation (which, on a board, includes rolling downhill speedily).
It's sort of akin to following religious commandments or rules.
Doing so, a devotee feels safe within the bounds of his/her dogma box. That's like riding with tight trucks. Straight you go. Turning unpredictably, heading here or there, not going to happen very easily.
However, the more skilled a skateboarder/longboarder is, the looser his/her trucks can be. The boarder has developed the ability to handle the freedom of loose trucks. This article, "Loose trucks save lives," extols their virtue.
A basic idea is that when you can't easily turn and change direction, you're really limited. It's dangerous to be stuck in a straight line when either an opportunity to be embraced or a risk to be avoided comes into view.
Again, just like life.
Why stick with a religion, philosophy, or form of spirituality which isn't pointing you where you want to go? The looser your mental/emotional "trucks," the better you're be able to head in fresh desired directions. There are, though, some lessons loose skateboard trucks have to teach us.
Notably -- and I've already experienced this numerous times in my short longboarding history, during which I've progressively loosened my board's trucks -- on a steep'ish downhill looser trucks can lead to the dreaded "speed wobble."
(This video is a good example, with the boarder not visibly hurt; of course, he falls out of sight.)
What happens is, at least this is how I've experienced it, small weight changes of your body from side to side get magnified at higher speed, especially with looser trucks which allow the board to tilt more easily. So you start over-correcting, over-shifting, over-moving in an attempt to stay centered on the board.
Anxiety plays a role.
You feel like you're going fucking fast. There's no brakes. You've got to keep moving along (once more, just like life) but you're getting the feeling shit, I could crash! And that makes you try even harder to control the wobble even though every attempt makes the wobble worse -- since the wobble is largely, if not entirely, caused by you trying to control what would go a lot better if you just relaxed and enjoyed the ride.
Expert longboarders can go down steep hills wobble free.
They stay relaxed and steady on the board, weight forward, calm and collected, centered and balanced. I've begun to get some glimpses of this on some small hills on my favorite longboarding trails. Doing less is doing more.
I try (but not too hard!) to smile, relax, breathe, and just let the board go where it wants to go -- downhill.
So also say those Zen dudes who seem to know something about smoothly rolling along the road of life. I'm not sure whether Matt Rodriquez is into Zen, but he's definitely a dude. I came across a video of him talking about his Loose Trucks philosophy of both life and skateboarding.
It's sick! (that's a compliment) I like the guy's whatever attitude toward both life and skateboarding.
As young as Rodriguez looks to me, I gather he's a quasi-aged legend in skateboarding circles. Here's a link to a cool video I found of Rodriguez doing his thing around town back when.
Watching the video, I thought "Great way to live." Carefree. Flowing. Daring. Breaking rules when it's OK to break them. There's a lot to like about a skateboarding philosophy of life.
Loosen your trucks. Then have fun carving on those hills of life.