So I did, and there it was... Introducing Wolfgang Coleman...
At that moment, I was simultaneously proud and terrified... This is my boy!!! This is my boy?
Then on the next page there is this gruesome image, a Zombie... well, not a real one. But a good lookin' fake. Now, that's not my son. Or I should say, that's NOT my son. But the tag-line says (if you are like me and can't read the tiny print,) 'The deadliest freeride wheel ever' Wolfgang Coleman, Eh Team. Okay, they're not saying that it's my son, but his name is on the icky guy!!!
Now, I have to stock up on the current issue, and keep some extra to send to grandparents. ... because, after all, He is MY son;) L
Seems that with some insistence, ICBC reviewed our boy's file, and it seems that the other witness--was a friend of the driver and is now finally discounted. They had already discounted all three of Wolf's witnesses as being non-biased as they were friends. My husband was a star. He wouldn't let this drop. It really looked like they were going to ignore everything presented to them on behalf of Wolf, despite contradictory statements made by others--statements that were false and in one case impossible. So now we have an offer of a settlement. We are considering it, but he did sustain knee injury during this accident (driver went through a stop sign when the intersection was occupied!). So, back to the doctor we go. This whole process has taken 18 months so far. We can expect at least another six. What a joke. I am so glad that he didn't' sustain any injury more serious.
Caution riders! You will be found to be in the wrong unless you can prove it otherwise. They don't care if you are a minor, or if you were following the rules of the road, or if you had the right of way... you are a skateboarder and there is a lot of unfair attitudes about you... sadly. Maybe one day that will change. Maybe it is just because you are young and your jeans are ripped. Maybe because others are just fools and forget what it was like to be young and energetic, or maybe they just never were!
Now I don't know what others' experiences are with this insurer are, but we have discovered that they seem to have no interest in being fair with one longboarder in particular.
They have neglected to consider any of the witnesses from our son's claim, and only from the driver and his witnesses. Our son was skating in control, with a helmet, through an intersection where the car was stopped at a stop sign. Then at the last second, the car lurched through the intersection, and my son hit it in the tail side of the car. My son had the right of way, the driver drove through the intersection when it was not safe to do so. Our son had three witnesses who provided three witness statements along with his own.
We were told last March that an infant advocate would handle his claim as he is under 19 years old. They were apparently never assigned eventhough he suffered injury which we stated when filled in our claim, and have doctor's notes to prove.-- They say that he wasn't injured and that is why he wasn't assigned an advocate. Another ommision on their part.
How can they say that his witness statement don't count, and also that he wasn't wearing a helmet? This whole situation makes my blood boil. They now tell us that there is no appeal process--which is also a lie.
Riders beware. The 'insurer' will take the driver's side it seems and discount anything said to the contrary. Yuck!
We are not dropping the ball on this one! They can't treat our son this way, we won't let them.
Pink is bubblegum, and baby girls; pink is candyfloss and Barbie’s Corvette; pink is October. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so PINK has a whole new meaning!!! A group of Britich Columbia longboarders are doing their bit to raise awareness and funds to further research for a cure for this cancer.
Pink is now the colour of hair, duct-tape on helmets, spray-paint on longboards, and skate-park concrete.
This weekend is 2009 Push for the Cure, and Wolf is keen. This isn't the first time he's participated in Fundraising and awareness raising, but it is his first time with the Push for the Cure. He's done runs with school, and then on his own, when he was about 12, he shaved all his long hair off, donated the money he raised to the Children's Foundation at Children's Hospital, and he also donated his hair to a wig organzation that makes wigs for kids who are undergoing chemotherapy.
So tomorrow morning, bright and early, we'll be loading the van and driving to Hope, where he will meet up with the other riders who are in for the long haul: 150 km, or 97 miles; whatever way you look at it, it is long. What began a few years back with a small group of energetic riders who pushed from east coast to west, and others who pushed from West to East, has become an annual event, where the final leg of the journey, Hope to Vancouver, is the focal local push.
At 15 years old, yes, still fifteen for a few more months, I will leave him in Hope, and collect him in Vancouver. I have come to trust and really like the group of riders and racers he here at the Coast. All the best to all of them!
We all want what’s best for our kids—that goes without saying.But for those of us who are speed and pain adverse, it is a little more difficult to wrap our heads around.Today, I am happy that my son has ‘only’ taken up longboarding.If we lived in Nicaragua, it could well be another story.You see there, parents of extreme seeking athletic type kids would be seeing their kids off for a day of fun ‘bombing’ the local volcano! The local active volcano.I am not kidding.These riders go down the 40% incline sooty ash of active craters at speeds of 50 miles an hour! There’s till lava in Cerro Negro, though it hasn’t blown in ten years, it could.So, all you worried parents out there... count your blessings, unless you have a sooty cone begging to be ridden, your speedy off-spring will have to settle for asphalt and pavement.
Thought I'd throw in the link to the final results to King of the forest. I've already mentioned that Prince of the Forest... fella under 16, is none other than my son, Wolfgang Forest!! no kidding, that's his name and so his title is well suited.
Guilty. Yes, at times I am irrational, impulsive, and possibly even foolish. But that isn't necessarily bad. It seems I am not alone. I have been guest blogger these past few weeks at Rantingparent.com. I know that this has nothing to do with longboarding, but it has a lot to do with teens, parenting and a solid sense of humour... that is if you don't mind satire.
So, if you have like humour... as in you can laugh at yourself, and not just at others, then perhaps you would like or at least appreciate my postings at: Late-onset post-partum depression. They read in order of part 1 and then part 2...
Yesterday as Wolf left with his brother, Akask, to the King of the Forest 20 km endurance race, he picked up his novelty cheque for last year's finish as Gromof the Forest 2008. He would then hand it off to his successor, the Prince of the Forest 2009. This was also Akask's first event that he participated in as a racer. We wished them well and off they went.
At 10pm last night, they walked in. They looked beat. Happy, but beat. "Do is it okay if I put a couple of screws into the wall in my bedroom," Wolfgang asked.
"What?" I asked.
He held up his trophy board: This year's Prince is none other than our Wolfgang Forest, the Prince of the Forest, an aptly named child.
"Congratulations, son," his dad said. "We'll find a way to mount your board on the wall... but not with a couple of screws."
Wolf had finished 14th overall in over 80 riders, and was the top Grom (junior for those new to the lingo); and Akask was in around the top 20. "I wasn't prepared for that." He huffed, and smiled.
Well done boys. I said to them then and now to them here. Their next event is a three day push from Hope to Vancouver for the annual Push for the Cure, fundraiser for breast cancer, the long weekend in October.
It seems it wasn't that long ago when Wolf bought his first set of leathers. They were used, but still had some life left in them. I have to say that they have saved his hide, quite literally, more than once. But their practicality was rapidly coming to a close this summer. A few skids into the hay left little for duct-tape to hold together. It was time for Wolf to upgrade.
Custom leathers. NJKs sized just for him. Not only that, they have his name emblazoned on the back with a rather cool paw print... yes, a wolf print. He looks like a super hero in his Red and black suit. Not quite a Power Ranger... cooler... hipper, faster.
This past summer we encountered a wolf... the small 'w', big teeth kind of wolf. It was also very cool, very fast, but very quiet. It was an interesting camping mate to say the least. Here are a compare and contrast of wolf/Wolf tracks.
Now, back in the city, the only Wolf tracks around here are the kind that my son leaves with his wheels on the road. Upcoming races include: King of the Forest at the Seymour Demonstration Forest, and then there is the fundraising event: Push for the Cure. More about them to come.
Last weekend I had a chance to be a soccer mom, of sorts, for my longboarding son. For years I've driven kids to games, practices, recitals, dance classes, swim lessons and so on. I have even gone to a couple of my son's downhill races. But, over the past eighteen months, I have not been the driver to take him to his down-hill or corner sessions. During the weekends, the riders get together to practice. They belong to various teams, and are sponsored by various companies. None of this seems to matter when the weekend rolls around. A call goes out on the local message board "who wants to skate?". Ten or more replies will be posted back up right away. "Where?" one will ask. From there the meeting places and times are determined. The thread will stay up on the message board, leaving a trail for other riders to follow if they decide to join the ride.
Last Sunday, it was the Access Road on Cypress Mountain, and then Hedgy-Righty (because there is a hedge and a right corner... not original, but descriptive.) I was the driver. Boards, gloves, pads, helmet, and a bag of oranges and apples along with ample water and an empty 4G card in my camera. We were ready. Along the way we picked up two of Wolf’s rider friends and met another at the road. I had heard about the Access Road; I’d seen photos, but wow. I could imagine why they all love it. It is new pavement down a steep incline of mountain, a beautiful view of the harbour, and Vancouver; it’s blocked off with a barricade at the top because the area is under construction, so it would be impossible for cars to come up the road. Safe as can be expected for a practice run location. Funnily, someone had left a single long hay bale at the side of the bottom corner for good measure. Useless, but funny.
The four guys rode the corner doing stand up slides, taking the corner low and trying out different cornering techniques. They checked on each other’s bale-outs, “you okay?” Everyone was properly protected with slide gloves knee protection and of course helmets. Not even a bruised ego that day. It was sunny in every aspect. About an hour in, Wolf came to me at my camera perfect location at the outside of the lower corner and told me that it was their second last run and then we’d be going to another spot. So, I watched and waited, they had their second last run. I waited longer, and they started to head up the hill. Wolf came and got me. “We’re heading out.”
“I thought you said that was your second last run?” I picked up my blanket and slipped my camera into my pocket.
“Too many people get hurt on the last run, so we don’t have last runs, only second last,”
There it was one more little insight to the world of the longboarder. I hung onto it like a gold dust in a stream hoping it wouldn’t slip through my fingers before I could write it down. Hedgy-Righty, is a lovely intersection in West Vancouver (Not to be confused with the West-side, or the West-End of Vancouver; those are actually in Vancouver; West Vancouver is an entirely different Municipality on the North Shore which encompasses the mountains that we view from Vancouver—we’re across English Bay from one another.) Though Vancouver does have some gnar hills to bomb, it’s nothing like WestVan. At this intersection there are several multi-million dollar homes and car and boats to match. I parked my little Honda Fit in front of one such house just as the owners drove up. The boys piled out of the car and set up their gear. I smiled and waved as the family in the Land Rover gathered more things from the house. It wasn’t as though we were on their property, or blocking their driveway. The dad smiled back as they did a u-turn in front of their place and drove off.
Spotting corners: I was the only non-rider there, so they asked if I would spot the corner for me. I stood party in the road, checked all four directions, signalled with a big arm loop when it was clear to ride. And one after another they screamed around the steep, wide and beautifully smooth corner. Sometimes the corner was too sharp, and they’d end up sprawled on the pavement, only to dust themselves off and hike back up to do it again.
After a few runs two more riders joined the session. One was a world contender and often graces the top of various podia. He offered up suggestions and joined in the general discussion about each of their ‘set-ups’ (trucks, wheels, boards, etc.).
The last run for Wolf was a self-imposed finish. He was riding his slide deck and spilled. I managed to catch some of it on film before my stomach fully seized up and forced my finger to stop the camera. He skidded out on his hands and knees. He was fine, but suffered a nasty patch of fabric burn on his left knee from the inside of his knee pad. Rather that than the road. But with an open layer of skin, he wouldn’t put his smelly knee pads back on and risk a staph infection or some other nasty thing. It was a relief for me. I didn’t have to tell him anything; he had all the common sense needed. The other riders went on to another local to hit some more runs; we hit grocery store to pick up something for dinner.
One of the things I gathered from this session as the side-line parental helper and observer is that off the race track, it is all very friendly, no, it’s more than that. Longboarders work together to push one another further, to grow as riders. It reminds me of the years I spent parenting my young ballet dancer. In the halls of the dance studio where the young adults and teens mingle, stretch and chat; this is a similar type of family dynamic. Though they compete against each other, they mostly dance together, and want to see their fellow dancers and themselves be the best they can be. In longboarding, these hill sessions are really a lot like studio practice, to me at least. This, in all honesty, it is a good thing. By working together, supporting one another, they all will grow, both in skills and in person. I commend them for this mature and insightful approach to their sport.
I can't believe that I posted everywhere but here that I got my article accepted in the Globe and mail!!! It was published two weeks ago, but I am still getting comments and mail about it. Thankfully all good. So here is the link to "My Son's Need for Speed." Now I have to think about how on earth I follow that one up!!!
The photos above are by Caitlin Richardson. She was at Giant's head... I was not. I am glad for other's taking pictures, besides the fact, that I am hopeless at it! Thanks Caitlin.
I should note that Wolf finished as top Grom for the Slasher and King of the Forest, he finished as Second Grom Goldrush, and tied for third--not as a grom--at Giant's Head.) At fifteen years old, he's been racing only 15 months!!! He'll tell me if I missed something. Notice that I am only mentioning the sanctioned races... no outlaws! I am still not comfortable with that...for a few years yet at least.
Last Thursday at ten in the morning I dropped my wolf off at a Ferry line up. I never realized that being a mother also meant procuring a ride for my fifteen year old son. But there I was, "excuse me sir, but I am trying to find a ride for my son, Wolfgang, over to Buckley Bay?" The man, about my age, or a bit younger seemed nice enough. He had a big truck with a covered cab, and another young man, a Kiwi, was also getting a ride with him. The driver, Dave, and Wolf shook hands, and it was arranged. (I should have taken down his plate number, looking back on it now, but my gut told me it was an okay thing to do... perhaps I'm a bit cavalier)
Around seven that evening the phone rang. It was Wolf. He had arrived to my sister's house in Robert's Creek, exactly as scheduled. All was good with the world.
After a one day visit, they were off to Summerland--Giant's Head. As I may have mentioned before, the names of the races/events, crack me up. Perhaps that's just the name of the mountain, in this case.
The weather in the Northern Gulf Islands was not quite blistering, but sunny and hot. Perfect for swimming and beach play. Late in the afternoon, the phone rang. It was my sister. God, I thought, what's happened. Then she said, 'Wolf's made it through three heats, but we have to go now if I'm going to make the last ferry up to the coast. If he makes it though the next round, he'll go onto the semi-finals.'
"That's fantastic," I said, "Leave him there and go catch your ferry-- if he can arrange for another ride."
"He's already got one." she said. Of course he has, I thought. The child is almost as organized as I am and he is only fifteen.
I spoke to him after that. He sounded on top of the world. Perfect, I thought. So, It again was settled. He was getting a ride with another young man, whom I vaguely know of, but this time, I had the good sense to get his last name and telephone number.
Eleven thirty five that night, I could wait no longer. I phoned my house. It rang once before he answered the phone. He must have jut got in, I'd called ten minutes earlier. He'd made it through the fourth heat and into the semi-finals.
In the end, he didn't win as only the top two positions were officially acknowledged, but he had a fantastic race all in all. A day of free riding and a day of riding and racing. At this point that is all he wants. Good for him. After that, he'd had his event and I knew my son was safe at home. A restful night for us both.
Longboarding a parent's perspective can now be found at this link. It is a story about my son's race at the Attack of Danger Bay this past spring. He's still racing and riding, but the story has changed links on it's on-line mag www.Unkle.ca. cheers. all and happy summer.
I have ventured into a broader web-page world and created my own site. This is where more writing links and my other articles are created. For any and all interested, please check it out at: http://lorriemiller.wordpress.com/
"It's around 6:30 -6:45 and I left to go to the Wack Attack! (Race at Chilliwack, BC) I'll call you in a bit and let you know what's up.
DAD: I took 5$ from you wallet for bus fare? I'm sorry if this inconveniences you at all and so you hat to go get more money.
There is COFFEE on the Stove! (I made it just for you guys!)
I love you! TAlk to you in a bit.
I woke to the aroma of espresso. Stovetop. Perfect. Wolf must be up already I thought. But when I walked into the kitchen, there was only the note in his neat blue print on the counter and hot coffee on the stove.
He's fifteen, and racing into adulthood, but gently, kindly--the way I don't quite mind. He never passes an opportunity to kiss a cheek or tell us he loves us. He is sharp with his younger siblings and annoyed with his older brother. But he is our baby/middle child. He was the baby for seven years before his sister oh so rudely bumped him from that spot.
Today, he is racing, or rather riding. Nothing hinges on this ride, no trophies, all glory is from the ride. This involves motorcycle leathers, a full-face helmet and a longboard (think skateboard on steroids).
I checked my facebook this morning to see what's what, and he posted a video of himself... of course... skating our hood. He's pretty good, I'd say, for a non-skater. You can see him and his board, and my baby too, and our whole longboarding saga... if anyone cares too, at http://www.unkle.ca/cgi-bin/view?tmp=0&type=article&offset=4
I'm going to go nuke my coffee and enjoy the peace before the rest of my clan awakes. Happy 4th of July!
Wolf in the Autumn of 2006. He was already experimenting with new types of wheels and board shapes. and in three short years. From this shaggy fella to: Wolf is clearly the one in the Wolf shirt and his leather sleeves tied around his waist. Finn is in red helmet on left, and red specs on right. Coco is in pink helmet on left and neon orange on right. The other gals are Wolf's friends.
So parents wondering where your gifts will lead, wonder all you want. It will take your kid to decide how far to take it. I have filled our cupboards with cleaning supplies, and no one has taken up household maintence any more seriously than before when our supply was megre. Ahhh. I keep trying. Perhaps for another birthday, I'll give them gardening supplies, or some books on famous inventions or brilliant literature...okay, I've already done that. I'm stumped. And I know all Coco wants her own leathers for her birthday, Finn wants a longboard and Wolf, well, custom leathers, of course. I'm sticking with gardening supplies. Won't they be happy?
So who breaks the sound barrier, goes by in a blurrr, is clad and leather and knows no fear?
It is a bit much to sort out all at once, but I'll do my best. Each rider (longboard rider that is) carefully devises their own particular look. The colour of the leathers, the striping, logo designs, even the type of duct-tape repairs, demarcate the rider, set them apart from the other red, black and white blurs that scream past on the race track. Each helmet decalled precisely to the individual specifications. Who is that masked man? (My son above in www.johncameron.ca photo) That speeding woman? The answer is easily arrived at even at high speed, granted that you have a fast enough camera to capture them on film. They name themselves, or one another. This is not like nicknaming a baby: pumpkin, sweet-pea, not even peanut. No, these are fearless adrenaline fiends.
One of them happens to be my son, whose infantile nick-name will remain undisclosed. But he, is Wolf, not Wolfman, not, Wofie (unless you've known him since he was a child--which he now is not), he is Wolf, as in Wolfgang. No this is not a name given to him by his peers, but rather by his mother in a bleary-eyed moment at his birth. It is a label he seems to wear well, like a fine fitting suit, though he'd prefer that suit to be custom leathers. For now he will have to make due with his well worn, proudly worn, second-hand leathers that are still holding together through the wonder of duct-tape.
Armadillo. That is what I think. Armadillo Man. Who are you and your clan that I see around the race track. What superior skills and strength belie your costume? My comic-book loving inner child beckons quietly to itself, wondering what drives these people to hurl themselves at speeds that I know for certain that my stomach would not withstand. I become queasy on swing sets. Where did my son get his titanium nerves, if not from me? Perhaps it skipped a generation, back to my spitfire flying grandfather? At the time, screeching through the air at one of the fastest planes in the world.
Post helmet good hair. This is the final criteria for making it as a longboarding super hero. And not just good hair, but exceptiona hair. I have never seen sweaty heads look so good as I have at these races. Helmet hair, worry not. I will be on the look out for the best examples out there. The mohawk that my son sports is merely one fine example of a post hemet coif. The colours and styles are to be admired, not necessarily emulated, but certainly enjoyed by the spectators behind the hay.