One sport I don’t get to write about, but for me was part of my youth, is surfing.
During my school years, I lived in a town called Croydon just outside Philadelphia but I spent my summers working in Ocean City, N.J., staying with my late Grandmother Warner who kindly put me up for the summer.
It’s where I got into another sport I used to do, cycling, until a couple years ago before grabbing the last donut became too much of a habit. Not to use an old cliché that starts “I used to have to walk five miles to school each day” but, I did ride my bicycle from 28th Street to 9th Street to and from work each day on the boardwalk, a mecca for bike riders in the morning. I continued riding my bicycle all year delivering newspapers at home … something we do now with cars.
My first surfboard was green, very ugly, had part of the nose missing and was affectionately called the Pickle because, as I said, it was green. It was a big surfboard, something my older co-worker Bert told me was good for beginners for stability.
Bert promised if I bought it he would give me some basic lessons, but failed to show the next day for an early round of surfing classes. So, like I do for many things, I taught myself through trial and error. When it worked it was exhilarating, but when you fell off you got caught in what I called the washing machine. No matter how hard you fight, you’re in it until it’s done pushing you round and round in the current until the energy of the wave gives out and you sputter back to the top.
It was in Ocean City I found I had an affinity I still hold for the Beach Boys who were an icon in the 1960s to ‘70s timeframe. I found the Beach Boys had a lot of sports wisdom in their music. Not too long ago, I wrote about how I find the music at sports events much to my liking with artists I enjoyed in my time and wondered why they still played them.
One of those artists is the Beach Boys. One of the things I’ve noticed and wondered about is why we don’t we have more players on the football team, or insert your game of choice, and it seems it isn’t as cool to be on a varsity team anymore. More so when drivers licenses get involved.
In the song “Be True to Your School” the Beach Boys croon what I remember the attitude being when I was in school and put it better than I can:
I got a letterman’s sweater - With a letter in front - I got for football and track
I’m proud to wear it now - When I cruise around - The other parts of the town - I got my decal in back
Ah … memories.