As I was scrolling through the past posts on the first class fools blog, two main things popped into my head. The first was how amazing and exciting it is to see all the gentlemen I grew up with expressing how much skateboarding has taught, and shaped them growing up. The second is that one of them still owes me a lot of money - Corey I'm looking at you. What I'm trying to get at is that seeing all of you reflecting on something you love so much made me want to reflect on all of you.
You are all so weird, and that's what makes you all so wonderful. If I hadn't met the majority of these people writing about the one major thing bonding them together, I definitely wouldn't be even half the freak I am today. From the second I met Kyle Dekker in a high school art class at the age of fourteen, I became a better person. I'm using the word better loosely - not as in "Kyle inspired me to go volunteer every weekend at a nursing home," better but he inspired me to take my existing freak flag and fly it even higher. You all took a quiet, shy young girl and gave her a safe space to be herself - which is an admirable thing to do as a group of young men. You brought me out of my shell and created a sense of mischief in me I didn't know was there. How else would I know how fun it was to steal knick knacks from thrift stores and break them with bats if not for you guys? You taught me to never be embarrassed for being myself; to do whatever I felt like and do it unapologetically.
Thanks for every day after school inviting me to the skate park with you and letting me photograph you all from time to time in that short period I always had a camera on me. Thank you for letting me bounce my shitty, offensive jokes off you around a game of UNO. Thanks for laughing with me just as much as (if not more) at me as well. Thank you for always calling me out and poking fun at me, and always letting me poke right back at you guys. Thanks for always being gung-ho on every dumb idea I had, and nearly making me piss my pants with laughter throughout said ideas. No group of people I ever wanted to get in the car and drive aimlessly around our shitty south-side suburb blasting the Beastie Boys with more. I can't say I see you all anymore as much as I'd like to (or some of you at all, ever), because we're all out pretending to be adults but I'm thankful for all those memories I have saved from the last nine years.
You might not have ever thought of or realized how much of a part you had in shaping me into the poor excuse for a woman I am today. Am I gushing over all of you? Yes. Only because I felt someone had to reflect on the reflect-ees. And while, yeah, I can't skateboard well or far you all already knew that skateboarding did teach me one thing and that's true friendship.
I love you all.