I’ve not been watching much of the Tokyo Olympics, although I did watch 22 year old Yuto Horigome win the street skateboarding gold.
It made me think about last summer and the kid next door and street noise and elote carts and teaching and learning.
Last summer the kid next door was teaching himself to skateboard. All summer for hours on end he would go back and forth in the street in front of our house, ending with his attempt to flip the board and land on it.
Hour after hour of the noise of wheels on the street and then that sound of the flip and the skateboard hitting the ground. The noise evidence that he had failed again to hit the landing.
Nobody coaching. Nobody watching. Nobody grading him. Just his perseverance.
Every summer has had a street noise.
For a few summers it was the sound of the soft serve truck that parked in front of our house and played The Entertainer over and over until the last of the kids got their cone.
For years it was the horn of the elote and helado carts.
And the bicycle bell on the painted ones selling mango flowers or a cucumber on a stick.
One summer it was kids playing hoops, the hoop being a black plastic milk crate we nailed to our hellstrip ash, much to the disapproval of a few of our neighbors.
As a teacher I think about the neighbor kid teaching himself to skate. Nothing we offer in school could provide the motivation that drove him to spend hours and hours, day after summer day trying to master that flip.
Mostly failing. Always learning.
As a teacher I wish I could bottle that.
Over the winter our skateboarder moved.
This summer the street is quiet.