author and aggressive skater Brigitte Schulze started
skating at the age of 47. She has a great philosophy about aging gracefully
and agreed to show and tell us how she became a late-blooming aggressive
Years ago I used to spend time at the local skate park
watching my 3 children skate/skateboard, until one fine evening I
decided to buy a pair of skates and give it a try myself. After
all, some exercise was in order, especially if there was an element
of challenge attached! My
daughter helped me choose a pair of skates as well as safety equipment
and then began teaching me some basic skills.
Soon I realized that learning
to work my way up this ramp by rolling forward and backward, along
with the occasional 180-turn, was not only strenuous, it was more
of a challenge than I had anticipated!
Having conquered those skills, I faced the next challenge: dropping into
a tiny mini ramp. At first I made the same mistake a lot of beginners do:
straightening my legs when reaching the flat. (Not recommended). Eventually
I had no problems dropping into a ramp the way you see me doing here.
I also learned how to do a backside stall.
This is a 180-degree rotation on approaching the ramp and then landing
on the coping (metal strip) facing the way I came up the ramp, ready
to drop back in.
The last aggressive trick I learned is called
a mizou stall. Here’s
what it looks like.
When I started skating, a major goal was to actually
be able to drop into the big ramp by my 50th Birthday. The ramp
has since had to make way for a vert wall, but the middle section
of the bowl is about the same height (2 meters), so that had to
suffice. Not only have I learned to drop it, I have also learned
to do a backside stall there.
I have now been skating for about two years and still
enjoy it very much. I
notice I have regained some of the instinctive ability to fall that I
used to have. Furthermore, my joints have become more flexible again.
My sense of balance and also bone density both appear to have improved.
(For the rest, there is cosmetic surgery, although I have no plans for
What do Brigitte's friends think?
Over time, the younger skaters have accepted me as a permanent
feature in the skate park and are tremendously supportive. They have
had mostly very encouraging responses (some have even added me onto their "myspace").
I often end up sharing the bowl with the really good skaters, who are
very supportive when I try and learn a trick. To my surprise, some of
the young skaters told me that they wished their mum would also be skating!
friends, and especially younger colleagues, were initially less tolerant
of my skating; I often had to listen to comments that the sport was too
dangerous for my age and I should grow up. My reply usually was: “I’ve
been there: I did just that and got bored and afraid of becoming old
before my time.” Now even the fiercest critics have stopped and
some of my friends have changed their opinion, although they have no
intention of learning to skate.
I know a few middle-aged male skaters,
all of whom are much better than I am. But it is a wonderful experience
to meet up occasionally (usually when there is a skate event) and talk
wheels, bearings, frames, different skates etc. I just wish that I could
find other female middle-aged skaters, who, like me, love the thrill
of dropping into a ramp or tackling the grind box! The best feature
of this sport is that the skater decides how far to take it!
all skate with me, even my youngest son who initially was not too pleased
to have his mother on wheels. I must admit, it was
not my intention to intrude into my children’s sport. So, to be
psychologically more independent, I have joined the SAG (Skate
Association Germany e.v.).
I believe that in the end, though, all skaters skate together.
My daughter went to Camp
Woodward (West) last Summer, somewhere in the
desert in California, and
loved it! I am very intrigued by the pictures and maybe will manage
some time to go there myself!
See videos of Brigitte at her myspace profile,