Tag Archives: Skateboard

Why It’s Good to Suck (At Something)

I suck at skateboarding. I’m terrible at it. But you know what, it’s good to suck at something. Here’s why…

(And yes, there will be an RPG angle to my story.)

There are a bunch of things I can get cocky about. I’m not bragging though, because I still have far to go, but I’m a fairly competent writer and editor, I know a deal about design and layout, and my puns are perfection. When it comes to skateboarding though, I suck.

Just how bad am I?

I’m a fearful person, and I’ve got the coords of a drunken goat. I can’t jump, and I nearly killed myself for a stupid trick (that’s hyperbole, but it still hurt).

But all the suckage is a good thing. It keeps you humble. It teaches you. It gives you perspective.

Humility and Real Motivation

So we’re going to talk about game design a lot here, and we’re going to talk about motivation too. Motivation’s the fuel that gets game design done, that pulls game devs through the tough times.

Motivation fascinates me.

People say our minds are like a computer, so then understanding motivation is like learning to hack our brains. That’s tastily cyberpunk.

But the motivation I’m talking about isn’t the Tony Robbin’s flavored shlock you find in a lot of self-help books. I’m talking about understanding what makes your brain think like it does, then knowing how to deal with those thoughts.

In skateboarding, sometimes the most unnatural movements are the right ones. Take dropping in.

Credit: Tania Ferreira Lourenco

Dropping in is where you have your skateboard’s nose up, then lean forward so that you and your board’s nose come down, onto the ramp. Your body’s natural instinct is to pull back, but this always fouls up and could put you on your bum. Ultimately, you have to trust the physics and lean into it, fighting through the fear.

You quickly realize that fear’s keeping you back. The only way to hack your brain is to fight the fear. So how do you fight fear?

School of Hard Knocks

We all know how to run, but riding a plank, that’s odd. You might be lucky to have learned it as a kid, but otherwise it’s an alien activity. In this way, skateboarding is a perfect model for how we learn.

I see it when I compare mini painting to skateboarding. Both take practice, and practice pays off for both hobbies. The best synonym for practice is “baby steps”. You learn to master mini painting by focusing on one new step at a time.

Gamemastering? Same. Writing games? Same. Nobody ever learned all the rules of D&D before running their first game, they learn enough and add to that knowledge later.

Knowing you suck is the only way to improve.

Why I Nearly Died for the Worst Skateboard Trick

The tail drag is probably the worst skateboarding “trick” in history. If it even is a trick. Basically, you’re stopping your skateboard by slamming your tail down. That’ll rip up your tail and cause razor tail if you do it enough. This sharpening of your tail’s edge turns your board into a lethal weapon, ready to slice shins.

On top of that, there’s a lot that can go wrong with a tail drag. When you lift your front foot, the skateboard’s nose comes up with it. If you don’t commit to the trick, your nose falls down and your front wheels become a fulcrum of death, catapulting you forward and into the ground.

That’s how I bodied myself, many times. It’s just lucky I’ve never broken an arm. Still, I’ll attempt the tail drag again, and again, until I get it.


You didn’t realize this RPG blog was going to take a skateboarding turn, but don’t worry, we’ll get back to rolling dice.

To me, skateboarding is about technical skill. It’s fun, too, sure, but the act of skateboarding is all in the physics. Similarly, you might say TTRPGs are about telling stories collaboratively. So learning to tail drag, as I see it, is the first step to better board control, which leads to unlocking the next level of skating.

Many skaters will disagree with me, because it really is a terrible trick, but I know myself and I know this is my personal battle. I have to fight it.

Maybe there was an aspect of the hobby you had to work hard at, even if your peers disagreed with you. Maybe you’re part of a group of power gamers, and you’re fighting hard to roleplay instead of roll-play. Maybe you’re trying to improve your mini painting skills, and your buddies all buy pre-painted minis.

Maybe this is about RPG fundamentals, and doing all you can to learn and put them into practice. What do you think?