Old dogs, new tricks

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Both Rosseland and Bartolo have suffered minor injuries over the years, but that hasn’t deterred them. Rosseland, a project manager for a commercial construction company, does admit, however, that his recovery time has lengthened with age. “It takes longer to recover from an injury now,” he says. “Years ago I would’ve just kept skating, even if I was hurt.”

Joe Parrino, 23, who lives in Bellmore and works at Unsound Skate in Long Beach, says he enjoys the presence of older skaters. “It’s cool to see them at the skate park,” Parrino says. “They’re still doing what they love, and it’s an inspiration to stay young.”

Parrino, who worked at several other area skate shops before Unsound, says he sees men of all ages coming in to buy boards. “The older guys sometimes seem even more excited to be in here than the younger guys,” he says. “They walk out with an ear-to-ear grin.”

At the Long Beach Surf Shop, which has a large section devoted to skateboarding, owner Luke Hamlet says his mature clients seem to be into skateboarding more for the fun of it. “The older ones seem to be riding more for recreational purposes, to have fun and get back to doing what they love,” Hamlet says, adding that in the case of younger skaters, simple transportation and the social aspects of skating may play a greater role.

My husband stopped skating briefly as an adult, but he was drawn back into the sport merely by the hairy thrills it provides. This time around, he says, he’s enjoying it more than ever.

Perhaps this is the case for him and others of his age because at this point in their lives, they make a conscious choice to keep skating. It is an activity that they have to seek out and make time for; they’re not doing it to be cool or to fit in. They keep going back for no other reason than sheer love of the sport, and perhaps that’s why they get even more pleasure out of it as adults.

Although I’ve been known to complain about Jason’s hobby from time to time and I worry about his aging knees, I have to admit that I’m actually quite proud of him. I like that he still gets out there, that he pursues his passion and that he isn’t a cookie-cutter dad.

I also think he’s sending our kids a very important message: Our hobbies evolve with us, and we don’t have to give up on the things that bring us happiness as we age. That’s a great message for all of us: Continue to pursue what brings you happiness, stay active and don’t be bothered by what others may think of you.

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