Thursday, March 28, 2013

Roller Bangers

Clouds of vapors from Vaporizers - the electric shaver of cigarettes, blew high into the sky as the sun crept through the gloomy clouds on this Saturday morning at the Green Hills Memorial.  The Carson bladers hid red eyes and sobs behind heavily tinted black sunglasses.  Allen's original crew lined the entrance of the chapel with black ties, white button ups, black dickies, and kept it gangster, with black Chuck Taylor's.  The rest of the gangster's wore Allen Polanco's memorial shirts.  Tuff Gong lining the biceps and a huge photo of Allen, front and center, with a huge grin proudly displaying the fisherman's enormous catch of the day.

The remaining Carson Skaters re-met with firm handshakes and swirled the other arm to pat each other on the back.  The heterosexual version of expressing love, man-to-man, as we held each other firmly in this dark time, with the least amount of touch possible.

It felt like yesterday when I had first met the group.  Before the facial hair.  Before the weight gain.  Before the weight loss.  Before the hair loss.  Before that unfortunate moment Allen had, when he hit his head hard enough skateboarding down a hill blowing out the fire that kept him alive. 

Allen may have quit blading years ago but, I still considered him family, an original Carson Blader.  His gift for passing away was unity as he brought together the people I had begun the blading journey with.  A reminder to why I continued to blade to the best of my abilities trying to keep the memory of the Carson scene alive.  

Ken, on the left, a friend since kindergarden, accidentally bought a pair of K2 backyards and had opened up the door to an entire culture of aggressive inline skating.  Jason (Pumba) and Brandon Pua I had known since first grade, were my surrogate brothers.  It was tough love as we had our fights.  I'm thankful for them teaching me the hard way what the rules of the playground were.  I was last to blade in the group... last to get out.  

The Carson bladers always stood outside.  Although today, the church was overfilled as it bursted at the seams with everyone that was honored to have known Allen.  We listened to the person on the podium, as Allen's Eulogy began.

Jesus, his cousin shared a lovable Allen moment.
"Want to watch T.V. In HD?" Allen asked Jesus while they were watching television.
"Yeah, you got that?"  Jesus replied skeptical but, eager to see what Allen had in store. 
Allen leaves the room and returns with a spray bottle of Windex in one hand, towel in the other, and begins to wipe the television clean to HD standards. 
We all laugh, finding sunshine in a dark moment.

Jacque, Allen's girlfriend was on the microphone next.  She rest assured that the lovebirds were in love, he was a good man, and everything was ok.  Knowing the two of them growing up, it was not a surprise when I had heard of their boyfriend and girlfriend status.  Jacque, shared the same balance of street smart with book smart that Allen had.  Allen was good at making people laugh and Jacque was good at laughing.   She was one of the few that had the ability to extract the gentleman from one of the toughest in the group.  It felt like I swallowed a sack of bricks, hard to swallow as I choked up, knowing that the couple, we all adored, was unable to grow old together.  Everyone agreed that he was too young to pass on, only living 26 years young.

Allen's uncle last on the podium, in typical Philippine humor with a filipino accent and in broken english shared Jacque's pain.  He recommended that she move on and assured that he and Allen's family will always love her as their own.  Tito shared his last experience with Allen, another skeptical moment, when Allen offered a stinky fish dish.  Tito was hesitant that it might poison him.  He eventually ate it, surprisingly was not hurt, and admitted that it was delicious and went for some more.  Allen could always be trusted.  He might lead you into rough waters but he will always lead you out with a laugh.   

I have lost many people in my life.  Friends that moved out of town, to the break-ups with x-girlfriends/best friends.  But, this was my first funeral.  My first long hard goodbye.  At his funeral we did not talk about how much money Allen made.  We spoke of our relationship with Allen and the laughs we shared.  Life was about the experiences we had with each other and that material items were something that we couldn't take with us beyond the grave. 

I sat there beginning to reminisce of the first time I had met Allen.  I came rolling into The Pits, the ledges we all bladed at before the bladepark.  I thought of the excitement I felt, knowing that there were more blader's in Carson that I would be able to share my passion with.  Allen bladed Yellow Roces 5th Elements.  He soul grinded with his left foot, in a beanie, and teeth before the braces that gave him the nickname Animal,  that melted away as we grew up.

I remember when he came to Carson high school and was the only boy I knew that earned an A in the hardest Biology class, Carson had to offer.  I would walk home with his group in their direction, a friend helping me save a few bucks with a free haircut (a fade), another one of Allen's talents.    

After the haircut we would shred The Pits.  Allen's mom would yell from across the house, "Where are you going Allen?"
"I'm going Gangbanging Mom." Allen would reply innocently.
Without question Allen's mom responded, "Ok, be back by 10:00.".
The group laughed as we headed out, knowing we would never be creative enough, to get away saying something like that to our parents.
I took what Allen had said, a step further, and if any one asked, I would rest assure that I did not gang bang, and instead I roller bang.  

Roller Banger defined everything our blading stood for.  Rollerbladers with a touch of gangster, doing some Banger tricks, without the gang part.  Joel, his cousin, became the filmer in the group and has been my better half in my blading career.  He filmed and edited a Carson video, Remember, using Roller Banger to title our crew.  

  The word defined a lifestyle that I am excited to present, with Chuck Ceezys art, Roller Banger merchandise in the near future.   

When people ask, I still use what Allen taught me and tell them that "I'll be going Roller Banging and will be home by 10:00"  

Thank you Allen for the laughs and sharing the good times.

My condolences to Allen's family and his loved ones.

May you Rest In Paradise Allen Polanco.