View Full Version : Motorcycles, Life & Play

10-15-2008, 02:58 PM
I want to give credit to Capt Crash for this from another site I frequent.* His words are great and I only wish more people thought like this.


Motorcycles, Life & Play by Capt Crash

Do you ever play? I mean PLAY, let yourself fall into that childish exuberant place where you’re experiencing extended joy? Giggly good fun? There are times when adults can play—like…yeah, it is a puzzle, when do we play? It seems to be kind of against the rules when you get past 18. We get in our own way and don’t want to look stupid, or other people tell us ‘adults don’t act like that’ and we cave and surrender to being all grown up. In the long run it’s kind of sad that we leave that part of ourselves behind and forget or refuse to play.

Do you remember when you used to play tag? Good old fashioned ‘you’re it’ tag on the playground or out on the school yard? I do. I remember going all out playing tag; that pure exhaustion, complete surrender to the game; the kind of moment when you knew Mom has gonna bust your chops for getting grass stains on your good ‘school jeans’ but you just didn’t care and you just went for it. Those are delicious childhood memories whether it was an endorphin rush or just overloading of the juvenile nervous system with sensory input and strategic calculation.

It was just the pleasure of play. Getting older meant fewer moments of pure abandon and play; as we progress to adulthood we begin to expect and admire things like ‘self control’, ‘maturity’ and finally (and I believe this can be a sin) we cherish ‘acting like an adult’. As we age we slowly close ourselves up so no one can see our blissful abandons and then we forget how to enjoy them. Frankly? We get boring.

Play has several symptoms, clues that tell us we are entering that zone of release. Our pulse quickens. We become flush. There can be lightheadedness. We smile, then grin, and laugh, and the air tastes good and we access that center of ourselves and a zen thing happens and we are in a state of play, of euphoria, of childlike joy.

Often I find myself in that rapturous state when I ride motorcycles. Let me share a couple of occasions with you:

First, Motorcycle Tag. Have you ever played this? It’s a dirt bike game where you define a field with inbounds and out of bounds (preferably small—under 100 feet square—so you can’t get up too much speed), 1st or 2nd gear only, ANY contact is considered a tag. One guy is IT and off you go. If you’re IT and you bump your tire into someone’s swing arm—they’re IT. You can literally reach out and touch them as you go by. Stick a leg out and give a solid push to the seat? They’re IT—this is old fashioned tag as we played it as children. At some point as we played this we became kids—thrilled, joyful, laughing children on dirt bikes chasing and dodging and scheming and PLAYING. We had the joy of play. Oddly, no one ever got hurt. (I actually play ATV tag with Mrs. Crash and she giggles and shrieks like a schoolgirl when we do—it’s a beautiful sound from a beautiful girl).

Second, Parking Lot Practice (PLP). This is that informal practice we do on our own in empty parking lots. I would argue that good parking lot practice is actually Parking Lot PLAY. The other day I went down to the local high school where I know they teach the Idaho STAR beginner course. I got there right as the lunch break started. We’re talking about a couple of acres of cordoned off asphalt free of cars or obstructions. Knowing the right people pays off and the instructors were kind enough to let me ‘practice’ in this open ‘safe’ area. (By the by High School parking lots seem to be just about dead empty early on Sunday mornings.) So I started puttering around and practicing my full lock rights and lefts, and my weaves and braking. I was all self conscious because some students were sitting around eating…but as I rode the tires warmed and I loosened up and I started to PLAY. I just played. There is no other word for it. Joy. Riding. Me and the bike. The bike and I. Play. Pretty soon I was weaving through the cones that line the range. I started hitting 35 and practicing my emergency stops. The world closed down and it was me, the bike and the asphalt. I was fully in the moment.

Finally I realized I had no idea what time it was and my bubble of attention opened and I looked up and most of the class was back sitting on the grass watching me. Remember when you were a kid and you were fully engrossed in play and your parent or teacher snuck up and watched you and suddenly you sheepishly realized they were there? Yeah. That happened. I rode over to the Instructors said, “Clutch is your buddy! Thanks” and kinda slunk off. Play—adults don’t do that. Oh well, I do.

I could go on about the bike and how the roads you learn become your friends; or the people who you ride with and how, when you trust them, you get to the place of play in your riding that place where you’re in the flow together and it’s just blissful and clear and beautiful.

There is another time that we as adults can play, a time when we can be exuberant, loud, goofy and even ridiculous: when we’re around small children. It’s true! Ever play peek-a-boo with your union rep? Or the UPS guy? Or the cop asking for your license? Of course not—you’d end up getting tasered and spending 72 hours in observation. But children are different. I was sitting in church the other day, and yes, God looks out for fools and small children but, as a fool, I’m hedging my bets and I go to church where I often encounter small children in the pew in front of me. They get bored and stand up and turn around to get a look at the rest of the congregation and, well, what’s a guy to do? The ensuing festival of making faces and peek-a-boo madness is really the definition of goofy adult. I believe it’s embarrassing for everyone in the Crash Clan however, I cannot help it, it just happens. Making children smile is a blessing reserved from more than just clowns—trust me, try it, it’s worth it.

What’s today’s lesson? It’s really quite simple: play. Find a way to shake off the adult for a few moments. Short sheet thekid’s bed. Put a frog in the silverware drawer. Crank call your wife/husband/girl/boyfriend/son or daughter at home or work. (I send the text message “BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ” and when they text back “what are u doing” I send back “Bugging you”.) Climb a tree. Reach across the table in the lunchroom and tap Steve-o’s hand and say “tag—you’re it”. Have a race at dinner and see who can eat the mashed potatoes faster. Throw the mashed potatoes. Have ice cream for dinner. I don’t know just find something! Turn up the radio or computer and dance with your significant other. Tickle. Stick your tongue out. Fly a kite. Find that thing and that person that make your heartbeat faster, puts a flush in your cheeks and makes the air taste good and just let it happen!

It’s gonna be different for everyone of us but please, unchain your inner child, they’ve been imprisoned long enough—go, PLAY!

10-29-2008, 11:31 AM
van halen said it in a song a " where have all the good times gone "? and they actually sing about it. i think alot of my childhood went away around age 14

10-31-2008, 11:35 AM

I try to fight "growing up" every day.

Life can sometimes suck us in... with the election and the always changing world... with the economy, with work, bills, stress, problems in life, lack of riding time, lack of time period.

I am on a quest to figure out my life and enjoy it.* I do not want to get sucked in to a monotonous life that loses its luster and enjoyment.

So, why can't we laugh and play like when we were kids.

11-01-2008, 03:04 AM
because when i was a kid i did't have enough money for gas so i had to grow up? ;D