Monday, March 15, 2010

The Fragments left in Cleveland


It was spring break of our freshman year in high school and my friends and I decided we were going on a few skate trips throughout Ohio to film for an upcoming video that we planned to complete by the summer. Our trip was planned out a few weeks prior to our break, and we were determined to make sure we had everything ready before we left.

The previous week we drove to Cincinnati, where we spent a few days cruising through skate parks and spots throughout the city. We got some good footage and this is when we scheduled the trip to Cleveland. Five of my friends and I left early in the morning on a Saturday, and a few hours later, we were there and prepared to skate.

Once we arrived, we got food and drinks before exploring the city for spots to skate. We devoted a few hours skating a skate park next to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and then we decided we were going on a search for street spots. Cleveland is full of skate spots, and within minutes of driving we found a spot that we’ve seen in a professional teams video.

Alien Workshop is a very well known company that originated in Dayton, OH, so it is common for their team to skate around the central Ohio area. The Alien Workshop team released the video Photosynthesis (2000), which featured the same spot we were standing in front of ready to skate. The spot was an eight-stair handrail. As we approached the rail, we investigated the landing for cracks or a rough landing, but everything was perfect. We made our way to the top of the stairs and were disappointed to see massive crack leading up to the railing. Many of these cracks are made intentionally to block skateboarders and bikers from attempting the railing or performing tricks down the stairs.

An Example of a handrail

Usually when we experience a problem like this, we have duck tape to cover the crack, but in this incident we came unprepared. All of my friends decided that we should go find another spot, but Jason disagreed. Jason was determined to board slide this rail, and he wasn’t anxious about hitting the crack. Jason is known to be very clumsy, and he has been injured several times. I told him not to try the rail because the spacious crack could throw him off balance, but he had no doubts about it.

Several minutes later he was sliding down the rail, which surprised us all. He was getting on the rail perfectly, but no matter what he tried, he could not land. We asked him if he was ready to film, but he replied, “let me land it a few times first.” we asked, but he insisted we wait until he landed it a few times. After about fifteen tries he landed the board slide, and he landed it again on his next attempt. We ran up to Jason to congratulate him and his smile was glistening off the blazing sun. Feeling confident in his abilities, he was ready to film and we brought out the camera.

Once we prepared the camera, my friend told me the tape only had a few minutes left of recording. Another friend offered to go buy another tape, so I offered to go along to get drinks for everyone. As we went out to buy a tape and drinks, we got lost throughout the complicated streets, so it took about twenty minutes to return.

As we arrived, we were surprised to approach a vacant handrail. We walked up to the rail and were shocked when we discovered a puddle of blood on the ground. As we looked around, none of our friends were in sight. We called their cell phones and realized all of the phones were left in the car, so we decided to walk back to where the car was originally parked. We waited at the car for a few minutes and eventually decided to go look for them.

After asking several people on our search, a man told us he saw a group of skateboarders at the Wendy’s down the street. As we entered the Wendy’s, our friends were still nowhere in sight. We began to worry because it was our responsibility to stay together. Before we left, I decided to check the bathroom and was relieved to find our friends. As we entered the bathroom, we noticed all of our friends huddled up near the mirror. I walked closer and saw a blood soaked shirt on the ground. As I approached Jason, I observed a trail of blood leading to the mirror. When Jason turned towards my direction, I focused on a stream of blood slowly trickling down from his mouth. I asked Jason what happened as he was rinsing his mouth, and he said, “You were right about that crack.”

I quickly realized what happened and asked him if he needed anything. He told me he was fine, and while he was speaking and explaining the story, I noticed his two front teeth were chipped. We all agreed that we needed to go home, and our skate trip that we put all of the preparation into abruptly ended.

I didn’t see Jason until the next week when we returned to school; his face was still slightly bruised, and I noticed his teeth had been reconstructed to perfection. It took about a week for his cuts and bruises to heal, but after six stitches and two repaired teeth, is face was restored. Later that day Jason informed me that the video had been filmed, and I was anxious to see it. We watched the video on Youtube, and I was surprised to see how bad his slam was.

After we watched the incident, he decided to submit the video to This website has a section of videos called “Wednesday Woe,” where each week the website chooses the top user-submitted video of recorded injuries. The website rewarded Jason by sending him a “get well” package which included a couple skateboards and a pair of shoes. Jason is still nervous about skating handrails, and to this day, as a joke he always asks me for my permission to try a trick.


  1. HAHA Damn great video!! I really enjoyed reading this story. Your story layout was awesome. It kept me anticipating what was going to happen next the whole time. That's really shitty that he landed it a couple times before you could catch it on film. Great detail In the story, I felt as if I were there the whole time seeing acually what you witnessed. The handrail in the video looked awesome; I bet there are so many sweet spots in Cleveland to skate. That's really amazing that his video was recognized by skateboarding and even more awesome that he received some free boards and kicks.

  2. I agree with Pinney. This post is a wonderful example of how a video can establish a strong narrative on a blog. You may even wish to embed the video in the post. Well done.