Leaving the tribe

October 10, 2016

In elementary school, I took up skateboarding. I still skate today - mostly to and from meetings on my longboard - but if you asked, I'd no longer consider myself a skateboarder.

1991: The year I figured out the trick to skipping school without the risk of getting caught: Start a snowboard club.

I began snowboarding around the same time as skating, but the days of me riding multiple days a week have long gone by the wayside. If I get out to the resort more than ten days in a season (that is, days in addition to the beginner runs with our older two kids and tow rope with our youngest) then it's a very big year. I still love to go snowboarding, but not along the lines of whom I used to label a snowboarder.

I started playing basketball in high school, mostly with friends and random kids on a neighbourhood court. I still play basketball today in our local men's league, but if you asked me if I thought of myself as a basketball player, I'd deny it.

I discovered mountain biking during my last year of high school and then raced bikes both off and on road for about 15 years. I still get out to ride a few times per week (which if I'm being honest is mainly commuting) but I'm definitely no longer a passionate bike racer. In order to do well at races, you need to train a lot and my paltry 50-100 km a week of riding just doesn't cut it or qualify me for anything but last place.

Looking back, it's clear that I used to define myself by the sports I participated in and hence the tribes I belonged to: a skateboarder, a snowboarder, a basketball player and a cyclist. Each sport all have subcultures that you can work yourself into and contribute towards. As the years have gone by, I've both by choice and by circumstance distanced myself from all of these tribes. I'm no longer in any of them.

It's a weird feeling to belong to something so deeply that it defines who you are and then one day, you just aren't. When I first realized this change in my life was starting to happen, it was disconcerting and scary so I tried to go backwards and attempted to re-join a tribe, but the fire wasn't there and it just didn't seem the same anymore.

Today I proudly say that I'm a husband, dad and son. These are family roles I will be in for a very long time to come.

As for the other tribes, I've guess you could say I moved start my own.