Do It While You Can – Back To Woodward Article at Skatepark of Tampa

Do It While You Can – Back To Woodward

Posted on Tuesday, September 7, 2004 by Ryan

Do It While You Can – Back To Woodward
Words, Photos, and Captions by Ryan Clements

In My Room At Woodward Camp In Woodward, Pennsylvania

      I kept on explaining myself to Billy, “Yeah, see, I work a lot of hours at Skatepark. And then it takes a long time to mow my yard. Plus, I’ve been working on that garage addition.” Blah, blah, blah. Billy wasn’t buying it. He said, in his old-man voice, “Ah, forget all about that bull$h!t.” Those are some remarkable words, especially coming from a life-long Southern Baptist whose own family has never heard him say a bad word. I was psyched. Not just because he said that word, but because that meant Billy and I are pretty tight if he felt comfortable saying it around me.

      So here I am sitting in my hotel room at Woodward. I’m having more fun than if I were fishing or hunting anyway. They put me up in The Lodge this time. It’s the last week of Camp and there are only like 200 campers...and all of the gymnasts are gone, too. So that means lowly Ryan Clements from Skatepark of Tampa gets a deluxe room all to himself.

      The flight up here was miserable. The last time I flew to the northeast was like six years ago, and this experience has reminded me of why I like to drive. My flight from Tampa was delayed once and my flight from Philly to State College was delayed three times. To make a long story short, I left my house at 5:30am and didn’t arrive at Camp until 6:30pm. That’s 13 hours! Only a few more hours and I could have driven here. Other than that, it’s been great so far.

      You guys all know about Woodward from the last article that I wrote back in July, so I don’t really know how I’m going to switch this one up. I just want to stress how amazing this place is. I think that the most wonderful thing is that my cell phone doesn’t work here. I wouldn’t even know if there was a hurricane about to hit Florida – oh yeah, I do know that. And I’m having to cut my trip short by an entire day because of Frances. I can only imagine how lame the airports are going to be the day before a hurricane hits Florida.

      Honestly, I don’t even know why I’m coming home early. It’s not like there’s anything I can do if the hurricane does hit Tampa. But forget all about that for now, I still have 22 hours left in paradise.

      I’ve been doing my usual routine of getting up early and skating with the younger kids everyday. I swear, I think that I could do this the entire summer. At least I know that I would be skating to my fullest potential if I had that opportunity to be on board daily. After the morning session, I generally would meet up with Frazier and Furlong and have lunch. If you’re not feeling the regular lunch and salad bar, you can always head up to the grill area where you’ll find Hot Dog Dave, a.k.a. Big Dave, and formerly known at Woodward as Tampa Dave. One camper asked Dave, “How come you were pro last year and this year you’re cooking hot dogs?” I don’t think Dave appreciated that one.

Sitting At The Airport In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

      Furlong and Frazier are virtual super-stars at Woodward. They’ve both been going there so long that they really, really know the routine and how to get along around Camp. They’re down with the owners, managers, and even the housekeepers. Kids constantly ask for their autographs and they help out with various contests and clinics. Whether it’s a jam, mini-ramp contest, or demo, there’s always something going on.

      My evenings were spent hanging out with Frazier and it was more like he was my designated driver. Mike is all about eating good dinners, so in three nights I ate with him at Outback in State College twice. We are like a couple of Chatty Cathy’s when we hang out. Mike is one hell of a storyteller – he can make the most simple and bland story seem exciting. I would have drink after drink at dinner because I didn’t have to be concerned with driving afterwards. Last night after our meals we made a special stop at Heartbreaker’s in Milheim.

      Heartbreaker’s has some interesting characteristics. When we walked in there were no girls working at all. The owner asked, “Oh, you guys want to see some girls?” We replied, “Yeah, I guess.” Mike and I played a game of pool while he got on the phone and called the girls, who were chillin’ at the bar up the road. The one girl (there were only two) was so wasted that she actually fell over on stage. It was a total class act all the way around.

      But you don’t want to know about strip bars, right? This is supposed to be all about my exciting trip to Woodward. Let me tell you…just go there. There are more obstacles to skate than anywhere I know of. If you can’t find something you like, then there’s got to be something wrong with you. The food isn’t half bad and the people are really cool and accommodating. I happened to be there on “adult week.” Yep, even if you’re an adult you can still go as a camper. If you’re tired of skating you can use the go carts, swim, play pool, hike, climb, ride horses, and you name it. But I doubt you’ll be tired of skating. In the three days I spent there I didn’t even get to skate half of the stuff – it’s truly amazing. Not to mention, there was perfect weather during the day, it was slightly cool at night, and the surrounding mountains are pleasing to the eye.

      As I sit in the airport, I’m feeling a very slight depression in my mood. Coming home from fun trips sometimes seems to do that to me. All of the excitement is over with and in a few hours I’ll be back in my office at Skatepark, in my daily grind. It’s even more disheartening as I realize that the summer is drawing close to an end, too. Summers have always been my favorite season - a season of fun, sun, swimming, and fewer responsibilities. I had that experience as a kid and I’m having it as a grown-up, but I still don’t want it to end.

      They just called for my flight to start boarding. Thanks to everyone that made my trip possible and showed me a good time. Thanks to skateboarding for inspiring me.

Note: I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for my horrible photography and overall lack of photos. I was so mad when I tried to start shooting photos and realized how long it’s been since I seriously tried to use our camera – that thing is tech. In addition, I had so much fun skating in the various sessions that it was tough to quit skating and start shooting. Hats off to Rob’s photography skills.

Joel Mealing hucks a method
After the method, Joel kept it coming with this Indy nosebone
Joel couldn't get enough - this is a tweaked out mute, the opposite of a Japan
Another angle of Furlong's staler at The Rock
Frazier and Pleshaw get gangsta' as Furlong floats a stalefish over them
Hot Dog Dave fs 360's out of The Rock
My favorite hillbilly, Jona Ownings, with a ollie over the picnic table to crooks on the other side - Hazard County Construction represent!
Dave Pleshaw represents a proper frigid fly-out
Big Hot Dog Dave Pleshaw snaps a bs tail on the steep qp in The Rock
Camp was really mellow since it was the final week for the summer, but they still hosted all of the contests including this game of S.K.A.T.E. - I think this is a switch heel
When was the last time you saw a Vert Clinic? They're alive and well at Woodward, courtesy of Frazier
I'm down with the go-cart slick track
Malcolm Watson was up in that piece
When Mike Frazier and Anthony Furlong aren't taking long walks on the beach, they spend their time enjoying the outdoors with a nice bike ride
Dave Pleshaw (a.k.a. Hot Dog Dave) holds down the grill for lunch and dinner daily
I was so hyped on this caterpillar that I snapped a photo of him


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