Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The common bond

com·mu·ni·ty [kuh-myoo-ni-tee] - a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.

It would be a shame if one were to go through life without fully understanding, experiencing and appreciating a real sense of community. I have been fortunate enough to have experienced the community of hardcore, lowriding and skateboarding in this lifetime. That in itself is a large part of why I have always been so passionate about those very things. I've experienced it at a worldwide level. Since the days before the internet, having that one common bond was all that it took.

If we were visiting another city to attend a hardcore show, there would always be that someone ready to take you in and give you a couch to crash on after the show with no questions asked. If we were at a car show in another city, the local lowriders would notice you, introduce themselves, accept you as one of their own, show you the town and offer you that place to stay. They knew you'd do the same for them without a doubt. As a matter of fact, I can only recall one occasion in my life where someone just didn't get it. We asked if we could crash at their place during a trip and they were offended because "they didn't know us". Our answer to that was "and now you never will".

Hitting the streets with a backpack full of camera gear and skateboards under our feet in Mexico City was no different. It wasn't long before we came across the first person on a skateboard. We simply asked for directions and what we ended up with was great friends. One friend led to another and before we knew it we met one group of skaters with all that we could hope for when it comes to making new friends... the Halen Crew. You could sense that these friends rolled with each other like a family. It was no surprise to us that they extended every courtesy to us during our time there last summer. They knew just like we did that we'd do the same for them if the shoe was on the other foot.

If you added up the hours that we spent in each others company it wouldn't add up to much, but it only took moments to realize what great friends they could be. So much so that we've been in touch with them since we returned to Winnipeg, sharing photos and videos, writing about how we're looking forward to going back to visit etc...

All those great memories and positive thoughts about returning to visit is what makes it so hard to swallow the news that two members of both the Halen Crew and the worldwide skateboarding community were taken from us this past Saturday.

César Alpizar is not only a friend to us and I can only imagine so much to so many others, but he is also Halen Ropa, Halen Chica and what appeared to be a large part of the Mexico City skateboarding scene with his giant heart, huge smile, passion for skateboarding and constant generosity.

I was honored to work with César on t-shirt collaborations across two borders. It was just the beginning of projects we were working on together. Not being able to look forward to the next batch of photos sent via e-mail sucks. It leaves me with that empty feeling that sunk in fast realizing that there would be no second chance to visit with each other again in this life.

Johnny Castle a.k.a. Johnny "Ganzo" Castillo may look serious in this photo, but that wasn't his usual demeanor. It's possible that this straight faced moment is only because of how serious he was about loving AC/DC. When he wasn't skateboarding he was laughing and making jokes. He may have even made jokes at my own expense in Spanish without my knowing it.

I was o.k. with that, because it was just great to be around him long enough to watch him tear it up on his skateboard.

Street or bowl, Johnny showed zero fear of any obstacle. The kind of skater I'd fast forward through a skate video of other people's parts just to see his.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to all the friends and family of César and Johnny.

R.I.P. brothers.

Show your support for Bona and Marco!

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