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Friday, June 09, 2006


I was a student at the University Of Maryland (alright, technically I wasn't a student any more, I was just hanging out with Tony, who would technically not be student any more soon enough) when Len Bias died. It was a HEAVY scene, man. You used to walk down the halls and see this giant, literally head and shoulders above the rest, and then one day - dead.

It was all set before him. The Celtics (okay, I'm no huge basketball fan, but I'm definitely no Celtics fan), fortune, fame. Hey, I would have thrown a huge party myself. I can't blame the guy - he did what any kid might do, only it killed him.

There were rumors. He had a heart condition. He had been freebasing. It all amounts to the same thing, a dead kid who had a bright future.

When I was at the U of M, I was a bad boy. I knew other bad boys. One guy who I was very close to had been doing a little dealing to make ends meet. Over the course of the 85/86 school year I watched him become immersed in his 'business'. His health was declining, and his behavior was becoming erratic. I had a car then, and I used to drive him to meet his connection. I remember one time he said to me on the drive over to the apartment complex where he did his deals; 'Jackson, we should try crack'.

This was before 'New Jack City', and I wasn't exactly sure what crack was, but I knew it was something to steer clear of, simply because of the state my friend had come to after less than a year in the coke business.

For all of my considerable drug use, I can say I've always managed to get out while the getting was good. Len Bias didn't. And neither did my friend.

The day after Len Bias died my friend disappeared - gone.

Coincidence, I think not.

The edge can be an exciting ride. I've spent a lot of time there. I've lost some friends there too.

Some say Jesus died for our sins. Len Bias died for mine.

Man, that was a bad time... My folks still don't know what all was going on down there, and they don't want to know either. If I hadn't been invited to attend a different college by the administration of UM, my folks made it clear to me even before grades hit our mailbox that I would not be back there for the following fall.
No, I believe that the next fall it was Mr. L Smart's turn on that particular roustabout.

A fool and his analog recording gear are soon parted.
Funny, I always thought it was "she don't like, she don't like, she don't like" - which I struggled to make sense of, I mean who doesn't like it? Now I get it... I think.
Heavy thoughts.
Many of us did the same dance.
I was about a step behind you in my consumption of illegals. Some of us got lucky, others ate it.
Life. Better him than you. Quit blaming yourself for your past indescretions. Mr. Downers health class was a joke. Peace.
Alright fatsacca, you're blowin' my mind with the Mr. Downer's health class thing! Drop some clues as to who you are you magnificant bastard.
Oh, I'm fine, completely reconciled with my past. I was just ruminating on the anniversiary of a seriously heavy time.

Mr. Downer - you can't make shit like that up, I remember he mispelled constipation on the blackboard...he hated me because I did 30 pull-ups ( a school record at the time) beating all his beloved jocks.
Mr. Alva,

That pic of you next to the ramp, when and where was it taken? I used to skate WP in the days just before ramps. I remember seeing one at WP in '76 or maybe on visit in '78, near Washington Road by the Catholic Chapel. Was that yours? One of the early skaters I hung with sometimes was Chris Lagasse. The hills around that place were great for high speed fun.
Mr. Jackson,

The insane quest for the Presidential Fitness award and the dreaded pull-ups. Mr. D (D meant many things with this guy) certainly had his favorites. I was not one of them. I saw him once years later and he was stiil an ass. Glad to hear you showed him up. Now, Big Lou Nath was the man.
I'll let Tony tell who's ramp that was, but I will tell you that we know Lagasse very well.

The ramp in the photo was down in Lee Area, but I'll let Tony go into that as well.

Tony - it's time for another skating/youth/wp blog from you....
On your recommendation I'll put a post together on the topic and we'll see if it rings any bells with Mr. Fatacca.

The ramp in the picture was the last one out of a dozen or so me and my crew ever build and consequently only one of two NOT constructed with stolen material (the other I'll discuss in the post).

The ramp Fatacca is refering to was indeed built in the parking lot of the Catholic Chapel. There were three ramps built there. The one I imagine he's refering to was the first built by myself, Chris L, and the Rogers Bros. not three weeks after moving there.

Does that jog any memories Fatsacca? We've gotta be connnected somehow here...
Oh yeah, the year was summer of 1977 for the first ramp. Built another one the following summer. a 1/4 pipe style.

Hope that helps...
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