Striker’s Tales: Eastside Holiday Hookup
For the last eleven years the Coast community has been putting on a toys for kids skate parade but it just didn’t have the same energy as it once did started to run dry and if I’m not feeling it I don’t want to do it. That goes with anything that I do in my life. The only reason I got into skating was it gave me the most powerful energy I ever experienced and that’s what my life runs on. I need to feed off energy it can’t be faked.
I think some of it too boils down to not being able to lead the pack like I used to on these pushes. The days of pounding the pavement up hill with my push foot downtown leading the charge are over for now but I did grab my board for this occasion and give a little push.
I was hoping that community would step in and run the parade again this year. Santa Chase kicked ass they last couple of years but I wasn’t sure if he was even feeling it these days. Most years I waited till someone asks me if we’re doing it and then it’s a last minute sort of deal and so far this year there was no mention of it.
I went to a arcade party and Mr. Fish Renaud brought up the parade again and he brought up an idea that I kicked around a few years back. We talked about making the event more of a feed the homeless banana’s kind of deal but to tell you the truth when I first came up with the idea I liked the sound of “banana’s for junkies” but of course we couldn’t call it that, these are real people were talking about here so I made some notes, then a poster and it was time to make a move and kick some ass.
Like I have done for almost three decades now I pulled on my Santa suit as my little girl watched me I explained that there are freezing cold people downtown with no home that nobody cares about. I told her there are people on the street freezing cold squatting on the street using the back of a building and the road in the alley as shelter. I made sure she knew that before me my mom also loved to help the underdogs in life and that even if we make someone feel comfort for a second that’s the point.
I headed out to our fresh new meeting point and I thought this time we should just start at the top of a hill so the first thing we need to do is bomb down Granville loaded with blankets, socks, gloves, chocolates, foods, beer and whatever else people brought.
I made it early to the London drugs on Granville St and I took a picture and posted it up a little worried nobody was coming. It was pissing rain the hardest I’ve seen in days and I knew that would be a great excuse not to come out. I mean really who wants to get all wet when they are nice and cozy in their comfort zone. I stood and waited looking at the time as it grew closer to noon the meeting time and still nobody was here yet. This reminded me of the year that only two people showed up for the toy for kid’s parade it was army mike and I on a Wednesday at three in the afternoon.
Reality was kicking in and I was starting to prepare for a solo mission I had a sack full of gear and at least one person is still better than non so I would still be getting it done for some of the paths I would cross. I waited longer and a couple boarders rolled in and they said I looked pretty defeated…or sad maybe was the word. I told them to snap a picture of me to post up on the event page for everyone to see that it actually takes some effort to show up and be apart of something like this not just click your coming and not show up. I was alone till now and now there was three of us I was stoked and they seemed pumped as well.
Backup was on its way so we waited a full hour before we got every last body to help on this mission. I wish we were looking more like Christmas colors just like push for the cure I wish we were all in pink. We stand out more and more people take notice that something is going on and that in itself creates a little more awareness of what we’re doing and that does inspire people to something in their lives while they wait at the bus stop and watch a bunch of longboarders scream and yell while bombing down Granville St. DRESS FOR SANTA HOOK UP THE DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE!!
I got a new camera now so it’s going to take some time to get used to the settings so your going to get a few blurry shots till I master this beast but I like it so far. I’m back on the Olympus train after a two year two Fuji film camera stint. I like it so far but it will take a bit to get used too that’s for sure.
Santa took off down Granville and we made our move!
Santa didn’t really have a set route but a pretty good idea we were heading to the downtown eastside and it was all downhill.
Santa was starting to feel like it might be a problem for him to stop so he just kept rolling and crossed the intersections when he got there ready to make some moves with a massive sack on his back
We were looking for the people that really needed the socks and the blankets in this weather anyone who had a shelter used it and wasn’t on the street the good thing about this weather was only the weakest would be the ones we would seek out and hook up.
We hunted the alleys even if the alley looked empty we would send out a couple feelers into the zone and check behind garbage cans and doorways if you were hiding in the alley we found you. For some they were so happy when Santa offered them socks and a beer. “Oh thank you Santa I didn’t think I was going to get a beer today,” that one felt really good to get a smile while hugging the dry warm socks and even getting a beer the last thing this person thought they would get on this terrible day, nothing wrong with that.
Grizz brought down some sleeping bags, tents and tarps so the ones that were soaked in their shitty shelters they got a little reinforcement along with some dry socks and a snack. Santa Chase and Grizz keeping it real love these guys!
You know what going through these photos really makes me proud of everyone that showed up to lend a hand. You really don’t know what the hell is going on down there till you see it with your own eyes and feel it. My eyes fill up with water knowing how awesome this was and when someone comes up to you and says, “Who says Christmas is dead in the downtown eastside man it shows you care to come down here to make sure we get a piece of it thank you!” Now that’s what it’s all about. then he said off the record that, “It was a good thing you guys showed up today because you saved me from robbing someone,” so there you go!
We were digging in these shelters not sure if these people were dead or alive. “Hey anyone in there wake up Santa’s here you hungry? Need some dry socks, blanket or pants?” that was some of the things you would hear us say while we were rattling shelters and waking doing a little healing work for the moment.
We had some fun along the way and thought we would stop by Flatspot Longboard Shop to see Mischa locked and loaded at the counter keeping it real. Support this shop. There is no core skate shop that supports the coast community like they do so we got to make an effort to keep this shop alive so they can keep giving back. You can only do so much as a shop owner. While I’m on this topic a huge thank you to Switchback Longboards and all the support they gave the coast community over the years!! Support these shops! Support your local shops that are supporting your community it goes along way and you just can’t always take. You can’t always take you gotta give back and that’s a very important one in my mind.
So whatever alley were in kicking needles and feeding the struggle we rolled up on some real chinatown history here we got three huge dragon heads so we skated them to Flatspot for a little dry storage while we continued to kick some ass!
I think by the end of it all we were twelve riders strong and this was a great number actually perfect for this year I was surprised that we had enough gear for this day to hook up the locals. Our final sweep Grizz hooked up this lady with a tent. This was it this was her home and shelter until we dug her out of the alley.
We were on a roll here it was great!
And we come out of another alley and we realized we weren’t alone helping out this group from the temple comes out with huge amounts of food to feed the blocks of homeless and poor so we made sure to snap a pic to represent the good movements.
In the end we were stuck with one last sleeping bag and we wanted to make sure it got to the right hands so we kept on looking and we found these ladies and they were sure happy to see Santa.
Grizz gave away his last sleeping bag and we were one happy group of skaters it was the most rewarding coast Christmas cruise yet and 100% we will be doing more of this some of the best you can do for yourself as a person and others as humans. Thanks to everyone of you that made the effort cleaned out your sock drawers and storage lockers. It only took a few hours and we really got to see and feel the impact we made. See you next time!
Totally soaked we decided to hit the Cambie or whoever wanted to anyways for a cariboo beers and some hot food. Just a heads up Cariboo is sold at the Cambie and is the cheapest booze in the whole bar so that’s right on and they have the blue, green, orange and black cans so we even get a choice!
So I’m not going to get into detail but on the push for the cure ten years ago I was in Cape Breton and one of the guys that I kept in touch with that lived with his parents place and gave me a couch for a night was coming to Vancouver! I haven’t seen him in ten years since the push so he wanted to go to a Canucks game so I found them really good tickets and when we were done the downtown eastside hook up I just met him there to say hi and give him his tickets.
Buying from Craigslist is always a risk and I told him that if anything happened I would eat the cost of the ticket price that’s how confident I was in the sale but when I pulled out the tickets they were totally trashed, ticket stubs ripped off and soak all the way through. So that made his father in law feel scared and they booked it to the game right away to see if the tickets would even work and they did!
We ran into punk rock living legend Mr. Chi Pig from SNFU!
Team Green Roosen was hungry and so he just drank ketchup to fill the void.
Hey holy shit so I just checked the Flatspot Longboards webstore and the last of the Coast gear is almost all cleared out!! Looks like they have only one hoodie left and a few shirts and patches!!! Coast patches in the stocking are dynamite!! Cheap and easy gift!
ENTER TO WIN A NEW CARIBOO SNOWBOARD NOW!! THEY ARE KILLER THIS YEAR!!
And to finish it all off this group here just got back from the downtown eastside and hooked up a bunch of ladies with purses so the good just kept on giving! Hey ho!! I gotta go! Thanks for reading!!! Thanks Cariboo Brewing for everything you do for our community!!!
The Baddest Santa!! FOLLOW COAST LONGBOARDING ON INSTAGRAM!!!!