WORDS & PHOTOS / Brian Gaberman (@b_gaberman)
In my line of work, you never really know what you're walking into. Frequently, you find yourself stepping off a plane and linking up with a crew of dudes you don't normally travel with. You may be arriving into the tightest of crews, or potentially a group of huge egos that don't even really like each other. It's always a surprise. I suppose being the somewhat shut-in, non-adventurous type that I am; it's one of my favorite things about the job. It forces me to be social, to be a bit uncomfortable initially, in order to almost always walk away with a bunch of new friends. It's good for personal growth.
One thing I've always noticed is that for every trip—every single one—there's a thing. Usually some theme or game that's present from the moment we get off the plane to the moment we all go our separate ways home. I like to think of it as our own little way to stay sane out on the road. A way to distract us from those hours upon hours of being locked in a smoke filled van, an endless flow of the most current hip hop blasting, living off of gas station snacks and Instagram. Certainly some clever and cruel sociological experiment gone awry. So I arrive, I shyly high five my new group of friends, and am greeted by this one resounding sound… "tick…" Apparently, this is to be the thing.
As my keen intellect quickly deduces, there's a tally counter along for the ride on this trip, and for every mistake, every dud joke, slip of the tongue or dropped ball, there is a penalty. You pull a rookie maneuver aka a "rook" move… you're getting called out, added to the count…"tick…" The pressure to be perfect is overwhelming, and the count grows relentlessly, unapologetically, mile after mile after mile, day after day, I still hear it in my dreams…"tick…tick…tick…"
A Target/Walmart stop on tour usually means getting the basics. Some forgotten toothpaste, boxers or picking up a tour soccer ball. But not for Franky, whose rook purchases involved a mini DVD player accompanied by a plethora of B-grade horror movies and a life-size skeleton just because it was only $40 dollars! What a deal! Strap it to the top of the van ya rook!
"I had just come off of a knee injury so I was wearing a knee brace throughout the whole trip. Needless to say, the combination of heat, humidity, skating all day, and a very snug knee brace resulted in my daily, unavoidable rook. Everyday getting in the van, we were greeted with a stench that easily overpowered nine grown, sweaty men. Sorry again, boys!"—Tyler Surrey
Chad is guilty of the biggest rook of us all, the belief that he did not rook it. You are not better than us Chad! Tick, tick.
On our last day in Louisiana we were invited to a legit Louisiana crab pot feast. This was a first for almost everyone on the trip so we had to go. We learned the proper technique for cracking open a crab shell and ate fresh alligator that had literally been caught as Anthony Schultz was putting down this boneless. But as the sun set and the mosquitos came out in force, we packed into the van saying our goodbyes and thank yous. At first the van was busy with the swatting of mosquitoes and the adjusting of gear/trash, but as the road grew long everyone settled in for the long haul and the van quieted. With a good distance between the mosquitos and us we pulled off at a gas station to fuel up and stretch our stiff legs. This is where Anthony earned himself a few ticks upon realizing he'd rooked it horribly. He had accidentally pocketed the wrong wallet from the party! Everyone back in the van!
"After skating Parasite in New Orleans we hit the seafood buffet near pancakes. It wasn't until about an hour later that I realized my board wasn't in the van. I had to interrupt an epic hack session so we could drive back and see if it remained where I had left it. It was gone, but thankfully Humidity skate shop had all the essentials. The only consolation for me was the possibility that a kid received his first skateboard that day."—Jordan Trahan
"I probably rooked it many of times on this trip, but the most memorable was when I tried to shotgun a beer while standing up on an inner tube, floating down river with my $200 Raybans on my head! Needless to say, I fell in the river and the glasses were never to be seen again. Tick!”—Jack Curtin
"As the driver of the van there are numerous opportunities for rooking it, but the biggest rook of them all is leaving a soldier behind. Sorry, Trahan."—Levi Brown