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Pacman pie image Julia Elman

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Skating and Coding

I recently watched the film mid90s. And it got me thinking a lot about skating… and coding… and how the two relate to each other in my life.

Skating was how I spent part of my Kansas high school summers. My friends and I would spend all day (and sometimes night), heading to different spots around town to skate. We all seemed to have a lot of freedom, with little to no supervision or adults telling us what to do. But we all knew what we wanted to do. We wanted to skate.

When it came to skate sessions, there would usually be one trick we’d each be focusing on honing each time. Every skater would spend hours and hours (and sometimes days) focusing on the same trick. And while the challenge of learning the trick was our own, my friends and I would cheer each other on. Because we knew that all of the falls, bruises, scrapes were one step closer to landing that most sought after trick.

Coding and open source work has also has had a similar path for me as skating did. Learning computer science is hard and takes a lot of trial and error to learn. For example, I remember trying to compile PIL (know known as Pillow) from source in order to get my local development environment running properly. This pre-dates Homebrew and pypi and was an INCREDIBLY frustrating task for a newb. But I did not give up. I kept trying and learning and banging on my keyboard until… I got it to work! I landed the trick.

And what a feeling it is to land that trick. Seeing that prompt with zero ERROR returns, and 100% tests passing, exuded the same feeling as landing that front side grind I had been working on for weeks.

Twenty plus years in, and I still love skating and coding. Because there will always be tricks to learn and land. And I know that I have a community around me to see me do it.

Shout out the “The Pink Mafia”, Dave, Greg, Jeff, Josh and Ron. Let’s all go fishing and see you at Denny’s.