If there was a reoccurring theme in my life I would say that it is never give up because you never know when it’s going to work out the next time.
When I was in high school I didn’t have a lot of friends. But I did have one friend that stuck with me through thick and thin, his name was Israel Gamez. The two of us got into break dancing together, and was sitting in the backseat of my car listening to Tupac CDs talking about conspiracy theories of how he might have faked his death. I don’t often look back on my time in Nevada fondly. But every once in awhile I will take a moment to remember the people that matter to me.
My journey of discovering breakdancing started long before I moved to Jackpot. When I was I guess 11 maybe 12 I got my first hip-hop CD. It was called Doggystyle by Snoop Doggy Dogg. My discovery of hip hop music predates that purchase. Cuz I already had cassette tapes, mostly singles of songs by Jazzy Jeff, tone Loke, Kris Kross, MC Hammer and even Vanilla Ice ( give me a break I’m white I live in Kansas it was the 90s).
Then I saw a movie it was called Dangerous Minds. It opened me up to the realities, or at least the Hollywood version of, the inner city ” Gangsta” lifestyle. Through a combination of MTV, Nickelodeon’s all that, and hanging out with kids who were minorities always making friends with people that was Hispanic, or African American. So by the time I move to Jackpot Nevada I was ready to fit in to that hip hop culture as we called it. I discovered what we refer to as the four elements: rapping, scratching, breakin’ and graffiti art.
Everybody tells their story how they discovered their thing their clique. When I was in Middle School I was kind of a unpopular kid kind of dorky got beat up a lot so I join the chess club then found out I wasn’t any good at chess nor was I smart enough to talk to them about math or science or anything too nerdy.
I started hanging out with the D&D kids. I guess I was more into that then I was chess, but even they came and went. It really wasn’t until I moved to Nevada that I have my first round of stable friends. The first group of friends that I became close to or just two girls sisters their names were Shawna and Samantha. There was also a girl named Melissa, and a guy named Dallas. Eventually I’d make other friends including Israel the guy we called Haagen-Dazs, Dominic and Danny B.
What initially drew me to break dancing was the Showmanship people loved it. I didn’t have to be smart I didn’t have to be athletic I didn’t have to be musically talented I could just get on the Dance Floor Pop Lock, Glide, worm, wave, backspin then generally just bust moves. Rocketed from being a nobody to one of them most popular kids in my class even becoming student council president my final year of high school. Oh sure it was a small school but still everybody knew me they knew my name. They would always say what’s up THE RAT, show us some moves break for us. I didn’t care that they just wanted to see me do something I just wanted to perform it was the only type of performance art I ever got into. Like I said I wasn’t athletic so I couldn’t do any of the cool moves like my friend Israel my homie we can bust out a windmill to some head spins then they have that awesome shit people like to see break dancers do.
Different people would come and go we try to form crews, but it was always me and Israel. Maybe not always I mean I moved away then I lost touch but back then he was one of the few constants.
Then I dropped out of high school. I’m not going to go into why or how or what led me to that decision I’ll just say I was given a second chance and I went back and then I dropped out again couple years later. Eventually I got my GED and then I went off to college and I work for a newspaper and before that I worked in TV. But on that same theme you know getting Second Chances I dropped out of college twice sometimes shit happens.
2 years ago I broke my foot. The doctor said I was going to need surgery and that it would never heal properly. He told me I was going to need to put a pin in it or walk with a limp. Ironically enough it took me slip and down the steps on some ice busting my tailbone bruising myself up getting encouraged by a couple of people who reminded me everything heals in time. I finally decided to give the physical therapy a try and now my foot feels better I feel like it’s gotten stronger and I feel confident enough to be able to break dance again I haven’t felt that good probably three or more years.
I guess what I learned from all of it is if you keep trying stay positive don’t give up don’t give into drugs don’t give into alcohol don’t lose faith just stay on the straight and narrow put your faith in God and keep at it because we always get a second chance as long as we don’t close the door.
Me and my friend Israel we wanted to break that so bad that we had nowhere to do it so we built our own floor out of wood scraps in my backyard. We used to go to the mall and there was this like skateboarding shop that also sold breakdancing VHS cassette tapes they weren’t even like how to videos they were just videos you can watch of other people breakdancing. That’s how we learned we just practiced we watched others do it we showed each other stuff there were no instructions it was just do it felt right listen to the music and let the moves come out of you. I’ve secretly always wanted to learn how to do like the fancy dancing you know ballroom dancing and stuff but I never took the time. But I still love breakdancing. I guess there was a time I thought I was officially retired from it because I thought oh I had an injury. But then I met this retired wrestler and he told me his story and the guy put his body through hell wrestling for a living and here he was middle-aged man getting back in shape keeping at it. you know and he motivated me he made me want to do more with myself. I have a co-worker who wants me to get healthy has been teaching me how to eat healthier encouraging me to live healthier so I want to honor her buy doing as best as I can. So there’s no reason for me to give up I just keep trying and hoping that maybe I get a second chance or third chance or however many times it takes for me to get it right. But no matter what I’ll always keep trying no matter what I set my mind to if I fail if I break something or if I fuck it up I’m going to try again. And that’s what life is you just keep trying until you figure it out. Peace out b-boys 4 life. Stay cool.