Among veteran BMX riders there is a looming question; Are you a Pro? There are some who turn pro by entering a contest. Riders that get paid for performing can consider themselves Pro. Lastly, riders that have been around forever might call themselves a Pro. Tonight I made a formal declaration of my Professional status as a rider. None of the reasons mentioned were behind the decision to resign my amateur status.
Today was one of those late August days with the summer’s sunshine and yet a hint of Autumn. The gentle breeze blew as the thermometer peaked around 80 degrees. I bolted out of work and went straight to the tennis court to practice for an upcoming demo. Feeling a bit rusty and riding a new bike that I’m still not used to, my session was difficult. I enjoyed the challenge.
After about 60 minutes, a man and woman approached the courts wielding racquets and a can of balls. I could feel the tension that was about to arise. They passed through the gate and put their gear down at the end of the court where I was riding. With all the courtesy I could muster, I pulled out my headphones and calmly asked “Could you please play on those two empty courts next to us?”
The man’s face fell as flat as the crewcut he wore. He barked out “Why?” I told him I had been riding here for an hour and was practicing. “These aren’t bike courts! They’re tennis courts!” he said firmly. I concurred with him and told him so are the two courts next to us. “What the hell are you doing here? This place is for playing tennis, not riding a bike! Fuck you!” Meekly, I told him that I didn’t appreciate his yelling at me and that I was here first and mentioned the two empty courts for the third time. He didn’t seem to enjoy my politeness. When he scolded me again and asked why I was riding a bike there I tried to explain that I needed a smooth and flat surface for my tricks. “What are you a pro or something?” came out from under his moustached lips. With lifted eyebrows and a humble shrug, I replied “Actually, I am a professional”.
His puffed up chest deflated as his girlfriend reached down to pick up their gear. She motioned for him to follow her to the empty courts. As they started walking away, I turned to replace my earphones. Before I got the second one in, I heard him grumble “Well, you may be a pro but your an asshole.”