CHAN Umar, laki-laki 43 tahun, asyik mencongkel-congkel selembar papan yang diletakkan di atas meja kerjanya dengan pahat. Sesekali tangan kanannya meraih tukul (penokok) kayu yang terletak di atas papan untuk memukul pahat, melubangi papan sesuai motif. Terkadang ia mengganti jenis pahat yang lebih selusin tergeletak di depannya. Perlahan namun pasti, selembar papan dari kayu surian yang sudah diketam itu berubah menjadi ukiran khas Minang di tangan Umar.n sehari-hari Chan Umar, pemilik bengkel “Ukiran Chan Umar” di Nagari Pandai Sikek, Kabupaten Tanah Datar. Pandai Sikek adalah daerah yang terkenal di Sumatra Barat sebagai sentra kerajinan tradisional songket dan ukiran khas Minangkabau. Meski daerah ini termasuk dalam wilayah Kabupaten Tanah Datar tetapi Pandai Sikek lebih dekat, hanya 20 km dari Kota Padangpanjang menuju Bukittinggi. Pilihan Hidup Di Pandai Sikek ada 6 bengkel ukiran tradisional dan Chan Umar dengan bengkelnya merupakan yang paling menonjol.Konon, menurut Chan Umar, Pandai Sikek sendiri memperoleh nama dari kepandaian Si Ikek mengukir interior dan eksterior rumah gadang. Si Ikek adalah seorang lelaki di daerah itu pada zaman dulu yang sangat mahir mengukir di atas kayu. Pandai Sikek sebagai sentra kerajinan ukir Minang yang banyak digunakan untuk ukiran Rumah Gadang (rumah adat Minangkabau) dan kerajinan songket yang sudah ada sejak zaman dulu hingga era Kolonial Belanda, sempat terhenti di zaman Penjajahan Jepang (1942-1945). Kondisi ini terus berlanjut sampai 1960-an. Agresi Belanda Kedua, dan kekacauan politik dalam negeri, dari tragedi PRRI (Pemerintahan Revolusioner Republik Indonesia) hingga pertentangan dengan Partai Komunisme Indonesia (PKI), membuat suasana mengukir dan bertenun di Pandai Sikek benar-benar terhenti.Bahkan sebagian besar untuk rumah gadang yang dibangun pemerintah, seperti museum dan renovasi rumah gadang bersejarah. Di antaranya rumah gadang Museum Adityawarman di Padang, rumah gadang Museum Kebun Binatang Bukittinggi, dan Istana Pagaruyung di Batusangkar. “Namun setelah itu hampir tidak ada lagi proyek pemerintah dan pesanan ukiran rumah gadang, kecuali pesanan rumah gadang di beberapa tempat seperti di Nagari Sulit Air, Solok yang dibuat beberapa orang perantau,” kata Umar. Beberapa perantau Minang yang kaya tetap ada yang merenovasi rumah adat lama mereka yang rusak dengan yang baru, atau membuat rumah di kampung bergaya rumah adat dan sanggup mengeluarkan uang Rp400 juta untuk ukirannya untuk interior dan eksteriornya,” ujarnya. Sama dengan Motif Songket Chan Umar menetapkan harga ukirannya Rp500 ribu hingga Rp1,5 juta per meter bujur sangkar. Mahal-murahnya ukiran tergantung besar, kecil, dan rumitnya motif yang dipesan. Kayu yang digunakan adalah surian, kualitasnya sedikit di bawah jati, yang banyak terdapat di hutan Sumatra Barat. Sedikitnya Chan Umar membutuh dalam satu hari 5 kubik surian. Meski di Sumatra Barat sentra kerajinan ukir tradisional Minangkabau tak hanya terdapat di Pandai Sikek, juga di Candung (Agam), Cupak (Solok), dan Lintau (Tanah Datar), namun Pandai Sikek jauh lebih berkembang, dan Chan Umar merupakan pengukir terkemuka. Keunggulan produk yang dihasilkan Umar adalah hasil dari kecermatannya menorehkan motif dan menentukan warna. Pengerjaan kedua seni kerajinan ini di bawah kolong rumah gadang pada masa lalu membuat motif saling mempengaruhi dan umumnya serupa. Diperkirakaan ada 200 motif tradisional untuk ukiran, namun yang sering dipakai hanya sekitar 20-an. Masing-masingnya memiliki filosofi sendiri. Misalnya motif ‘itiak pulang patang’ (itik pulang sore) memiliki filofosi masyarakat Minangkabau akan teringat dengan kampung halamannya dan selalu seiya-sekatu (bersatu). Chan Umar sangat optimistis kepandaian kerajinan ukir yang dimilikinya dan orang-orang di Pandai Sikek akan selalu menjadi andalan perekonomian di daerah itu. Meski di Pandai Sikek 70 persen mata pencarian penduduk adalah di sektor pertanian dan 30 persen di sektor kerajinan (tenun dan ukir), namun karajinan telah membuka banyak lapangan pekerjaan.“Biasanya seorang perajin hanya mampu bertahan selama 15 tahun, setelah berkeluarga dan kebutuhan ekonomi bertambah, ia mencari usaha lain, kebanyakan tak lagi mengukir,” katanya. Karena itu, selain Chan Umar, para pengukir umumnya berusia di bawah 40 tahun. Meski begitu, tangan-tangan terampil mereka tak pernah berhenti menorehkan motif khas minang di selembar kayu untuk sebuah ornamen seni yang enak dipandang mata dari generasi ke generasi. KESETIAAN SEORANG PENGRAJIN UKIRAN

Hockey is not exactly known as a city game, but played on roller skates, it once held sway as the sport of choice in many New York neighborhoods.

“City kids had no rinks, no ice, but they would do anything to play hockey,” said Edward Moffett, former director of the Long Island City Y.M.C.A. Roller Hockey League, in Queens, whose games were played in city playgrounds going back to the 1940s.

From the 1960s through the 1980s, the league had more than 60 teams, he said. Players included the Mullen brothers of Hell’s Kitchen and Dan Dorion of Astoria, Queens, who would later play on ice for the National Hockey League.

One street legend from the heyday of New York roller hockey was Craig Allen, who lived in the Woodside Houses projects and became one of the city’s hardest hitters and top scorers.

“Craig was a warrior, one of the best roller hockey players in the city in the ’70s,” said Dave Garmendia, 60, a retired New York police officer who grew up playing with Mr. Allen. “His teammates loved him and his opponents feared him.”

Young Craig took up hockey on the streets of Queens in the 1960s, playing pickup games between sewer covers, wearing steel-wheeled skates clamped onto school shoes and using a roll of electrical tape as the puck.

His skill and ferocity drew attention, Mr. Garmendia said, but so did his skin color. He was black, in a sport made up almost entirely by white players.

“Roller hockey was a white kid’s game, plain and simple, but Craig broke the color barrier,” Mr. Garmendia said. “We used to say Craig did more for race relations than the N.A.A.C.P.”

Mr. Allen went on to coach and referee roller hockey in New York before moving several years ago to South Carolina. But he continued to organize an annual alumni game at Dutch Kills Playground in Long Island City, the same site that held the local championship games.

The reunion this year was on Saturday, but Mr. Allen never made it. On April 26, just before boarding the bus to New York, he died of an asthma attack at age 61.

Word of his death spread rapidly among hundreds of his old hockey colleagues who resolved to continue with the event, now renamed the Craig Allen Memorial Roller Hockey Reunion.

The turnout on Saturday was the largest ever, with players pulling on their old equipment, choosing sides and taking once again to the rink of cracked blacktop with faded lines and circles. They wore no helmets, although one player wore a fedora.

Another, Vinnie Juliano, 77, of Long Island City, wore his hearing aids, along with his 50-year-old taped-up quads, or four-wheeled skates with a leather boot. Many players here never converted to in-line skates, and neither did Mr. Allen, whose photograph appeared on a poster hanging behind the players’ bench.

“I’m seeing people walking by wondering why all these rusty, grizzly old guys are here playing hockey,” one player, Tommy Dominguez, said. “We’re here for Craig, and let me tell you, these old guys still play hard.”

Everyone seemed to have a Craig Allen story, from his earliest teams at Public School 151 to the Bryant Rangers, the Woodside Wings, the Woodside Blues and more.

Mr. Allen, who became a yellow-cab driver, was always recruiting new talent. He gained the nickname Cabby for his habit of stopping at playgrounds all over the city to scout players.

Teams were organized around neighborhoods and churches, and often sponsored by local bars. Mr. Allen, for one, played for bars, including Garry Owen’s and on the Fiddler’s Green Jokers team in Inwood, Manhattan.

Play was tough and fights were frequent.

“We were basically street gangs on skates,” said Steve Rogg, 56, a mail clerk who grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens, and who on Saturday wore his Riedell Classic quads from 1972. “If another team caught up with you the night before a game, they tossed you a beating so you couldn’t play the next day.”

Mr. Garmendia said Mr. Allen’s skin color provoked many fights.

“When we’d go to some ignorant neighborhoods, a lot of players would use slurs,” Mr. Garmendia said, recalling a game in Ozone Park, Queens, where local fans parked motorcycles in a lineup next to the blacktop and taunted Mr. Allen. Mr. Garmendia said he checked a player into the motorcycles, “and the bikes went down like dominoes, which started a serious brawl.”

A group of fans at a game in Brooklyn once stuck a pole through the rink fence as Mr. Allen skated by and broke his jaw, Mr. Garmendia said, adding that carloads of reinforcements soon arrived to defend Mr. Allen.

And at another racially incited brawl, the police responded with six patrol cars and a helicopter.

Before play began on Saturday, the players gathered at center rink to honor Mr. Allen. Billy Barnwell, 59, of Woodside, recalled once how an all-white, all-star squad snubbed Mr. Allen by playing him third string. He scored seven goals in the first game and made first string immediately.

“He’d always hear racial stuff before the game, and I’d ask him, ‘How do you put up with that?’” Mr. Barnwell recalled. “Craig would say, ‘We’ll take care of it,’ and by the end of the game, he’d win guys over. They’d say, ‘This guy’s good.’”

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