Parents That Shred

Posted on Friday, July 27, 2001 by Ryan

Parents That Shred
July 27, 2001 by Ryan Clements


      The parental interest and involvement at the Skatepark of Tampa is at an all time high. I have so much appreciation for the moms and dads that I see at our skateboarding events. I’m talking about the ones that sweat their asses off on the non-ventilated balcony at our All Ages Contests, cheering on their kids’ first kickflips with the same pride as their first steps. These are the middle-aged folks who fight it out to the bitter end in the product tosses (well, maybe the “Mom and Dad Product Tosses” aren’t that gnarly). Witnessing die-hard parents view video premieres and have no idea what’s going down is motivating to me.

      Although some skaters may think that it’s lame that their parents are watching and supporting them, it’s actually damn cool. If you’re the child of one of these types, you should give mom and/or dad a pat on the back (feel fortunate if it’s mom and dad nowadays). If your parents are down with you skating and spend their free time carting you and the bros around to different skatespots, then I suggest that you give them a well-deserved thank you. Allow me to pass something on that my wife taught me: You catch a lot more flies with honey. That basically means above everything, it’s most important to be nice, especially to the ones you love. I assure you that everything will go much better at home. If your parents ask a simple favor of you, then just appease them. Trust me on this one. I’ve been on both sides of the fence. I was a skateboarding son and now I’m a skateboarding father.

      For the parental units checking this out, times are a changin’. If your kid doesn’t play baseball, football, or soccer…sorry Mom. Get with the times. Blue hair, studded belts, and DC shoes are prevalent in every junior high and high school classroom. Kids are over the pep rallies; they want skateboarding, damn-it! Read the email below that I received from a wonderful wife and mother named Sarah. She was the inspiration for this topic. The bond that her family shares is obvious.

Ryan,

Perhaps you remember us. My husband's name is Todd Strauss. My name is Sarah and our son's name is Riley. We live in the West Palm Beach area and have frequented SPOT whenever we visit Tampa.

Todd has become a stepparent to a sweet little boy who enjoys skating immensely, as well as spending time with his new dad (Todd still skates). I think Todd’s love for the sport has helped cultivate a very special relationship between them. They spend almost every day outside on the launch ramp and railslide that they made together, regardless of how tired they are at the end of a long day. God, I am choking up.

I just wanted to thank you for your dedication to the sport and your dedication to the kids. I know that most of you guys out there are real bad-asses. You shred. You've got scabs and scars. But there's just enough softness that comes through when you talk to the little ones; the ones who one day want to become just like you. I've seen it with my own eyes.

Case in point:
We saw you skate at the Tony Hawk shindig, and even though it was only for a minute and even though you were tremendously busy and tired, you took the time for one photograph with my son. It could’ve rained poop on us that day. Riley didn't care. He admired your physical abilities and it gave him something to work hard for. And you were accessible. Pretty sweet.

I hope I speak for all of the parents out there. Keep up the good work. We are grateful for your efforts and those of your staff.

Sarah


Kids: Be cool to Mom and Dad. They love you more than words can describe and are willing to do anything for you.

Parents: Be accepting of the things that your skateboarding children are doing that you think are ridiculous. I know that you don’t understand the purpose of explicative-ridden hip-hop, switch crooks, and why they always need new shoes, but that’s what they live for.

Thanks, Sarah. You made my week. My thoughts in this piece are dedicated to Lori and Ryan.

All of my love,

Ryan

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