Saving the World One Teen at a Time - Column on Parenting Tweens and Teens

Skateboarding Is Not A Crime.

by Kristy Campbell


I’ve never given much thought to the sport of skateboarding. In fact, I don’t really think I’ve ever considered skateboarding to be a sport. But my whole perception about skateboarding recently changed when I watched Tony Hawk and his buddies take to the half-pipe. Watching men my age hurl themselves through space completing what looked like near-death feats on skateboards certainly caught my attention. Watching them fall a couple of times and not cry really made me stop and focus.


I was fortunate to see a Tony Hawk skate because his new RIDE video game is being released this November and my son and I were invited to his corporate offices to demo the game and give our feedback. (So no one is thinking that I’m some impossibly uber-hip tween mom, when I first got the email, I wondered why Tony Robbins was doing a video game. I knew the email said “Hawk” but I visualized “Robbins.” A video game about motivational speaking didn’t sound like a whole lot of fun to me, let alone my 9-year old son.)


When I yelled to my son in the other room: “Hey, Mike, have you ever heard of some guy named Tony Hawk?” he came flying into my office to announce that Tony Hawk is only the most awesome skateboarder on the planet.


“Why, Mom?” His out-of-breath excitement at my question was palpable, and so I began the journey into the world of skateboarding.


First lesson: Tony Hawk is not only the most awesome skateboarder on the planet, but he is also one of the most philanthropic. He has a non-profit foundation with a mission to build skateparks in low-income neighborhoods in order to give disadvantaged kids a place to skate, as well as to help them develop self-esteem with each new trick they learn. To date, he has given over $2, 300,000 to non-profit groups and has helped to build over 390 skateparks throughout the US.


Second lesson: Tony Hawk is no slacker. I suppose I’ve always dismissed skateboarding because the kids always look so…I don’t know…slacking. It seems like they wouldn’t get out of bed if the law didn’t require them to be at school a couple of days a week. However, Hawk has kept himself busy and managed to build a small empire. He has his own line of clothing, skateboards, footwear, bedding, bikes, video games, and even vitamins.


Sooooo, have you gotten on the skateboard? :-) You know, I just saw a video of Jackie Speier (Congresswoman from No. California) skateboarding through the halls of Congress with Steve Colbert. If she can do it, how about you?