"I'd blow off school to go skate"
Guy' story, part 1/3
(1/3) “I’d blow off school to go skate. My dream was to get good enough to go Pro. When we moved to California, I joined Skatelab. Many of those kids were homeschooled and spent their time skating. They were all much better than me. I’d bring up homeschooling with my parents, but they would just laugh. In my Mom’s mind, she’d have to teach me. She worried that it would take up her time and that I wouldn’t get a good education.
I kept asking my parents, ‘How can I get really good at skating if I have to focus on things I don’t care about?’ and, ‘Didn’t you ever have a dream?’ I wanted to do this more than anything else. I felt I had potential. They saw it too.
Finally, they agreed. It helped that I had found options that didn’t require effort on their part. I started independent study at Oak Park. Every week, I got a package of material to work on. If I wanted to keep skating, I had to keep up with my schoolwork. I grew to enjoy school more, due to electives like art history, cooking, and music. My grades went up.
My skating improved a lot, all due to practice. I’d go downtown and skate at the parks where the Pros were. The way to progress in this world is to film street spots called parts. You send them to companies via Instagram or email. At first, you’re Flow: you get free stuff, like boards, clothes, or shoes. It’s publicity for them. Then you’re Amateur, which means you join their skate team, get some coverage, and maybe get paid for photos that are published. Then there’s Pro. Your name goes on a board, you have your own shoe model, you get royalties. But to go Pro, you need a big following.
I graduated in 2019. I was skating a lot, but I wasn’t even Flow yet. At times I’d get down on myself that it wasn’t happening fast enough. I debated how I would know if I wasn’t succeeding: I think it would be if I were doing the same thing all the time. I’d never call it quits though. I’d keep trying to find ways to make a living in the industry: photography, video editing, warehouse work, gear sales, or team management.
But I haven’t had to look at those options yet. That summer, I filmed some parts and sent them to the industry. And I started getting interest.”
How do you know if you are succeeding? Share in comments!
Stay tuned for part 2 later this week.