During the course of this journey, many people told us, “You should write a book!” I’m glad to say that as of December 2010, the book is 50% complete, and I’m finishing the manuscript while searching for a writer’s agent and/or publisher. Please, help if you can. Here’s a sample of the book:
50skatekid : Prologue
“When is it due?” asked my wife, Jessica.
“Monday,” our son muttered.
“How long have you known about it?”
“I don’t know.” The four page assignment sheet hung from our refrigerator, where it had been for six weeks. In a dark New Hampshire classroom along with forty-nine others, Logan’s tri-fold poster on North Dakota rested, incomplete. The three of us exchanged looks over the cooling remains of Saturday’s dinner, equally weary of this familiar scene. How did it get this bad?
Three years earlier, in second grade, Logan was diagnosed with convergence disorder – his eyes weren’t focusing on exactly the same point. This condition makes reading more difficult, but it’s subtle enough to go undiagnosed in many kids, who assume that books are just printed with blurry letters. A year of weekly sessions at a developmental optometrist (weightlifting for the eyes) recalibrated Logan’s vision, but his neurological processes remained stuck in second gear. As his peers’ reading fluency skyrocketed, Logan’s barely increased, and his self-esteem sank.
By fifth grade, his reading disability – and his anxiety over it – pulled him into an academic nosedive. Each day, instead of advancing toward the next educational checkpoint, he hid below the radar, slumping into invisibility during class, “forgetting” his assignments. After stepping off the school bus, he was overwhelmed by homework and nightly memorization drills for the impossible weekly spelling tests. Despite a genuine desire to please his teachers and parents, his dedication could barely withstand his mounting discouragement. Jessica and I worried that Logan would eventually abandon all academic ambition in favor of classroom comedy, sports, and girls – routes to personal fulfillment that successfully detour the library, but rarely lead to college.
Skateboarding served as his positive outlet. Every weekend at the park, he rode the ramps and rails, intuitively converting gravity into motion, imagining himself among the heroes of his Tony Hawk Ridevideo game, alongside Ryan Sheckler, Rodney Mullen, and Mike Vallely. He studied their tricks and worked to master those at his novice level: ollie, nollie, indy, grind, pop-shove-it. He dreamed of getting sponsored and going pro, someday.
On this particular evening in May, we improvised a patchwork solution to the missing homework, but Logan complained, “It’s so stupid, anyway. I’d learn so much more by just going to North Dakota.”
“Why is it stupid?” Jessica probed.
“You have to look everything up and write it down, and they never give you enough time, and my writing is so messy, I always have to do it over.” His voice cracked. “I’d rather just go skateboarding but I know I can’t.”
Instead of the usual pep talk, Jessica blurted out, “What if you went skateboarding … in North Dakota! What if you went skateboarding in all 50 states?”
“Yeah, right. Like that will ever happen,” Logan replied, not realizing that his life had just jumped the rails.