June 2013 “Off Topic” Post – Innoskate and Meeting My Childhood Heroes

Tony Hawk at Innoskate

I openly admit that this post has nothing to do with the outdoors.  There are no interesting backwoods stories or tips and ideas to help you smooth it in the wild.  However, today was such a monumental day for me that I decided to share it with the readers of SmoothingIt.com.

About a week ago, my wife explained to me that Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen were going to be at the National Museum of American History – Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC for an event called Innoskate.  The entire weekend was to be filled with skateboarding events (watching the Bones Brigade Documentary, Tony donating his first skateboard to the Smithsonian, Danny Way‘s Documentary Waiting for Lightning, several demo skates, and a few panels about innovation and skateboarding.)

IMG_7266Although I have little love for visiting the city, I couldn’t resist taking my family to see this event.  We arrived at the Federal Triangle via Metro Rail and were immediately greeted with scorching hot sunshine.  We made our way through several “important” buildings and reached the Smithsonian where we were directed towards the demo by a lady exclaiming “it’s not everyday that there is a ramp beside the Smithsonian.  Can you believe it?”  When we reached the demo ramp, we watched the skaters for about half an hour before the big event.

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Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen discussing innovation and skateboarding

Tony Hawk made his way from the Smithsonian to the ramp followed closely by Rodney Mullen.  They signed a few autographs and waited for the demo to finish before doing a few interviews and then discussing innovation and skateboarding.  Rodney answered questions as only Rodney can – full of spontaneous philosophy about creativity, imagination and how skateboarding influenced his life.

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Me Beside the Legend – Mr. Tony Hawk

After the end of the discussion, Tony made his way back towards the Smithsonian.  I moved towards him and asked for an autograph.  He reluctantly agreed “If you can walk with me, yeah.”  We reached the entrance to the Smithsonian and he signed my autograph book and begrudgingly honored the rest of the requests.  To Tony’s credit, it was hot – damn hot.  He’d been sitting on a black ramp for over an hour and probably needed a break from the heat – at least that’s what I’m telling myself.  I’d hate to think that he had become a business man who had little concern for his fans.

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Rodney Mullen Catering to One of his Biggest Fans – Me

Finally, Rodney made his way towards our side of the audience.  I asked him for an autograph and he accepted with a genuine smile.  He took time to speak with nearly every person there.  He demonstrated a level of class that I’ve yet to see from a celebrity (of any genre).

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The Godfather of Street Skating
Rodney Mullen

I’m nearly thirty six years old and haven’t done any real skateboarding in years (it hurts a lot more when I fall now!)  I don’t listen to “skate rock” any more and I don’t spend my days and nights watching skateboard videos.  I’m a grown man and have to limit my hobbies to some degree.  But for a few hours today, I was that excited 12 year old getting to meet a few of my heroes.  Today was a good day.

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8 thoughts on “June 2013 “Off Topic” Post – Innoskate and Meeting My Childhood Heroes

      • Nice! I called one of my old skating buddies last night to tell him about the day I had. It’s funny that he and I both mentioned the beatings that our shins took. It seems that it’s a common theme.

      • Believe it or not, some areas of my shins are still tender. I walked into a trailer hitch a few weeks ago and it floored me. Ah, the good old days. On the really hot and dry summer evenings, the city air has an interesting smell that causes a forced reminder of my younger years.

      • They were the good old days! I loved skating and the lifestyle associated with it. Those years made a huge impact on my entire life. It’s funny, my wife met me in 8th grade when I was a skater and that’s when she first took notice of me. So it was nice that we got to enjoy yesterday’s events together.

        Last summer I was showing my kids a few stationary tricks. I missed a kick-flip and the deck swung around and hit me in the shin. It hurts so much more now than it did then!

  1. Tony really took skating mainstream, but Rodney Mullen is a God. He could, and probably still can, do magical things on a skateboard. And, he is brilliant to go with it. I have been an Alva junkie for years and still skate an Alva board. I hope that I can get into the new Boy Scout camp outside of Fayetteville to skate the new park they built there for the Jamboree this summer.

    • Well said. And Rodney is still amazing. I’ve seen some recent vids of him skating and he’s still unbelievable. I hadn’t even heard about the new skate park in Fayetteville. I’d like to check it out. But if I ever take enough interest to get back into it, there are a bunch of parks all around me – the best one I’ve ever seen is only about a half-hour from here.

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