Chapter 12. GIVING BACK: Family, friends, Regis, and a very smart fifth-grader help me build a charity



To: <>

Subject: your #1 fan and i mean it

Dear Tony Hawk,

I keep asking my dad if he can build me a little skatepark, but he's always like, "I'm too busy." There is a big skatepark here but there are a lot of big kids who swear and knock me over. So if you have any extra time, could you come to my house and build one with me?

I live in just off of on Get to and turn right on to and then turn left on then left on and its the house to your right. Got all that? Now Pleeeeeeeeeeeese come. I need to sk8 or I will die.

In 2001, I got invited to do a demo at the grand opening of a public skatepark near Chicago. The community that invited me was affluent—they could afford to fly in a celebrity skater from California as part of their opening-day fanfare. I arrived the day before the big event, and they asked if I wanted to ride the park that afternoon, alone. I jumped at the chance, figuring I'd give it a test run before I skated the place in front of a crowd.

The park, unfortunately, was a joke—a nonsensical arrangement of poorly constructed obstacles. There was no sense of flow: A set of stairs abutted a bank, so if you ollied down the stairs, you'd run into the bank, and if you rode down the bank, you'd slam into the stairs. The ledges were six inches high instead of the standard two feet. And there was a bizarre, narrow, winding sidewalk with tiny unrideable ...

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