Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cross-Country Skateboarding

By Brian Clifford

Joseph D’auria III, age 20, of Sparkill, NY made the decision last winter to pack up and leave Rockland County for warmer weather. He and his two friends, all skateboarders, packed his Crown Victoria and drove west. They drove west until they couldn’t drive any further and ended up in Anaheim, CA to pursue their dreams of becoming sponsored skateboarders.

Joey has been skateboarding since his neighbor gave him a skateboard at the age of 7, and hasn’t stopped since. He said, “It’s just something I’ve always done and I love doing so I saved up my money and left the cold to go do it in California.”

His mother remarked, “Joey was always an ambitious kid growing up, he was always willing to take the risks to try new tricks and was never discouraged even if it got him injured. It was no surprise when he came in and told us he saved enough money to move to the west coast and pursue his dream.”

They hit the road on a Sunday morning and started driving west. Not only was this a chance for Joey to go pursue his dreams, it was also a chance for him to see the country. He said, “I think everyone should drive across the country at some point in their life. Growing up in the Northeast you only get a taste of what America really looks like. But once you drive through all the small towns in different states and see how different the landscapes can be you really start to understand how great this country truly is.”

He continued to tell me about how they hit the road and they drove as long as they were able to focus on the road and only stopped when they absolutely had to, because they were just so eager get to their destination.

When they finally got there, he was overcome with a sense of home. He said, “I felt like I was supposed to be there, everything about it, the weather, the people, just the way the city looked. I was excited.” He moved in with a friend who had been living in Anaheim for two weeks before Joey and his friends had gotten there. He flew cross country, while the other three decided to make the trek in the car. The next day he would start his new lifestyle pursuing his dream to get sponsored.

They awoke early and hopped in the Crown Victoria to go to LA to begin skating the parks in hopes of being spotted by a scout. They did this almost every day and they made a lot of different connections along the way. He talked to the scouts from various sponsored teams and was able to get his name to them and show them his talents.

Unfortunately for Joey, it just wasn’t his time yet to get sponsored during this time.

Although his efforts did not end with a sponsorship and a new life, he did not get discouraged. He reflects on this trip to the coast as a huge learning experience. He not only learned a lot about himself as a skater, but also about himself as a person. “I took a chance; I saved my money and moved out for the winter. I knew it was a risk but it was something I needed to do for myself. I love California and yes I plan to go back as soon as I can.”

Currently, he is back working at a golf course in Sparkill, NY, saving up his money until he can make the long journey again. He really wants to go back next winter.

“I hate the cold, I hate not being able to skate because there is snow on the ground and it isn’t as easy to find places indoor worth skating. I just want to go back to California so I can skate all year long. Plus it’s just a different atmosphere there, the people are more relaxed and so is the lifestyle. I can’t wait to make the next trip,” he said.

He is still skating in New York, and taking all of his days off to go to the city to skate around and still has the chance to get sponsored. Continuing to be optimistic and relentless in his efforts, I believe we may see him sponsored soon enough. This is his passion and he is making it work. I think everyone can take a lesson from his ambition and attitude towards fighting for his dream.

Brian Clifford is a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas College majoring in Communications. "I have an internship with the Rockland Boulders this summer doing film work for some of the home games. I also am the afternoon starter at Rockland Country Club a few weekdays and weekends. I will be graduating in December from St. Thomas and hope to find a job in the field of TV production."

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