Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Jinx or a Career Opportunity?

Earlier this week I received a comment on the blog from Chris at AquaCast, the company that is marketing a waterproof cast material to replace the now-discontinued Gore Pro-Cel.  On Tuesday, as I was driving Sk8terdude to camp, Chris posted a response to my reply.

Sk8terdude read the comment aloud from my iPhone:

Hopefully you won't need any casts soon and/or exhaust your supply of Gore Procel. However, I would like to send you a few rolls of AquaCast to see what you think. We can do all the testing in the world, but what really matters is the opinion of the patients and families who have the practical and extreme experience with water proof casts.

My immediate reaction was twofold - first, I wondered if it would be tempting fate to accept free casting material (although the fact that I pre-ordered the case of Pro-cel before they stopped selling it probably already jinxed us) and, second, I wondered how I could form an opinion about the casting material without actually having Sk8terdude break another bone.

But before I could say anything, Sk8terdude piped up with his own opinion.

"Mom, I have a great idea," an enthusiastic Sk8terdude exclaimed.  "I could ask Aquacast to sponsor me!"

Ah....sponsorship:  the elusive goal of all young skaters everywhere!

For those of you not in the know, many skate-related companies offer sponsorships to young skaters.  In exchange for free product (wheels, trucks, decks, shoes, even grip tape), skaters are supposed to promote the brands wherever they go.  Some companies send branded tee-shirts, stickers, and promotional material for their sponsored skaters to distribute.  Others just bargain that younger skaters will want to copy the sponsored skaters by buying the same products, etc.

I have to admit that my wallet loves the concept of Sk8terdude getting sponsored.  And I have often joked that our orthopedist's office ought to sponsor him (after all, we're practically building a college fund for the orthopedist's kids at the rate we're seeing him).

But I'm not sure how Sk8terdude thinks a sponsorship from a waterproof cast company would work...  Would he go from skatepark to skatepark, hoping someone would get hurt so he could whip out an ad for AquaCast and say something about the value of waterproof casts during recovery?  Would AquaCast design a line of skateboards advertising their products - complete with images of xrays?

Or maybe AquaCast could create a sponsorship group for all sports:  one skateboarder, one BMX biker, one lacrosse player, etc.  They could have an ad campaign with each of the athletes saying something like, "I work hard for my sport - but when I'm sidelined with an injury, I want a casting material that will work hard for me... AquaCast lets me continue my active lifestyle even while I'm recuperating."  Picture the person with cast doing some type of exercise to work a different muscle group than whatever is broken, followed by person drying off while getting out of the shower.  The voiceover says something about how sweat and showers don't ruin the cast, etc.

It's a funny image.  Or maybe it's really smart.  If skateboarding doesn't pan out for Sk8terdude, maybe he has a future career in advertising...  For now he just needs to enjoy summer camp - and not break anything while he's there!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Transferring the Gap

If you watch this video I posted of Sk8terdude back in April, you can see him"transfer the gap" at 2:23.

For those of you who don't know what that means, you will see him skate up a ramp, then ollie (jump) across the opening between the ramp and the half-pipe before he continues down the half-pipe in the opposite direction.

Here at home, this is the time of year when our entire family "transfers the gap" from the school year to summer camp.   This year, because the school year was extended ten extra days thanks to Hurricane Irene in August and the freak snowstorm in October, our "gap" was shortened to three days...and our transfer has been spectacularly less than graceful.  Full of fits and starts and sharpies and iron-on labels, it hasn't been an easy weekend.

School ended Friday for OlderBrother after a long week of exams and, technically, Sk8terdude still has school this Monday, but he won't be attending.  (Before you call the truant officer on me, it's a half-day "field day" carnival type of event - and the school charges a fee to cover part of the cost.  Not exactly a do-or-die learning experience!)  We spent Friday evening at the mall picking up the last few items on their lists, Saturday morning exchanging and/or returning what didn't fit and shopping for the things we forgot to buy or didn't find on Friday night, and Saturday afternoon labeling, creating lists, and packing...and we aren't finished.  (Oh, and did I mention laundry?)

Somehow we've also managed to squeeze in a last-minute trip to Rye Playland for some family fun and (tomorrow) a visit from grandparents, complete with belated birthday cake.

Sk8terdude will head to camp first thing Tuesday morning for 7 1/2 weeks of summer fun.  He's taking two skateboards (one to skate, one as a backup, just in case), his SPoT hat (which I hope he doesn't lose!), and this exceptionally cool, brand new iPath tee-shirt, which arrived today as a gift (full disclosure) from a family friend who works for the company.  (Many thanks, DP!)

Staying home (so they don't get ruined, and because he needs to grow into them just a little bit) are the awesome pair of iPath shoes that were also a gift.  Knowing what summer camp does for a growing boy, I'm sure they will be a perfect fit in September!
As soon as we return from driving Sk8terdude to camp we will pack OlderBrother into the car and head to the airport.  He will spend the next month in Israel traveling with a teen program.  Once he returns we will do a few loads of laundry, repack his things, and drive him up to camp (a few days late) for the second half of the summer.
Phew!  I'm already tired just thinking about it.

Sk8terdad and I are on our last climb up the end-of-school-year ramp (he still has to work a few professional days at school).  We are taking our own leap over the gap - sending OlderBrother overseas for four weeks (on a terrific program and with time to visit our extended family while he's there) and sending Sk8terdude for his first full summer at camp (instead of the half-summer he has gone in the past).

We look forward to an easy ride down the other side:  kid-free for almost all of the next 7 1/2 weeks, remembering what it was like in the beginning, before children, and looking ahead to what life might be like again someday, when they're both grown and gone.

Sk8terdude says the first time he transferred the gap he took a deep breath and hoped he wouldn't fall.

I'm feeling exactly the same way.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Casting Off

If you were paying careful attention, you might have noticed that Sk8terdude's most recent broken pinky (on his right hand) occurred one year to the day after his first broken pinky (on his left hand) during our otherwise-wonderful trip to Kona Skatepark last year.

This time, however, the orthopedist decided to sideline Sk8terdude for the duration of the cast, which made no sense to my very concrete child.  ("But he let me skate LAST YEAR...and it's exactly the same type of cast only this broken pinky isn't as bad as last time.  It's not FAIR!)

Well, it may not have been "fair" but it was the right choice.  To his credit, Sk8terdude tried advocating for himself, calling the orthopedist's office and asking for a return phone call from the doctor so he could discuss the decision, asking questions, and - more or less - accepting the response, eventually.  Many thanks to Dr. C for taking the time to phone, to have the conversation (with me, first, and then, with my permission, directly with Sk8terdude).  But, of course, Dr. C didn't have to live in our house for the weeks of no physical activity, which left us with one very cranky, bored, inventive child looking for ways to circumvent the restrictions.

Thankfully, we all survived.  The cast came off at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon and Sk8terdude made it to S.P.I.R.I.T. in time to make up one of his missed lessons later that day.

This morning the skies were overcast and the ground was wet, so we packed up and headed out to Peekskill for a day at Second Nature, where Sk8terdude is skating AND collecting on his belated (by a week) birthday present:  a new skateboard, trucks, wheels, etc.  The old set up will go to camp as his back-up board.  With seven weeks at sleepaway camp this summer, he's bound to need it sooner or later (hopefully later).

Happy Birthday, Sk8terdude!