Eddy visits children at a school in Thailand.
June 7, 2011
I’m often asked if I was born with skates on my feet. I must have a dozen different answers, most of them wisecracks, but it’s no joke that I didn’t start skating until I was 20, more than half my lifetime ago.
Recently I was completely flummoxed by a question I'd never been asked before. "Do you wear wheel shoes because you don't know how to walk?"
Normally, a silly question gets a sarcastic answer, but this time a pair of searching eyes looked up at me innocently. This little Thai girl, like most all of her schoolmates, had never laid eyes on a foreigner before. She seriously believed that all foreigners had never learned to walk, only to skate.
Talk about a paradigm shift! I thought I had a different window to the world than most, but after visiting this school with my Skate Farm Thailand skate mates, all I wanted was to see life through the eyes of this little girl. I had never before come face to face with pure innocence, allowing me to recapture some of my own.
Andy from Australia dubbed every outing in Thailand a "hero skate," because he felt so good everytime everyone cheered him on, regardless of his skating speed or ability. People in cars, on tractors, working in the fields, or simply from the side of the road made him feel genuinely special every time he went by.
That day at school in Thailand was no exception. Brian, Nadine, Eric, and Casey did a demonstration in the schoolyard and were later mobbed by kids wanting autographs. The teachers were grateful to have an instructive diversion, the kids were ecstatic to meet foreign friends, and we skaters were deeply touched that we were able to bring joy to others with something we're all so passionate about.
Now to get some skates on these children's feet so they can forget what it was ever like to walk to school ...