I am going to admit this at the beginning: I’m not used to being treated like I matter. I’m used to being at the beck and call of my three boys. I’m used to driving them around, making sure their needs are met, and working every day to create the kind of boys that you wouldn’t mind having to sit next to on a five hour plane ride. So when I am treated like my needs and wants actually mean something to someone other than the LOML (Love of My Life -my husband) I’m a little out of my comfort zone. Okay -I said a little, not a lot, out of my comfort zone, because I got used to it really quickly this weekend.
I had the once-in-a-lifetime pleasure of meeting Tony Hawk and being one of the first people on the planet to play his new video game: Tony Hawk RIDE. That would have been enough. Activision could have set up the game in a tent at their offices in LA, driven me and my boys there in a yellow cab, fed me a granola bar and given me a glass of water. That would have been enough. I would have been satisfied with that because the game is fantastic and watching my boys play it was wonderful. Knowing that they got to be some of the coolest kids ever for an afternoon was priceless. (And playing it myself was really a blast. I’ll talk about it when I’m eighty.) I said it before, here it is again: that would have been enough for me. But I am not Tony Hawk, Inc. and Activision.
That would never have been enough for them and I am so happy it wasn’t. I traveled with some of the top bloggers in the nation and their children to play Tony Hawk RIDE at Tony Hawk, Inc. in Carlsbad, CA. We walked into the offices and hiked the stairs to the second floor. That’s where we got the best view in the house as Tony, other skaters and BMX bikers tore up the half-pipe that is in the offices. Yes, that’s right -Tony Hawk has a half-pipe in his office space. Of course he does! The skaters answered questions and performed requests for our kids. We screamed (okay, I screamed a lot -I’m NOT a quiet person) and our private show seemed to last forever -in a good way. They just kept skating, and jumping, and flying, and being super-human. I was in awe.
M3 had a hard time seeing, so one of the Moms promptly placed him on her shoulders. The grins on the childrens’ faces were beautiful. They looked up at these men like they were gods -and they are. Gods of skating and riding. I will admit I got a little nervous watching at first. I was worried someone would get hurt. It was the Mom in me coming out. But this anxiety was walking lock-step with the pure thrill of what I was witnessing: greatness. They were doing something I could never do. And they did it over, and over, and over. They made it look easy.
And then I couldn’t find M3, my youngest son. We were watching one of the most spectacular shows possible and he wandered off. I knew he couldn’t have gone far -this place was way too cool to leave it -but he wasn’t watching the show anymore. Then he came shrieking out of a doorway, “MOMMY! MOMMY! I’M RIDING A SKATEBOARD IN HERE! YOU GOTTA COME! YOU GOTTA SEE THIS! MOMMY! COME WATCH! COME WATCH!” (Okay, my kids aren’t quiet either. I told you, I’m working on it.) He was jumping up and down and lit up like a twenty-foot Christmas tree. He had gone into the room to play Tony Hawk RIDE.
As we experienced the game, Tony Hawk quietly entered the room to see how we were enjoying it. M3 went running up to him because he wanted to show Tony his shirt. We made it for him and it said, “I blew off my own birthday party to play Tony Hawk RIDE”. We made the shirt because it was true; we changed the date of his party so we could experience this weekend. We also made a shirt for Tony. It said, “M3 blew off his own birthday party to play Tony Hawk RIDE” on the front. On the back it said, “What will you do to get on board”. Tony laughed and promptly autographed M3’s t shirt. What a guy! He signed autographs for others, talked about the game, and demonstrated it for us. Again, we witnessed greatness. I wonder what it would be like to be so incredibly awesome at something that a video game is designed for you. I will never know. But I got to watch that someone play his own game. It was amazing and I will never forget it.
But wait, there’s more! After we all got our fill of the game, we were escorted downstairs to have DINNER IN THE HALF PIPE! I’m not kidding. They set up tables for us to eat dinner with Tony Freakin’ Hawk! M2 got to sit next to him and eat his sliders. M3 was told repeatedly to get off the ramps (sorry guys!), and M1 sat at a table filled with other kids who were having the time of their lives. Another boy had celebrated his birthday just a few days before this event so two birthday cakes were brought out and Tony joined in to sing Happy Birthday to both of the boys. Then he helped M3 blow out the candles. How can I ever top that? This superhero – a real live man who can fly – just gave my son a cake and casually leaned down to lend him a hand when he needed it. I got my kid some tennis shoes. I should just hang it up right now.
This was an amazing evening that was seamlessly orchestrated by professionals who are outstanding at their jobs. Every single individual at this event was kind, thoughtful, and most importantly, seemed to be having as much fun as their guests were. They get to work at a job that lets them do what they love. And we are all better off for it. They created an evening to remember, and a game that will fly off the shelves as soon as the doors open in stores on November 17. Great job everyone; and thanks for letting us come along for the RIDE.