Ryan Sheckler is an amazing skateboarder. When you watch him skate, you feel like you are witnessing something miraculous. The way that he lands his tricks (complete with his confident air and bright smile) are absolutely infectious. If you’ve seen him in action, then you know that there is always someone nearby that is cheering him on as only a mother could….Gretchen Sheckler.
I was lucky enough to talk with Gretchen and learn all about Sheckler Foundation and I am in awe. It’s not enough to be talented and adored, because Gretchen has instilled lifelong values in her son. When you succeed, you need to remember to give back. This is a lesson that I hope to embed in my young brood because it teaches you that you are a part of something much bigger than yourself.
Eva: What advice do you have for parents of kids that want to take up skateboarding?
Gretchen: It’s important to support whatever activity your kids are involved in. Educate yourself on the safety issues. It builds confidence when children feel their parents are interested in their activities.
Eva: When did you first realize that Ryan had special talents?
Gretchen: We realized Ryan had special talents when he was around 6 years of age, skating with Tony Hawk and Shawn White at the YMCA in Encinitas.
Eva: Many of us that watched Life of Ryan remember your struggles as both manager and mother. What would your advice be to other skate parents that may find themselves in the same shoes?
Gretchen: It’s really important to set boundaries. Being a managing mother is definitely not for everyone. It’s like wearing 2 hats and it’s important to know which one you’re wearing in all circumstances. When you wear both at the same time it can blur the lines. Often times, Ryan calls me Gretchen when he’s talking about management issues and Mom the rest of the time.
Eva: Have you ever gotten on a board?
Gretchen: Yes, briefly when Ryan just started to skate. I was curious more than anything. Boy, he sure makes it look easy!
Eva: Where do you get all of your energy raising all those boys??
Gretchen: Haha…I guess it’s genetic. I don’t really ever think about it, but my family and friends do comment on my energy level. I try to eat healthy, exercise and get plenty of rest. It seems to work for me.
Gretchen is CEO of Sheckler Foundation. The mission is clear; Sheckler Foundation reaches out to empower and directly affect children and injured action sports athletes. Their motto is “Be the Change.” They are currently raising money to build a much needed skate park on a Native American reservation. I urge you to get involved. Let’s make Mama Sheckler Proud.