Nonbinary professional skateboarder Baker shares their passion for skating, their experience in an industry with little support for those who are not White cisgender men, and how they reclaimed their identity and career on their own terms.
As a child, Baker, who is White, fell in love with skateboarding while watching their foster brothers on a backyard ramp. That thrill grew when they got their first board. Unfortunately, as their career took off with sponsorships and international competitions, Baker learned the difference between skateboarding for pleasure and the business side of the sport, as their corporate sponsors tried to control and define their image. Years after those companies tossed them aside, Baker found their way back, determined to make space for more people to express themselves freely through skating. In this short memoir, Baker tells a story that weaves together their discovery of their gender identity with their experiences in the professional skating world. Their casual language creates a natural flow, like an intimate conversation with a close friend. Relationships with supportive family and friends—particularly their mother, who encouraged them to focus on passion, not winning—play a significant role in Baker’s memories. They provide honest critiques of the exploitation and inequity within the skating industry while emphasizing the joy of community and the work done by skaters from some underrepresented groups. Ultimately, Baker upholds the importance of remaining true to oneself while pursuing a dream.
Hopeful and determined.(Memoir. 13-18)