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By REBECCA SPARROW

Unless you’re a teenager or Avril Lavigne, it’s entirely possible you have no clue who I’m talking about. Tony Hawk is a 44-year-old professional skateboarder. He’s famous for being the first man to land a 900-degree aerial spin on a skateboard (I have no idea what that actually means but it sounds impressive.) He’s like the Godfather of modern skating and skateparks. There are Playstation games about him. Rides at themeparks.

So in a nutshell: Hawk is cool. Or he was. Until he posted a photo of himself and his four-year-old daughter Kadence – skateboarding in a concrete bowl without helmets.

Screen Shot 2012 12 19 at 11.23.29 AM Merry Christmas Tony Hawk. The world thinks youre a lousy parent.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

Hawk posts a photo on Instagram and says: “Updated frontside fling photo courtesy of @msk8blake. She is learning to skate on her own, so we might not be doing this much longer.”

The world replies: “You’re a f*cknuckle. Put a helmet on her, you douche”. Okay I’m paraphrasing but you get the gist.

Nothing like a public smackdown in the week leading up to Christmas!
Pouring gasoline onto the blaze, Hawk fought back and posted a second helmet-less pic of his daughter skateboarding and said “For those that say I endanger my child: it’s more likely that you will fall while walking on the sidewalk than I will while skating with my daughter.”
Screen Shot 2012 12 19 at 11.25.06 AM Merry Christmas Tony Hawk. The world thinks youre a lousy parent.
Rightio.
You know what this reminds me of?   The Steve Irwin/Baby Bob/Crocodile Dangling incident of 2004 when Irwin took his four-week-old son into a crocodile enclosure and craddled him under one arm while he dangled a piece of raw chicken meat in front of a four-metre croc.

steve+irwin+crocodile1 380x338 Merry Christmas Tony Hawk. The world thinks youre a lousy parent.To gasps from his audience, Steve Irwin cradled one-month-old Robert under one arm while dangling a piece of chicken from the other in front of a four metre (13 foot) crocodile.Once the meat was snapped up, Mr Irwin turned to his son and said: “Good boy, Bob”.

The crocodile expert defended his act, which included his American wife Terri carrying Robert into the crocodile enclosure.
He said he was in control the whole time and the baby was never in danger.

“If I could have my time again I would probably do things differently,” he admitted. “But I would be considered a bad parent if I didn’t teach my children to be croc-savvy.” Mrs Irwin said her baby enjoyed the experience.

To say Irwin received a backlash is an understatement. He was reportedly devastated by the furore his actions caused.

So here we have two experts in their fields breaking the rules the rest of us live by.  Irwin – one of the greatest wildlife handlers the world had seen – had his children growing up around the types of animals that could chew them up for breakfast.  Hawk – legendary skater and a man who has his own 45 sq m skate park in his backyard – allowed his daughter to skate with him without protection.

So do these experts know what they’re doing?  Or are they – in an attempt to show off – putting the lives of their children at risk?

Actually there’s a third question to ask … What business is it of ours either way?

And I say that with all sincerity.

Maybe we should respect their judgement and butt out? Maybe they have the expertise to judge a situation in a way that we can’t.

Should Tony Hawk’s daughter have been wearing a helmet?   I don’t know. I WASN’T THERE.  But what I do know is that I’d hate for any of you to follow me around for 24 hours and notice some of the screw ups and blunders I make with my kids. Yesterday I found my 10-month-old in the bathroom about to lick the toilet brush.

Being outraged by the actions of other parents is seductive – mostly because it allows us to briefly revel in the notion there are worse parents out there than us.  So I see photos of Tony Hawk’s daughter skating with no helmet and I get to think, “You know I may have left my 10 month old baby unsupervised and allowed him to come close to licking GOD KNOWS WHAT off a toilet brush but I can tell you right now that when he goes skating, he wears a a damn helmet.”

Ummmmmm.

So all I’m going to say to Tony Hawk is “Yo, yo, wassup dawg? Have a merry Christmas”.

And my gift to you, Tony? I’m going to mind my own business.

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