Ozzie Ausband


It was very cold that winter. Pennsylvania was a barren land of gaunt trees, ice & frozen roads. The field’s stretched away to the horizon; rolling & empty. Farms shouldered the hillsides & cattle plodded- aimlessly-in mud & snow, nosing the hard earth for anything green. The earth slept and–like me– dreamt of springtime. I jumped puddles & slush to cross the road and get to the mailbox. My breath hung in the air. The cold bit at my lungs. We lived out on a rural road & it was that time of the month when ‘Skateboarder’ magazine arrived in my dreary corner of the world.

I had a ritual. I would feel my heart pound, as I saw it inside the mailbox. I fingered its glossy edges & peered intently at the cover. I saw the image, the stickers on the board and the riders helmet. I saw the skaters style, the trick, the grab, the pool, its tiles and coping. I looked at everything. I was like a scientist in a white sterile laboratory. Scrutiny was my occupation & ‘Skateboarder’ my lab manual. My ritual was followed monthly. I would run into the house, tripping over my own wet sneakers. Grabbing a quick snack, I would careen down the hallway & take the stairs two-at-a-time in my haste.

I would hibernate behind my big wooden door & open the cover. I read the advertisements. I read the editor comments, letters to the magazine & small print within the staff listings. When I say that I read every word, I mean it. ‘Skateboarder’ was the biblical fountain from which I drank. It was where I went to drink &  quench the thirst in my soul. I care little of the opinion of those out there thinking I am a kook.

Think what you will. I have skated ramps, pools & vert for over 35 years of my life & probably will continue doing so for awhile longer. I know in my heart that there are those out there, just like me. There are those of you out there….that remember. Do you? Thanks to Craig Fineman (R.I.P.) for the image. Skate & remember what it was like to be a kid, before the weed, booze, girls & egos. Remember- skating, rolling & loving your skateboard. -Ozzie