Ozzie Ausband


Don Hoffman,  Jim Goodrich, Bill and Stan Sharp watch Doug Schneider at the  Spring Valley contest in 1978.
It was very cold that winter. Pennsylvania was a barren land of gaunt trees, ice and frozen roads. The fields stretched away to the horizon… rolling and empty. Farms shouldered the hillsides and cattle plodded aimlessly in mud and snow. They nosed the hard earth for anything green. The earth slept and– like me – dreamt of springtime. I jumped puddles and 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 and 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 and 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 blue tiles and coping. I looked at everything. I was like a scientist in a white sterile laboratory. Scrutiny was my occupation and 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 and take the stairs two-at-a-time in my haste.

I would hibernate behind my big wooden door and open the cover. I read the advertisements. I read the editor comments, letters to the magazine and 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 and 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 and vert for over 39 years of my life and probably will continue doing so until it is an impossibilty. 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 and remember what it was like to be a kid, before the weed, booze, girls and egos. Remember skating, rolling and loving your skateboard.   - Ozzie