|ESPN.com: Skateboarding||[Print without images]|
|Gary Rogers with Guy Mariano at the Pretty Sweet premiere.|
As the old saying goes: dreams are like bellybuttons, everybody has one. Well, that's not actually how the saying goes, but you get the idea. Everybody dreams about something.
It could be an all-expense paid 5-night vacation to a golf resort in Puerto Rico, a $500 gift certificate to Target/Williams Sonoma, or climbing Mt. Everest in the nude.
But, it is a very rare sort of person who dares to live their dreams in waking hours, act out their fantasies, gets serious about their bucket list.
Count Gary Rogers among the lucky few.
Last Friday night Rogers was able to realize his dream with a specificity that most of us can, well, only dream of.
The 21-year-old San Leandro, Calif. resident attended the eagerly anticipated "Pretty Sweet" video premiere at Los Angeles's landmark Orpheum theatre, the (skateboarding) event of the season. But, not only that, Mr. Rogers's idols -- professional skateboarders like Guy Mariano, Shane O' Neill and Marc Johnson -- greeted him like an old friend, as he floated on air and floated into the chic screening on a tide of growing internet celebrity.
"Yo Gary!... Wassup Gary?... Hey it's Gary Rogers!...," exclaimed eminent skaters like Mike Mo Capaldi.
(This is the part where you should mentally cue the Mötley Crüe song "Home Sweet Home" which begins with the words, "You know I'm a dreamer...")
As most in the Orpheum audience knew, Rogers is the host of Skateline, the RIDE channel's online television show; a satirical newscaster/intrepid reporter with a penchant for somber suits and an iridescent personality that has, in short order, charmed the very world whose pretensions he fearlessly pricks every Tuesday.
The premiere was also something of a professional debut for Rogers, who had studied the industry from afar but, until Friday, never encountered it in the flesh. (During ESPN.com's first interview with Rogers this summer, he made a Hail Mary-request that ESPN.com fly him, and a group of his friends, to the X Games. After due consideration this request was politely declined.)
In just a few months Skateline has become essential viewing for industry-insiders as his summons to the elite soiree underscored. (There's perhaps a shared sense that Gary Rogers, for all his unsparing comedy, is performing a valuable public service for the skateboarding community. Mainly, preserving an irreverence that once came more naturally to it.)
Rogers had been taken completely surprised by the invitation, and had to reschedule a wisdom tooth removal in order to attend the premiere with co-creator and Metro shop owner Joel Jutagir.
"Wow, 'Pretty Sweet' was, Oh God," a mildly sleepy, but still exhilarated Rogers said, when reached for comment by phone at 10:15 Monday morning by ESPN.com. "Not only was it filmed amazingly but the context, and the way they did everything, was perfect ... Guy [Mariano] had my most favorite part of all of my life. His part did something for skateboarding that bumps him to legendary. I actually had a couple of conversations with him. Guy is one of the most humble dudes I have ever met in my life. Man. He's too chill for words."
Not faint praise coming from the more than occasionally snarky host, who attended the premiere sans his trademark suit.
"I didn't wear the suit because we might have gone skating or something," explained Rogers. "I probably should start wearing that thing more, actually."
"That was, like, the greatest experience of my life," Rogers said. "I never got to experience something that amazing in my life. It made my asthma act up."
"It felt to me like we were there for a big part of skateboarding history," added Jutagir. "It was like being invited for a ride-along on Apollo 11 for the first lunar landing."
"I was walking back and forth, shaking when I found out we got to go," said Rogers.
Still, Rogers is making a career out of making fun of pro skaters/the entire skateboard industry. Was it awkward coming face-to-face with his comedic targets? Does he worry about losing his reportorial objectivity?
The reactions, says Rogers, have all been pretty sweet.
"I think those guys understand it's a show," he said. "They know that I do respect them for what they do. It doesn't really take us off our game. But I was a little nervous at the premiere. I thought Lizard King was not chill. That was the only thing I was nervous about. And I met Lizard King and dude was so cool. I don't want him to not be stoked on what I'm doing.""It was definitely," said Rogers, "a dream come true."