Sunday, April 30, 2017

Skateboard Sports Hall of Fame Speech Judi Oyama Class of 2017

Last nights Aptos High Sports Hall of Fame Dinner at Seascape was awesome. I am proud to be inducted with a fellow athletes from Aptos. I was the oldest class of 1977. It was great seeing coaches Jame Townsend and Lynch. At the end of the night we talked about Dave Devine. I thanked him in my speech and they said it brought great memories. We got a great plaque, award, lifetime pass to all Mariners events and a t-shirt. Big thanks to all that helped put it on and to Mark Dorfman, the Athletic Director.

Thank you to my BFF skate buddy John Ravitch for writing my retrospective. We have been skating together for the past 15 years. We skated back in the day but didn't know each other until we met in Hood River while I was walking to the race. I'm so grateful we met and stay friends. I am even more motivated now to try and go to Worlds in Canada in September. Thanks everyone that came up and talked to me as well. It was nice to see old friends and meet new ones as well.

Here is my speech.

For the record I’m more nervous public speaking then launching myself off a 9 foot ramp. I was super stoked to get this award and then stressed about having to get up in front of everyone and speak. I think awarding a skateboarder into their Sports Hall of Fame may be a first for any High School Sports program and a woman on top of that even better. Thank you! Congrats to Aptos High for being ahead of other programs by recognizing big wave riders Tyler Fox and Peter Mel, extreme skiers like Cody Townsend (who’s dad Jamie was my English Teacher) and many other athletes that do sports that aren’t usually a mainstream sport. I am honored to receive this recognition for a sport that has always been considered renegade. Skaters have a reputation for being bad but we’re not all bad. I have been skateboarding for over 44 years. I learned to skate when I was 13 with my brother Cary. We bought a board together for $24.95 and I never stopped skating. Cary couldn’t be here tonight because it’s his night to care take my mom and her husband we take turns with other family members. I learned how to skate the same ages my parents were in the Japanese Internment Camps. I reflect all the time that they didn’t have the same childhood I had so take advantage of every opportunity that I can. I’ve kept skateboarding because I love to skate. NO, I can’t do an ollie which a lot of the boys ask my son Ryan. I did learn to tail drop at the skatepark on my 50th birthday. I don’t ride pools or parks as well as I did before but that adrenaline I feed off of slalom racing on the other hand which is faster than in the past because the equipment has improved. I keep thinking I’m going to stop but then I go to a race and I come back energized and stoked again. I know if I stop I’ll never start again. I have to thank my dad for taking me to the skateparks up and down the coast while he went golfing. It was a perfect combo for the both of us. He still golfs here regularly. Thank you to my family for letting me go skate on the weekends and keep racing, and to many of my friends that probably get tired of my talking about skateboarding.

A few years ago at the World Championships in Texas they had two start ramps a regular 4 foot and a 9 foot that they called the BAR which stood for Big Ass Ramp. I went up to the top via a ladder it was shaky, creaky and I looked down and said hell no and climbed back down. But when we started racing and there were two younger women one from Russia and Latvia, both the fastest in their countries. I knew I had to get back up on the ramp. My teammate who is 10 years younger and no kids was in first place, I wanted second. I climbed up the ramp that was tilted at a forward angle so when you dropped in you couldn’t see part of the ramp just the pavement. I just looked ahead and went for it and took two seconds off my time and that got me second place. The ramp, not the race, was my accomplishment. One of the ladies came up to me after the race and said you are crazy. I’m not sure if I’m crazy but I know I will always challenge myself.

I always encourage women and girls on the sidelines that are watching their husbands, boyfriends or brothers skateboarding to try it. There is no reason to be a spectator. Get out there and do it whatever it is. I don’t want to have any regrets for not trying something. Many people don’t have the opportunity we to have to do all types of challenging and fun sports. Thank you for recognizing people that have a passion for a non conventional sport like skateboarding.


Aptos High Hall of Fame Class of 2017 >> The latest Hall of Fame class for Aptos High will be celebrated with a special ceremonies and awards banquet on Saturday at Seascape Golf Club. The class includes Judi Oyama (Class of 1977), Tracy Mitchell (Class of 1980) and Mike Schiro (Class of 1991), while Steve Bunner (Class of 1980) will be inducted as an honorary member. The Class of 2017 will also include K.C. Fox (2005), Casey Nevitt (2003), Bobby Powers (2000), Kelly Stratton (1990) and Bryan Van Meter (2004).

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