The first big shakeup happened right around my 13th birthday, when, under the spell of some classmates who looked like they were having the best time in the world, I started skateboarding. At that point, I think I was still holding out hope that I'd one day ascend to a spot on the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team (more on that shortly), but had already been disabused of that idea after playing tournament games against kids who, though they were obviously more skilled than me, had failed tryouts for the National Under-14 team. To that point, all I'd done outside of school was play soccer and baseball, so to have something else come along when I was feeling insecure and uncertain about where I stood in the athletic world, something as fun and intensely personal as skateboarding, dealt sports a major blow in my mind. Things just looked differently after that. Team politics, overbearing coaches, getting up early on Saturday to go play travel league games, cardio conditioning sessions, all of these became very distasteful to me after I picked up a skateboard. I still played sports on through my first year of college, when a feud with my soccer coach ended my competitive athletic career, but, as I said, my views had been altered.