Little Big Projects

Just about any teenage kid would be mortified—or at least a bit surprised—to see their 42-year-old father drop into the bowl at their favorite local skate park.

Not Aaron Cookerly—his old man Tedd drove him there.

In a month where we celebrate unique parent-child projects, the Cookerlys might take home the title. While other dads are out in the backyard hosting batting practice, or going over the nuances of the pick-and-roll, Aaron and Tedd are sliding down courthouse railings. It’s created not only a bond for Tedd, who like his son tried to go the traditional sports route, but also an idendity for Aaron apart from his peers.

“With organized sports, there’s a coach, and a team, and as my son would point out, everyone has the same uniform—the same goal,” Tedd says. “Individual thought and identity is not there.”

It’s created a paradigm shift for the duo, who swiftly adopt a different dynamic once it’s time to skate.

“The minute we leave the house, if we know we’re going skating, the conversation immediately changes in the car—but not in a bad way,” Tedd says. “It goes from Dad said clean the house, Dad said clean your room to, ‘Hey Tedd, what’s up?’ But he has a very good sense of where that line is. He will be like, ‘I’m skating over here, you’re skating over there. Let’s learn tricks.’

“Sometimes I forget he’s my kid, because he’s better than me now,” he laughs. “But it gets me out of my box. It’s humbling, but it’s nice.”

Tedd is most proud that Aaron came back to the sport of his own accord, not because of any external pressure from his dad, who has been a local legend in the scene for more than 15 years since moving from L.A. He also gets the benefit of getting to hang with the young bucks, who ironically, respect their elders based on the skateboarding culture set forth for them.

“It wasn’t because dad did it, it was because he wanted to do it,” Tedd said. “And keeps the same respect for my friends, the older dudes. It’s yessir, no sir … he pays for gas if you’re going to spots. I’ve taught him to contribute to the culture, rather than steal from it.

“He’s just good dude all-around,” he added.

That respect seems mutual amongst the local skaters. Tedd is the brand manager for Rock and Roll Skateboarding out of Dayton, and he’s assembled a well-known team of skaters that roll through all the major cities in Ohio and Indiana—a team that mutually agreed to include Aaron. “I’ve got this cool little family now,” Tedd says.

For Tedd, who found skateboarding as a kid when he was rehabbing a baseball injury, skating is more than a cats-in-the-cradle moment. Though he’s beyond proud to get to share such an important culture with his progeny, he also keeps a little competive fire between the two.

“Sometimes, I want to say, ‘I found skateboarding first, so na-na na-na boo boo,’” Tedd laughs. “The competition is not spoken, but it’s definitely there. He knows there’s tricks I can’t do. I just have to step back and laugh and say, forget it.

“Now, if he jumps down the stairs—I better back him up, or I better get to it first.”