The book that changed my life is called ‘The Mutt: How to Skateboard and Not Kill Yourself’ by Rodney Mullen with Sean Mortimer.
The book is about Mullen’s life. He is the inventor of every possible trick that can be done with a skateboard. He changed the face of the sport from an underground extreme sport to becoming a mainstream extreme sport that it is now. Ask any trick in the book and you know that Mullen invented it. But, what drew me to the book and read it over a hundred times is the valuable lessons that one might learn and relate to in his journey to becoming a famous skateboarder.
The book starts with a peek on his last run in the last contest of his professional career, after which the book returns to his origins. He came from a very well-to-do family. and was the youngest and only boy in the family, the elder were all girls. His father was a very well know dentist in their town and also a very successful real estate agent. The mother was very good in lawn tennis and music, specifically, the piano.
His father was very strict, expecting everybody in the family to excel in both sports and academics. Everything was just normal until his friend introduced him to a skateboard. From there on, he was addicted to it even though his father was against it. His mother was his only friend and companion with regards to his passion. I guess all mothers are like that, including mine.
He ran away from home because his father could not bear his son to be a skateboarder. But, through all the ups and downs in his life, he stuck to his passion and earned a degree in chemical and nuclear engineering. He proved that everything is possible as long as you put your mind into your passion.
In the book what made his father really happy for him was he had the Mullen name registered on a patent of a design of a skateboard. Adding to that, he has built on a company that earned millions because of skateboarding, which made his dad proud of his only son.
I believe this book made an impact on my life because his life was almost like mine. Not entirely, as I am far from being a millionaire. But, I could relate to his strict father. I guess all parents want their children to be the best that they could be. I too had to leave my country against the will of my father. I guess I knew I could find a better job than staying in my country.
Like him, I was also a geek on book and skateboarding. Playing the sport kept me in school and away from bad influences. I feel connected to myself when I skate.
The best lesson I have learned through this book is that at times, you have to go against the flow in order for all of us to achieve our dreams. All the obstacles will be surpassed as long as you put your 100 per cent in whatever you are doing and in whatever you want to achieve in life. As long as you put your heart into anything that you want to achieve, you will always find yourself victorious no matter what obstacle may come.
The pages in the book where I always find myself crying were the instances that Mullen always finds comfort in his mum, who is always there to shield him from his father’s anger. The mother was also the only one who could see his potential in the sport. I too, have my down times in life, whether it be not taking my father’s wish that I should be an engineer, or leaving my country against his will, I always find all the comforting and encouraging words that I need whenever I speak to my mother. You can call me a mama’s boy, but aren’t we all? As they always say, mother’s know best.
— The reader is a sales consultant based in Dubai.