Fifteen-year-old Benny Calvert got his first snowboard at the age of 13 and has been riding ever since. Though he is barely a high school student and has no formal training, he spends nearly all his free time launching off ramps and hurtling through the air, avoiding certain death through mere luck.
His mom, Julie Calvert, is perfectly okay with all this.
“Oh I’m fine with it. I think it’s great,” said Calvert, 44. “You know, a lot of parents would be terrified of watching their child tease death several time a day, but for me, it’s all very exciting. I mean, what’s the worst that can really happen? My baggy-clothed, floppy-haired, pot-smoking, irresponsible, disrespectful son crashes on his snowboard and dies? Oh no! One less X-Gaming douche in the world! Whatever shall we do?”
Around the age of 12, Calvert says she started noticing changes in her son’s personality and appearance. The mild mannered, polite, dorky Benny who endeared himself to children and parents alike began morphing into a “skate punk”who listened to obnoxious punk rock music without understanding it, dressed in clothing way too big for him, and started talking in incoherent skater slang.
“I’m thinking, ‘Who is this kid and what has he done with my son?’” Calvert recalled. “Of course I expected him to go through an awkward stage when he reached adolescence, but I was thinking a crackling voice and masturbation, not a complete transformation into some obnoxious caricature so impressed with his own ‘radness’ that he can’t see what an insufferable douche he’s become. So every time he goes up in the air I hold my breath – but probably not for the same reasons most parents hold their breath.”
Mrs. Calvert got a brief “scare”last year when her son lost control in mid-air and landed head first in the snow. She rushed to his aid thinking he couldn’t have survived the fall but, alas, he had.
“I was like ‘Oh my God, the little punk must be dead as a doornail,” she said. “But then he bounced back up like nothing happened. He was like ‘Yea! That was totally rad!’ and everybody was high-fiving him. What an obnoxious sub-culture. The kid almost dies and they think it’s totally cool. The whole world is turning into a goddamnJackassmovie.”
In March, Benny will be participating in his first ever competitive tournament when he competes in the Junior World Championships in Vale, Colorado. The jumps will be higher, the course will be faster, and the danger greater. But Mrs. Calvert isn’t worried for her son.
“I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “It’s going to be life threatening. I mean, he could actually die. Or he could end up being fed through a tube the rest of his life. Either way, I won’t have to listen to that annoying snowboard jargon every again.”