A Guide to Recognizing Your Brother

Out of Focus P

There was a time when my brother gave one of my best friends a scare. I was out of the country and Brian told me the story over Skype. Keenan was his charge at Skate Camp: in his cabin for a week, the kid he knew most, his best friend’s little brother. Brian woke up one morning and got the cabin ready for flagpole. It was a Sunday around 8 a.m. and the whole camp was headed towards this assembly. Sunday morning meant no skating for the first few hours because the rest of the camps on the lakes were Christian and family-oriented, so they held church services during that time. Heading to flagpole, they noticed Keenan was missing. They started asking around, then looking. He was nowhere to be found – kid lost, out of the blue. Brian was worried. He got on the walkie-talkie and went to every corner of the camp by himself while the rest of the camp did flagpole and breakfast.

In Focus P

All alone at one end, he heard a set of wheels in the distance hitting masonite and the metal slip at the bottom of a ramp. In disbelief, he went towards it. He walked onto the dusty street course to find Keenan, fully padded up like the Michelin Man, trying to drop in to this vert wall to short quarter pipe, eating shit every time. Tight, sheer drop.

Keenan would drop in and slam so hard. So so hard – like each slam was the hardest slam you’ve ever taken. And then he would scramble up and do it again.

Wide P

Exasperated, Brian called to him, then yelled to him, asking him what he was doing. Keenan didn’t hear him, he kept dropping in, eating shit, and running up to try it again. Once Brian caught up to him, Keenan was like, “What’s up?” like nothing was wrong. Brian couldn’t help but laugh. As he asked him why he would go off alone, break the rules, and do something so dangerous, Keenan was bewildered. He had wanted to do the drop-in since the day before and was only vaguely aware of the rest of the world around him – what else they were gravitating towards, flagpole, eating breakfast. He really couldn’t hear Brian when he walked onto the street course. He’d been thinking about that drop-in through his sleep.

It sums up a lot. Not fear-less, but brave and tormented, always racing to fight fear. He wants to do it – whatever it is. He wants to do it for himself. He wants to do it for IT.

1 Response to “A Guide to Recognizing Your Brother”


  1. 1 Bryan Derballa

    Keenan is a beast!

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