Posted September 10, 2018
Guest post by Cameron Wood, Oral History Coordinator
When I went to interview Doug Brown, professional skateboarder, for the upcoming Ohio—Champion of Sports exhibit I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. What I found was an actor, author, musician and athlete focused on sharing his message of positive change and optimism. Brown, who hails from Wooster, Ohio shared a lot about his life, from his sometime difficult youth to the 2002 Gravity Games where he got his first break.
What was clear was the deep affection he has for his hometown. For a guy who could have gone anywhere and who maybe would have found it easier to build a skateboarding career out on the west coast, Wooster and Ohio exerted a powerful pull. He spoke of skateboarding down Avalon Road, of teaching guitar at Larry’s Music Center and opening his skate shop out of his parents’ basement.
What became apparent was that place has a powerful effect on our lives when we’re young, something which grows to a comfortable familiarity and sense of pride as we get older. Through this project what I’ve heard again and again from athletes is what a great place Ohio was to grow up, how it shaped their lives and continues to be a place of importance, or as Doug Brown put it “there are a lot of voices blowing in the wind.”
Watch this short clip of Doug Brown’s oral history where he talks about his memories of skating as a kid in Wooster and building his own skate ramps.