Philosophy isn’t the only passion Dr. John Becker, assistant professor of philosophy, is sharing with Lyon students this semester. He has started teaching a skateboarding class that students can take for one of their physical education credits.
Becker had promised himself that he would offer a skateboarding class when he started teaching full-time. His reasoning was simple.
“Skateboarding and its culture have had a positive impact on my life, and I wanted to share that passion with my students.”
Fortunately, Lyon was supportive of his endeavors. The first class began in the spring 2022 semester. He said the main obstacle for his students is keeping motivated.
“Persistence is key in learning any new skill,” Becker said.
He has advised students to begin friendships with others and practice skateboarding together to help combat the motivation issue. His favorite part of his class is watching his students progress in their skills, reach new goals and become more confident.
Senior Alexis Lyons said the skateboarding class is a great time, whether students know the basics of skateboarding when they enroll or not.
“It is not nearly as difficult as you would think it would be,” said Lyons. “Obviously everyone is different, but I would strongly encourage taking the class.”
She continued, “Dr. Becker is very kind and always looking to help.”
Becker said the introduction of the course was timely since skateboarding debuted as an official sport at the 2020 Olympics. The participants in the sport exhibited skill, perseverance and sportsmanship, Becker said, which “did not go unnoticed by the organizers of the games” when they awarded athletes in women’s skateboarding the Fair Play Award for inspiring sportsmanship.
Becker received his first skateboard around the age of 8, and it soon grew into more than a hobby.
“Although [my parents] bought it to keep me outdoors and away from television, it quickly became more than an activity; it became an obsession,” he said.
Becker participated in many sports growing up, but skateboarding was different because he did not need to “rely” on others to be able to participate. He became a sponsored skateboarder in junior high and continued to skateboard through college. He even worked at a company, Sole Technology, that specializes in footwear for skaters.
Becker is aware that most students would not expect a philosophy professor to be passionate about skateboarding. He hopes that offering this new class not only inspires more Lyon students to learn how to skateboard but also shows them that “there is no orthodoxy” and professors are ordinary people, too.
He encourages students that participate in the class to apply for a scholarship through the College Skateboarding Educational Foundation.
Assistant professor of philosophy Dr. John Becker shares his passion for skateboarding with students during the new physical education course.