You’re probably familiar with the expression, “Live to skate, skate to live,” but in the case of Canadian rider TJ Rogers who, as a young teenager, committed his life to the sport, the sport may very well have saved his life.
In the new film “Smile,” we learn that Rogers had a pretty rough start as the child of hardcore drug addicted parents. “I was around 8,” says Rogers, “when I started noticing my dad doing all these drugs and my mother doing heroine and crack.” He found comfort and stability in boarding and went riding every day before school, unimpeded by his mom and dad who were strung out and happy just to have him out of the house and occupied.
It’s a wonder the kid survived let alone thrived as he seems to have done, but the small-town community of Whitby, Ontario provided additional support, and skating gave him both distraction and focus. “That’s what skating’s about,” says Rogers. “Striving to do better for yourself at the end of the day.”
Today, Rogers rides professionally, and in “Smile,” we hear him reflect on his personal tale while he tackles the town of his skating dreams: Barcelona, Spain.