The Porter Pipe: Killing the Proverbial Panda

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Ahh, the smell of fresh cut grass. The good lord gave us things like that and other things like half pipes and the American Dream to make life worth living.  While the latter has become a thing of the past—stomped under foot by the big wigs in Washington, greed and anti-Americans everywhere—Kevin Templin, head brewer at Red Rock Brewing Co. in Salt Lake City, has taken it upon himself to make sure his eight-year-old son Porter gets a taste of the glory. In this case, a taste of cold refreshing glory is a three-foot half pipe in his very own backyard. Ramps are typically made one of two ways: (a) the wood is stolen from neighbors’ yards and/or construction sites and the ramp is slowly pieced together as hardware and know-how are acquired, or (b) help from a loving parent, winning lottery ticket, inheritance or help from god almighty himself. Kevin took the “Plan B” route, showing his son that skateboarding doesn’t have to be rebellion and it can be a hobby father and son can enjoy together.

Father-son bonding can never be in a more concentrated form than the act of building something together. Add some cold ones and the hum of power tools and you’re in for some good old-fashioned weekend fun. Heck, add some brats and kids playing in the yard and you can call that the American Dream alive and kickin’. But I’m getting side tracked with all this chatter of human potential. Why a ramp?  Couldn’t Kevin take Porter to the garage, pop open the hood of the Ford and show him how to change the spark plugs?  No sir. While that might put some hair on the pup’s chest, in no way will that make your beloved kin the king of the neighborhood—not like a ramp will. Templin decided to show his son and the other children of the flock that life isn’t about the things you do or don’t have, but what makes you smile at the end of the day. After purchasing supplies, organizing expertise and locking down a spot, the building commenced. It reminds me of the King of the Hill episode where Dale Gribble helped his son Joseph, to achieve “rad” status with all the cool kids at school.  Gribble gives his son a bow and arrow and masterminds a scheme to kill a panda at the zoo. While being a totally awesome idea, I prefer half pipe construction to panda killing any day. Not only do you not have to shed blood, you’re also giving back to the community by giving the kids a safe place to release their unbound energy and aggression.

Kevin wanted to make it clear that skateboarding is not a crime: When done in it’s pure form, skateboarding is nothing but a bond between good friends, man and simple machine, and in this case, father and son. When skateboarding is misunderstood and demonized, a youth can be pushed to the fringes, forced to rebel and ultimately forced to bond with other neglected souls—left to wander, finding their fix of skateboarding in the back alleys, on the fresh painted red curbs on the west side or anywhere else their hearts yearn, Kevin hopes to, “Teach the kids respect, bring them up respectful like.” Amen to that. The good lord was a carpenter, so ramp building could technically be called doing the lord’s work—Well, that and mowing the lawn. Thank you Britt, Kevin and the whole Templin family for inviting me into your home and letting me enjoy the finished product of your hard work. In a world of Goldman Sachs and oil spills, at least we know that there are still a few good dads making sure there kids live the dream before America explodes.

Now that I’m on the subject of America exploding, let me tell you something, you’ve got to run down to Red Rock Brew Pub and drink some of that delicious beer before it’s too late—the Amber Ale is my favorite. They have a long list of award winning beers and handcrafted soda pop for the kids (sasparilla never sounded so goll darn good). After you wet your whistle, make sure to eat some of their fine grub. Head chef Eric Holmes puts together one amazing menu: burgers, steaks, salads—good gravy, I could go on and on. When doomsday is upon us, you’re gonna want a full tummy.

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