At fifteen years of age I met my childhood hero.
The black magic marker moved across the underside of my skateboard.
“Best of Bat Luck,” said the handwritten words.
Adam West handed the pen back to his agent. Reaching out he shook my hand.
“Thank you young man,” he said. “That was something else.”
Our teenage years are filled with odd experiences – many time a result of finding ourselves. My particular journey occurred over thousands of hours riding a skateboard. And one day that led me to meet Batman.
While lots of my friends were at football practice or spending time hitting the books, I could be found figuring out how to make a small wooden plank flip over or ride up the side of a vertical wall. Misspent youth, maybe, but a growing experience all the same.
One night the competitive skateboard team I was riding for was performing at an annual auto show in large convention center. We shared the ticket with Patty McGuire, former Playboy Playmate of Year, and Adam West and the Batmobile. We, of course were a distant third item on the night’s playbill.
There were a half-dozen of us in a corner of the auto show – a small space carved out between new car auto exhibits. At each end were wooden ramps along with an open space to do freestyle tricks.
All around us the auto companies were unveiling new models. Lights, turning tables with cars and scantily models. For a teenage boy this was the thing dreams were made of. Throw in Playboy Bunny and the Batmobile and I figured my life was peaking on that cold January night.
Throughout the night the announcer called out upcoming show times for both our skateboard demonstrations sandwiched between those for our better-known costars.
One night as the event wound down I was hanging around after the rest of the team’s parents had picked them up. While I was working on a kick flip, a man leans over the red velvet ropes.
“Hey son,” he says. “My client was wanting to see the show. Think if I bring him over you could do some of that skating for him?”
“Sure,” I said and went back to my skateboard.
Minutes later the man returns – only this time with Adam West.
I’ll never forget how cool Bruce Wayne looked, his checkered sport coat casually tossed over his shoulder. He reached out and gave me his best Bat Handshake.
As a kid my mother drew a Batman logo on the back of a white towel. She told me I’d run around the house for hours fighting imaginary villains as Batman. Little did I know a dozen years I would be standing face-to-face with the real thing.
I did about a 5-minute show but honestly I don’t remember a thing. That happens when you are star-struck.
When I finished, Batman smiled and asked his agent for a pen.
To this day the black ink has never dried in my heart.