Leadership

Skateboarding And Accounting - A Peaceful Coexistence

Clare Anderson
28th July 2021
 < 1 min read

Mark, Management Accountant/Financial Controller

For twenty years all I have ever really wanted to do is skateboard. My first love was basketball but when I hit my teens and discovered skateboarding through an older friend I knew that this solo sport, where you weren’t reliant on anyone else, was my true passion in life. In high school skateboarding took up just about every free moment I had - so by the time college came around, I really had no idea what I was going to study. Skateboarding is still an emerging sport in the Philippines so I knew I needed a university backup plan. My parents suggested accounting - the reality of needing to make a decent living drew me down this path.   

I graduated with an accounting degree but never lost sight of my dream to become a full-time, professional, sponsored skateboarder. Despite the hectic demands of my work schedule, I continued to focus on honing my skills and devoting myself to doing what I loved the most. When a friend offered me an accounting opportunity (at a much lower salary) in a well-known skate shop in Manila (where skateboarding was much more developed) I jumped at the chance. For six years I networked the skateboarding community like mad - and managed to get recognised - and sponsored! All the while holding down my accounting job - which, I must add, I did enjoy as well! I was invited to skateboarding competitions all over the Philippines, doing demos, and as a judge. Vans clothing company sponsored me and I got to represent them all over the country - even travelling to China and Singapore! It was an awesome time - living my dream in a big city - and doing what I loved every day.

Life evolves and priorities change though - so the time came when my now-wife and I decided we needed to leave the Big Smoke and move home to a calmer, slower, more gentle lifestyle. I also needed a bigger income - so studied (successfully) for my CPA accounting exam - good timing with the arrival of our beautiful baby girl, Astrid. Much as the higher salaries in Manila were attractive, we were happy to trade in the frequent typhoons, heavy traffic, pollution and expensive lifestyle to be closer to our families. 

As a Management  Accountant and Financial Controller, I’m still living my dream in Davao. Skateboarding is still a huge part of my life. My sponsors, Vans Philippines, and other local brands continue to support me in my social media postings and all skateboarding competitions. In 2019 I even represented Mindanao province in a countrywide competition! I got to take part in the Filipino Olympic trials (yes - skateboarding is an Olympic sport!) and, whilst I didn’t make it, I’m now involved in creating a more transparent Davao Skateboarding Council. This will take the politics and unfairness out of the current system and broaden the scope of this organisation nationally. The pandemic has delayed this a little bit but we’re figuring out how to make things better!

The point of my story? Never give up on your dream. And realize that it doesn’t have to be a choice between financial security or following your heart. Even if you don’t end up doing what you love as a full-time professional, you can still live your passion, as I have done for twenty years. And please know that skateboarding is not just a ‘dangerous sport’. It’s about so much more than that. Camaraderie, inclusivity, non-judgement, non-verbal communication, meeting all sorts of people, fun! Always live your passion and add value to your life, no matter what. 

 

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