- Bryan Parmelee
Self-proclaimed “rad dad” Chad Wentlesmith said he will definitely help his daughter, Mckayla, learn to ride her skateboard as soon as she snaps just a few more photos of him riding it first, OK?
“You’ve got to be more careful to not cut off my head in the shot, sweetie,” he told her. “That last axle stall was perfect, but you got nothing but my legs. How will people know it was me who just busted that out?" he continued. "Please try and stay focused out here, honey. Daddy doesn’t know how many more of those he has left in him.”
Mckayla nodded her head in agreement before rolling her eyes as her father dropped back into the Andy “A-Dog” Williams skatepark on the Burlington waterfront.
“I really love skateboarding,” Mckayla told the Parmelee Post. “Sometimes the boys give me weird looks or say stupid things. I just try to ignore them and — oh, hold on.”
Mckayla frantically struggled to get her father’s iPhone camera in position in time as he rapidly approached the ramp’s coping. To the devastation of no one but himself, Wentlesmith overshot his mark and failed to properly lock the skateboard’s truck onto the coping, forcing him to abandon the stunt.
“Dammit, Mckayla,” he said while definitely not taking his own failure out on his daughter, who was only trying to help. “You’ve got to be ready! What if I would have made that one?!”
Wentlesmith later told the Parmelee Post how proud he was that his daughter had taken an interest in skateboarding. “She’s knows you can’t let outdated gender norms keep you from chasing your dreams," he said. "Woman can certainly be just as gnarly on a skateboard if more people would support them.”
“Can I use the skateboard while you’re talking, daddy?” Mckayla interrupted.
“Just a second, sweetie. I need to double check these photos you took and make sure we got the angle right,” he replied. “Where’s the one from before, with the nice sunset in the background?”
“I thought you said your ‘steez’ looked a little forced in that one Daddy, so I deleted it.”
“I didn’t say to delete it! Now I’ve got to try it all over again!”
Wentlesmith went on to reveal that he’s been feeling an increasing amount of pressure to break the 100 like mark on his Instagram posts.
“It used to be pretty much guaranteed I’d receive at least 30 percent more likes than my wife, but lately she’s been narrowing the gap," he explained. "Pictures of Mckayla do reasonably well, but I think pictures of myself are important because they inspire other dads to be more rad and support their daughters. The more likes I get, the more inspiring I must be!”
As Wentlesmith was preoccupied explaining the finer points of his Instagram game, Mckayla seized the opportunity to steal the skateboard and take a quick run herself. To the excitement of all those watching around her, she perfectly executed the axle stall her father had been attempting for the better part of an hour on her very first try.
“That was great honey!” Wentlesmith exclaimed. “Now bring Daddy back that board so I can show you how to it with a more relaxed style.”
As she handed the board back over to her father, Mckayla gave the Parmelee Post a wink that suggested she instinctively understood that dudes would routinely be in her way, so she’d just have to carve out her own path.
The Parmelee Post is a weekly series featuring tough investigative reporting on news that hasn't happened.