Joel Rice, photo courtesy: Eric England
Joel Rice is a journalist who writes primarily about skateboarding. His McSweeney’s column, "FLIP," has covered nearly every facet of skating, and he got this gig through a connection to David Foster Wallace (I know, right?!), which then led to Rice serving as a ghost writer for Christian Hosoi’s memoir, which of course led to a Tony Hawk interview, which paved the way to writing for jock juggernaut ESPN (among other outlets) about skating.
Rice is living the dream—”I’ve wanted to write about skateboarding my whole life”—and he recounts his trajectory in the latest episode of "Neighbors" for Nashville Public Radio (titled “Dog Trap, Part 1”). Much more enlightening than your typical watered down mainstream radio treatment, this episode goes deep into Rice’s history as a young skater in San Francisco, navigating the rigid social structures of Embarco and the somewhat territorial EMB crew. Not your typical public radio fodder.
One key moment involves a humiliating moment after being essentially mugged with his younger brother by another skater. Rice’s ability to process this painful experience has been vital to his professional writing career, and "Dog Trap pt. 1" is an excellent example of how even the worst parts of our culture can be building blocks for growth.