A couple weeks back, we did a feature on Adaptive Action Sports, a non-profit geared at giving hope to people with disabilities through the Action Sports community. What we found, was that dealing with an physical disability gives these athletes an almost superhuman ability to overcome obstacles. We thought it was only right to feature a few of these superheroes!
Oscar Lareto Jr. was born missing his left foot, and 9 out of 10 fingers after his umbilical cord wrapped around his appendages in the womp and stunted their growth. The early years for Oscar were hard. As most kids in middle school, Oscar looked to integrate into traditional sports to find a sense of community. Kids are ruthless at that age, and as you can imagine Oscar got put in the center of that experience. When it came to picking teams, Lareto always got picked last. He felt left out and discouraged that there was no place for him, a common feeling for even able bodied youth.
Everything changed at a family event when Oscar was 15 and his cousin came over with a skateboard. He was immediately intrigued. By the same time the next year, he had his very own skateboard and was falling all over town. The difference between his experience in Skateboarding and his brief stint in traditional sports is that his struggles to succeed were shared by every skater at the park. Everyone falls when learning to skate, everyone progresses at their own pace, it’s part of the game. More importantly, they know how great it feels when you just had your bell rung, you look up and a homie is extending their arm to help you up. Oscar was home.
Skating was about to take him on a wild ride. Since picking it up, Oscar has been fortunate enough to travel the world because of his commitment to the sport. He has competed in the X-Games, been a part of the opening ceremony at the Vancouver Paralympic games, and won at the highest level of Adaptive athletes. The accolades are great, but they are not what drive Oscar. Instead, his ability to inspire the next generation of Adaptive athletes is what drives him. Those kids who get picked last, who get made fun of, or who lack the will to get up and try again, those are the ones he rides for.
At the end of the day, this is was sets Action Sports apart. They are a little bit misunderstood, just like the participants who tend to be attracted to them. Many in society believe that the Action Sports community is cold, unwelcoming and even scary. In fact, the opposite is true. Do you have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone to engage in the? 1000%, that is what they are based on. As soon as you decide you are willing to do that, the community will do everything it can to welcome you in, support you and help you grow.
A quote by Oscar when asked about what he would say to an adaptive athlete that was in need of inspiration summed up this misunderstanding perfectly, “People will stare, gawk and murmur, it will make you feel uncomfortable. But pay no attention to them and just keep shredding anyways. Know that they are not staring because they are trying to make you uncomfortable, actually the opposite, they are curious and want to help.”
Oscar is a perfect example, and now exemplar of the Action Sports Community. For your daily dose of badass inspo, go check his socials out, you won’t regret it. (@Oskervoid)
Sean co-founded the non-profit, “A Walk on Water”, which specializes in Ocean and Surf Therapy for people needing the healing powers of the ocean. A Walk on Water was founded in 2012 by four men who shared the belief that the ocean’s healing powers could help people. They all had a passion for Surf Therapy and giving back, so they wanted to make it accessible to children who needed it in the USA.