The Mike Rogers Interview in Coping Block Skateboarding Magazine!
From an early 2010 Interview in Coping Block Skateboarding Magazine
Words like fearless, guts, determination, motivated, energized, focused, and heart best describe the iron spirit that we all know as, Mike Rogers. Mike has turned a life challenge into changing lives around the globe. A gift to us all, Mike brings a much needed perspective into our daily grind. If you ever wondered what the human spirit can accomplish when the eternal flame of life refuses to dim, just follow Mike’s lead. No matter what you face in life, you can beat it. Mike has been shredding for years and has never let up his relentless assault on the coping. His energy during a skate session rivals that of the Energizer Bunny! If you get a chance to skate with Mike Rogers, do it, you might learn a few lessons about what’s really important in life.
By Cleo Coney
Mike you’ve been through so much in your life, and you’ve been an inspiration to thousands of skaters and non-skaters as well. Where do you get your motivation and energy?
I get my motivation from knowing I survived cancer twice and I have the desire to help others, so that keeps me going.
When did “Grind For Life” get started and how did all that come about?
Grind For Life started in 2003. It was a benefit event to help me get back on my feet. Chris Conway put the event together and the funds helped me get through the year after my cancer surgery. In 2004, I wanted to share my story and help people who are traveling out of state for cancer care. That's when I started Grind For Life.
What is your future vision for “Grind For Life”?
The Grind For Life Hospital Tour is in the works. I want to go visit cancer patients and try to lift some spirits by my sharing my story and giving some hope to those who can identify with me.
The “Grind For Life” effort has helped a lot of families during tough times Mike, and I know you’d like to help many, many, more. What’s the easiest way for someone to contribute to your cause?
The easiest way to support is to donate through the grindforlife.org website or donate on our Facebook page. Checks can be mailed to 2023 N. Atlantic Ave #236, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931. GFL also operates a thrift shop, so new or used goods can be donated to the store. If you can come to a GFL event, that's a great way to support and have a good time, too!
Mike when did you first step on a skateboard, and how long did it take you to get hooked?
I first stepped on a skateboard in 1976 and got hooked the first time I went to Skateboard Surfari in 1978.
Who were your early skate influences?
Mike Folmer, the Fox Skateboard Team and the Sims East Team
How many hours a day do you think you skated when you first got started?
About 3 hours a day
Like many of the veteran skateboarders growing up back in the day, we all had a dream set up, what was your dream skateboard set up back then?
It was a Fox skateboard with Bennett Pro and Road Riders.
How long did it take you to adjust to skating with mono vision?
I learned how to skate with one eye after my first battle with cancer in 1978. I lost the sight in my eye but still had the eye. I started to skate by feel back then so when they had to remove my eye in 2003 I had already been adjusted.
Over the last two years or so, I don’t remember a more photographed skateboarder other than maybe Tony Hawk! Which skateboarders are your all-time favorites, and are you in pictures with any of them?
Tony Hawk, Chris Miller, Andy Macdonald. I skate with these guys all the time and have pictures so it's pretty cool to be skating with the guys I saw in magazines when I was growing up. Now, I'm buddies with them and they support the cause.
If you calculated how many hours you’ve been on the microphone at events, how many hours combined do you think you’ve logged?
Probably like 6 months straight
I’ve witnessed your high speed, and lengthy runs at various skate parks, where do you get those iron man lungs and quads from dude? I get tired just watching you hit every line twice or more! LOL!
I have learned how to relax my body so it doesn't take a lot of energy for me to skate and it's all in your breathing and letting the board do the work... so that's what's been working for me over the years.
Someone in as good a shape as you must have a clean diet. What diet advice can you give to us other skateboarders?
After my second bout with cancer, I have been conscious of what I put in my body. I try to stay away from a lot of processed foods and fast food when I can. I eat a lot of salads, fish, fruits, smoothies. I eat simple real food.
Mike you’ve sessioned not only on far away continents, countries, and in other states, but you’ve also criss-crossed the state of Florida quite a bit. Where haven’t you sessioned right here in your own backyard?
Haven't been to Naples, but getting ready for a stop there in the GFL Skatepark Series.
Who were the skaters in your original skate crew and where did you session the most?
That's too big of a question because I skated with a lot of people back in the day. I was always at Skateboard Surfari every weekend.
Let’s get into the “Grind For Life” skateboards, and wheels that I’ve seen you shredding on. Whomakes those and where can a skater get some?
The GFL skateboards are sold on grindforlife.org and at Thrift For Life. You can also email me to buy one. The GFL Bones wheels are sold out. They were a limited production and they might be brought back in spring 2010.
Mike Rogers at the Tampa Trade Show at the Skate Park of Tampa.
Mike elaborate on the best pools you’ve ever skated and the one you can’t wait to go grind again in.
Skated Bucky's bowl all summer and can't wait to get back there.
Do you keep a quiver, or collect old skate stuff, and if so what’s in your collection?
I have a big skateboard collection and still have a lot of my old boards that I skated including my Rodney Mullen freestyle boards. I have magazines from the 70's. I have some rare autographed boards. My favorite board is my Ray Underhill board signed by him before he passed away and signed by the whole Powell Peralta team.
When did you learn such styli frontside rock n rolls, and how long did it take for you to perfect them?
It's just one of my tricks that's easy for me to do. I just learned them that way.
Mike you’ve help run so many skate events, you’ve must have an opinion of the best way to run a contest, please give your view on that.
Best way to run a contest is to make sure you have the people to help you run the event in place. Have someone who knows how to run a computer program for scoring. Don't stop or take breaks. Keep it moving.
When will we see “Grind For Life” skate shoes, safety equipment, and fingerboards?
Coming soon! There is a Darkstar Grind For Life Tech Deck out there, very limited. I don't even have one.
Mike Rogers and other skaters participate at the Tampa Pro Contest.
Mike what was the gnarliest skate trick you’ve ever witnessed pulled anywhere you’ve been skateboarding?
This October at Bucky's bowl, I watched him do a 12 foot backside method air which was the biggest air ever done in a concrete bowl.
What’s your 2010 schedule look like so far Mike?
Action packed! We are starting off the GFL Skatepark Series at Eastwood Skatepark on Feb. 27. Then Clash at Clairemont....the biggest pro demo ever in San Diego on March 27. I will be skating in many of the World Cup Bowl Series events in the Masters Division. I will also be setting up the GFL booth at some of the big events like Maloof Money Cup and Dew Tour and X-Games.
Is there anything you want to tell the young skaters out there?
Wear your pads if you want to skate when you are in your 40's. Make good choices. Help others. Do the right thing.
Any thanks or shout outs at this time Mike?
I would like to thank my girlfriend, Jill, for always helping me with everything. I would like to thank the doctors in New York for saving my life. Thank you to all the Grind For Life supporters over the last 7 years for helping us save people's lives.
Push, Carve, Grind!
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