“Oh, you have a store now? Nice!”
This might be the most common line people say when they find out they know someone that put up their own establishment. There is a sense of being proud because you could never have known a person you knew since back in the day would put up their own business in the future. In my own words, that is amazeballs.
I met Gerard Cancio when we were both in grade school. Basketball might be the sport of choice of most boys, but we shared the same love of football and were both part of the varsity team. Casually we’d see each other, say our pleasantries and go on to play the game. Little did I know, this person was going to make a name for himself now that we’re older.
Many years after, we now have an annual summer football league amongst the alumni in Ateneo. There, I saw Gerard again. He grew taller and played so much harder than when we played in the late 90’s. I was like; this is a whole different guy. Surprisingly, he still knew me. Me? I was just happy he was as cordial and nice as back in the day.
One afternoon during our games, he said he was putting up a new store with a couple of friends which was near our rented condo. I said “Game! We are going to visit the store for sure.” He briefly described it as a skate/coffee shop. I quickly got interested because I did ride a skateboard back in high school. So we made plans and my wife and I, including a bunch of friends went to the opening of the store.
I was scratching my head when we got to the place. They had a half pipe. For the unfamiliar, a half pipe is a ramp where skaters rode their boards back and forth with the choice of showing off tricks and whatnot. For a little space, to even have a ramp like that was just awesome! Skaters seemed so engrossed with it that some just skated the whole night. And then there was a Mini Cooper. What amazed me was it was dressed up like a tank with a huge Red Bull sticking out of it. This was an opening for the books for sure!
There was a mix of true blood skaters, sneaker heads, coffee enthusiasts and just plain people just intending to have fun. We got a small cocktail table with friends and enjoyed ourselves with a few beers and food.
I thought this was just some ordinary store opening, I was wrong. After a few drinks I find out from our teammates that Gerard was a well known personality. A foreign brand would send their skateboards for him to skate on. He had a clothing brand that was tailor fit for men who wanted to look dapper. He loves riding motorcycles and what really surprised me was he was, at one time, the TOP long boarder in the Philippines. Like, excuse my language, “Shit, I knew this guy?!”
I had to talk to him. So I came up to Gerard that night and asked for a few minutes. He obliged. Yes, he was shy to admit he had all these things going on. I had to ask, “Why do all these things?” He answered, “Why not? Everything came about a bit naturally. I started skateboarding in grade school after watching the X-games on ESPN. I stopped a bit late in high school because I was afraid of getting injured. Towards the end of college I picked it up again but this time, longboarding. Then I met some buddies who shared the same interest. We started organizing events, competing abroad, and then brought in some brands that we ride ourselves since nobody was doing it. That was that. And the motorcycles? I guess it follows with the extreme nature of skateboarding. But more than that, I was always a fan of classic aesthetics. The same goes for clothes as well. All in all, why not spend most of your time doing things that you like and enjoy?”
Sometimes, people make the mistake of doing things as an obligation. Some think a job or running a store is just a means to better their lives financially. Make no mistake. That kind of motivation is okay. But I cannot discount the fact that some people do things because they love it. Sure, some love working. But with some, working can be done with love and passion. I can relate to the latter with Gerard. He has a day job, yes. But what makes him different is that he does not hinder himself from having other things in his life that are true; that are pure love. Kudos to the people who can be as brave as him. Because life is not just about living day by day, right? Life is living day by day with the purest love and passion for whatever it is you do. Can I get an Amen?