Art Teacher by Day, Skater by Night

Kristie Perez, Staff Writer

On a YouTube video posted by David Batterman, an art teacher at the school, viewers can see that he jumps off a bench with his skateboard in hand and sticks the landing before rolling away. 

Batterman used to skateboard as a teenager and has been refamiliarizing himself on how to ride one since 2020. 

He recalled that when he and his family moved to Lilburn in 2016, Batterman saw a few skate parks around the area. His wife noticed him gazing nostalgically at them when they would go out as a family, he said.   

A close up of Batterman on his skateboard at his house.

For Christmas of 2019, she gifted him his first skateboard since childhood. Then just a few months later, COVID-19 shook the world and closed public spaces.  

However, skate parks did not stay closed for long. Batterman began reteaching himself and relearning the building blocks of the hobby.  

“My first time looking down at that thing is intimidating – it’s a big bowl and all I saw was a hospital bill,” Batterman said.  

That floating hospital bill is the reason for his consistent use of knee pads, elbow pads and a helmet.  

He said he tries to skate four or five times a week, using his daughter’s ballet rehearsal two times a week as an opportunity to go to the skate park. 

Batterman at the skate park.

As a child in the late 80s, there were no skateparks near Batterman, so he would “ollie” (jump) over chairs and skate on streets, on “cruddy ramps” and on a halfpipe at a nearby orphanage.  

However, he mainly stays in skate park bowls these days. 

At the skatepark, Batterman found a group of skaters like him: middle-aged and married with kids. He even had a band with one of them where he played the drums, guitar, and bass.  

The skate group likes to go out together at “old man hours,” as he calls it, which are around 9:30 pm to 11 pm when the lights go out at the park. His skate group calls these “Vamp Sessions.” 

Batterman said there is a bond that he finds hard to describe, like a brotherhood, and that he met many people that he wouldn’t have met if he never got back into skating.  

He also said that skateboarding is physically intense. It has helped his core strength, and he has lost weight since he started again.  

Batterman at the skate park doing his tricks.

“Coming back to skating in your mid 40’s is really different than skating when you’re 14,” Batterman said. “Your center of gravity is completely different, your reaction time is completely different, your knowledge of what a hospital bill is is completely different.” 

Batterman’s electric and youthful energy can be reflected in his eclectic collection of photographs in his classroom. His students don’t even bat an eye when told about his skating hobby.  

“I was surprised to hear it, but thinking about it, yeah it does kind of fit him,” said junior Zoe Cundy, who had Batterman for photography.   

Freshman Jordan Adkins was not taken aback either when he heard his teacher is a skater. 

“He’s the classic idea of a radical kind of guy, you know? With the music and everything and his whole style. He’s a pretty cool guy,” Adkins said.