Gift suggestions for the athletic teen in your life

| October 28, 2021 | 0 Comments

Holiday shopping will be challenging this year. The supply chain apparently has too many interruptions and speed bumps, and the word is out to start buying gifts early. That means now.

I’ve been at the helm of this Youth Sports column for a year. When I started, there wasn’t much to write about. The pandemic had mulched interscholastic athletics and youth leagues, so I had to come up with alternative ideas.

I’ve had the opportunity — and privilege ­— to interview kids five-to-18 about their favorite sports and physical activities. I’ve been to skate parks, a climbing gym, batting cages and a driving range, and I even sat one afternoon in a Larchmont resident’s front yard watching Cub Scouts race their Pinewood Derby cars.

I’ve met lots of parents while writing this column. This one’s for them.

Turn the page

Let’s face it. Any teenage athlete who has been participating in his or her chosen sport for a few years probably has everything needed when it comes to practice and competition. Tennis players have rackets. Golfers have clubs. So what’s out there that would make a great sports gift?

Chevalier’s Books in Larchmont Village is my favorite local book

CHEVALIER’S BOOKS’ Syan Lunssord offers one of her favorite titles.

store. Syan Lunssord is a clerk there, and she’s extremely knowledgeable when it comes to youth and young adult books. Syan had some great gift suggestions for teenagers.

“Dragon Hoops” by Gene Luen Yang is a graphic novel about basketball that takes place in California. Yang, an American-born Chinese writer, is a “New York Times” best-selling author. Interestingly, this non-fiction story is about the basketball team at the school where Yang teaches.

Jimmy Shin, the director of the Oscar-winning climbing film “Free Solo,” soon has another documentary out — “The Rescue” — about a boys’ soccer team that got trapped by rising water inside a cave. There’s also a book about the incident called “All Thirteen” by Christina Soontornvat. There are wonderful photos, and it’s truly one of the great survival tales.

The most intriguing book has to be “Bruised” by Tanya Boteju. This coming-of-age story is about a teenage girl and the world of roller derby. Come on, who isn’t intrigued with theatric fracas on roller-skates? It doesn’t take much to figure out where Boteju got the book’s title, but aside from the obvious physical blemish, the bruise symbolizes the main character’s self-discovery and journey through first love, identity and roller derby.

Wear it well

Teenagers love clothes, and athletic venues often have pro-shops or offer gear and apparel for sale. Hollywood Boulders climbing gym sells a whole array of tank tops, climbing pants, footwear and warm-ups, all with its logo on them.

Vicky Chud’s first job as a teenager was at Los Angeles Tennis Club. John McEnroe and Chris Evert were big names then. Vicky has returned and currently works in the pro-shop.

TAILWAGGERS’ Tim Ciskanik shows off a Chuckit.

“People love buying gifts with ‘Los Angeles Tennis Club’ printed on them,” she said. “Sweatshirts, bags, T-shirts; people love getting these things.”

Arc’teryx on La Brea Avenue specializes in high-end designer wilderness wear, specifically skiing, alpine and climbing apparel. The company’s logo is a fossilized skeleton of the extinct Archaeopteryx, which is appropriate, considering it was the first bird-like animal — it might have flown, but definitely was a climber. The chic logo is imprinted on the store’s collections. Everything’s functional, but always stylish. Even if Angelenos rarely experience cold weather, Arc’teryx has a great line of hoodies and lightweight jackets, too.

For those households with teenagers and a dog, head over to Tailwaggers in Larchmont Village and get a Chuckit. This ball launcher is interactive, and though Spot will get most of the exercise, what a great way to get your teenager outside and away from tech and devices.

Hope this helps, and happy holiday shopping!

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Category: People

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