Stephanie Reitz and son Brady at the “Sneaker Shopping” show taping in NYC.
Nobody tells you about the imperceptible transition from young and cool to tragically unhip. It’s not the gentle decline I expected meandering into middle age. It’s an invisible cliff that I surely tumbled off at some point over the years while changing diapers, cooking chicken nuggets, and signing school field trip forms.
Then came the day my son outgrew the world of little boy light-up sneakers and entered pre-teendom where cool shoes are de rigueur. Cool by today’s standards, that is, not my graduated-in-the-last-millennium, blaring-classic-rock-in-the-mom-car standards.
Like other middle-aged moms seeking to decode today’s trends, I turned to the holy grail of parenting knowledge: podcasts. Listening to an episode of “The Complex Sneakers Podcast,” I heard host Joe La Puma ’05 (CLAS) casually mention shoes he’d owned as a student at UConn, which set into motion a series of events that culminated in “Kicks”.
Joe graciously welcomed me, my now 13-year-old son Brady, and UConn photographer Peter Morenus to a taping of his online series, “Sneaker Shopping with Complex,” in New York City.
Amid his busy pre-show preparation, Joe learned that Brady’s favorite comedian is Joe Gatto of “Impractical Jokers” fame. With no fanfare, our Joe casually FaceTimed that Joe and introduced them, a moment that struck my shy son speechless at the time, but which he treasures. Though as fate would have it, Brady remains only mildly interested in his now-cool sneaker collection — he’d be just as happy in a pair of well-worn Vans.
Fortuitously, forgoing my Bob Seger playlist for a while in favor of sneaker podcasts landed me not only valuable knowledge but also a chance to introduce our readers to a genuinely nice, interesting, and (yes, I’m going to say it), cool alum.
By Stephanie Reitz
University Spokesperson and Manager of Media Relations