Tony Hawk signing autographs at Shaw Middle School on Wednesday. (Courtesy of Shaw Middle School)

Every day, star athletes step off of their Wheaties boxes and make haste to Washington to champion the causes closest to their hearts. Wednesday’s sports savior: Tony Hawk.

Setting: Shaw Middle School, before an assembly hall of pre-teens.

Event: Discussion of funding cuts for youth sports.

Bona fides: 12-time skateboarding world champion; builder of skateparks in low-income neighborhoods.

Backup: Amy Nakamoto of D.C. Scores, which runs after-school soccer programs for poor kids.

What he wants: To preserve funding for sports programs at public schools.

How he looked: Like Shaggy from “Scooby-Doo,” all grown up. Ear-length hair, sunken eyes. White golf-shirt, black jeans.

How he sounded: Inspiring, in a low-key, affable, surfer-esque way, reports our colleague Aaron Leitko.

Back-in-the-day anecdote: “When I started, all the skateparks were closing down and it was the least cool thing that you could do in high school. If you had a skateboard, jocks would come beat you up. It’s not necessarily like that anymore.”

Burning question from audience: Does Tony Hawk play “Tony Hawk” video games? Yes. His favorite: “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2,” he said. “That’s the one that wasn’t just a novelty skate game anymore, it was a real videogame that hardcore videogamers liked.”