Skateboarders wiz by on campus. Whether it’s on their way to class or to a buddy’s residential hall, the sport of skateboarding is for far more than just travel purposes, according to some Keene State College students.
Junior Brian Rogers said it’s the most fun thing he’s ever done.
“I don’t take it too seriously, I stay true to the fun of it,” Rogers said.
Rogers said he has been skateboarding for eight years and that unfortunately, there aren’t many skate-friendly places in the Keene area.
Both on and off campus, Rogers, freshman Ryan Brown and sophomore Adam Beaton all seemed to agree that they wish they had more venue options to do what they love.
Brown said there are a couple of spots at KSC that he likes to skate on, but said “Campus Safety gets really mad.”
Rogers said that he and his friends have been kicked off of the four sets of stairs near the Thorne Art Gallery and the Media Arts Center because it is a liability.
“They think we’re trying to do incredibly dangerous stuff when really, we’re just messing around on a ledge or a stair set. It’s not dangerous to us, because it’s what we know how to do,” Brown said.
The three also came to the consensus that skateboarders carry a bad stigma.
“People think we are stupid kids that are just doing dumb stuff,” Brown continued, “But really, I’m just trying to enjoy myself. I’m trying to take time in between schoolwork to relax.”
Rogers had a similar outlook.
“Skateboarding can be a really big community-building opportunity to get kids off of the street and come do something productive. Get outside, stop playing video games and learn how to get creative,” he said.
“It gives a chance to escape but it gets such a bad name even though it can be helpful to a lot of people.”
“Why do anything unless it’s fun? Once you take it too seriously and get bent out of shape, it ruins the purpose of skateboarding—it should be fun,” Rogers added.
Rogers, Brown and Beaton all mentioned that they have been down to the Keene Skate Park on Gilbo Avenue, but said the conditions of the park are not worth it.
“All of the ramps are completely weathered,” Beaton explained. “The rails are all on the ground and there’s no cement, it’s just like skating on the sidewalk. You hit the cracks, so before you set up for a jump you just fall.”
In hopes to create more of a local skateboarding community, Beaton said that he is in the works of mustering up all that he can to start a club at KSC.
Beaton worked as a skateboard instructor at Rye Airfield Skate Park in Rye, New Hampshire, this past summer.
The KSC sophomore said that he envisions a KSC skate club to take a trip every Friday or Saturday to truly be able to fulfill his, and other’s passion for the sport.
“I was thinking I could take the drive-safe course here and get a bus to get a bunch of kids here to get down there for a few hours,” Beaton said.
It is roughly a two-hour trip from Keene, but Beaton is more than willing to make the haul, as long as it means he and other skaters can fully let loose without restrictions.
On the KSC campus as well as downtown Keene, Rogers said he has been kicked off of both premises for riding his skateboard.
Rogers said part of him understands the danger but at the same time, as Brown stated, it is not dangerous to those who know what they’re doing.
“They say it’s for transportation only, but it’s like where are we supposed to go?” Beaton asked.
“I’m pretty sure every skateboarder on campus has had a problem because there is nowhere to skate.”
In the meantime, Rogers said he does what he can to keep up the creativity with what he’s got. He explained that he and his friends take garbage cans when they’re skating on the basketball courts near the Spaulding Gym.
“As long as we take them, use them, don’t break them and put them back where we found them, no one really cares,” Rogers said.
However, while it gets the job done for now, Rogers, Brown and Beaton said they would love to see an all-concrete park, “with a nice bowl in it would be rad as hell,” Rogers said.
“In all hopes, an on campus skate park would be really sick, but I don’t think it would ever happen.”
As of now, the skaters expressed that while they work with what they’ve got, they would still like to see an expansion of skate-friendly atmospheres. One big idea—Beaton’s push for the club.
“I’d be willing to give lessons. I want people to know that I have a good connection with Rye and whoever is willing to skate, I’d be willing to go drive down there and bring a crew,” Beaton said.
“Don’t be afraid to come up to us if you see us skating, no one is heckling you unless it’s someone encouraging you.”
Rebecca Farr can be contacted at email@example.com