Column: Skateboarding vs. Covid

Editor’s note: This column was named honorable mention personal column in the 2022 TAJE Best in Texas contest. 

I was skating around my neighborhood passing by all the houses made of brick. I looked down at the recently completed road and decided to try to do an Ollie by jumping in the air with both my feet on my board. It was a trick that I had been trying to do for months, and in my head I told myself today is the day. It was a beautiful sunny day with a little breeze, the perfect weather for skateboarding. I stared down at my skateboard as I pushed the board forward. As I picked up speed, I bent my knees in preparation to jump. As I jumped I slid my feet forward and slowly my board and myself began to fall back to the ground. I heard the impact between concrete and wood and knew that I had finally landed my first Ollie. 

LISD had announced that school would be canceled for two weeks, but by this time- that was three weeks ago, and the cancellation period kept getting extended. 

I was tired of staring at the walls of my apartment and seeing the beautiful sunny days go by. I felt like opportunities were escaping me. 

Looking around my room I saw my skateboard that I got for Christmas. It’s Hulk graphic design caught my eye and I remembered how long it had been since I used it. I decided to pick it up and skate around my apartment complex, little did I know that this decision would change my life.

I skated every now and then at the skatepark, but never really made any friends there so I stopped going. A student at TCHS, Allex Sath, who also skated, noticed me going to the skatepark often. One day I was bored at home, and received a Snapchat from him telling me to meet him at the park.

My mind goes blank when skateboarding, I don’t think of anything,” Sath said. “It’s like an escape. 

During the beginning of quarantine, I struggled with anxiety due to the feeling of isolation I felt in my room. I was glad to find Sath, and be able to skate with a familiar face. I began skating at the skate park more and more often. 

Skateboarding gave me a sense of freedom. The more I went- the more people I met. The second member I met was Jacob Reeves. He had been skating before Covid, so he had skateboarding experience. The same day he met me, he helped me ollie  over a traffic cone. Although I fell when attempting to ollie over the cone, I learned that falling is a part of skating. Kind of like life.

Completing a “pop shuvit” a trick where you rotate the board in mid air. (Edward Estala)

Jacob is the one in the group that gives us advice about the tricks we are trying to do. He uses his past mistakes as a lesson and shows us what not to do when it comes to skating. Ever since then I started meeting more and more people through skating and eventually we formed a skate group that would meet as much as we could.                                                                                  

The skateboarding group came together at our local skatepark, The Colony Skatepark, and we started to become closer and closer the more time we spent together skating. We helped each other learn new tricks, face fears and overall grew as people together. 

Finally, instead of being stuck inside our houses during all of quarantine we decided to go out safely and make memories that would last us a lifetime. One of the group members is Allex Sath who was affected negatively by quarantine, and skateboarding gave him freedom. 

“Skateboarding gave me something to do besides playing video games and sleeping all day,” Sath said. 

Allex Sath at the skate park Sept. 9. (Edward Estala)

Jacob Reeves, another member of the skate group, also says that skateboarding gave him something to do. 

“If I didn’t skateboard I’d probably be in my room doing nothing,” Reeves said. 

Although skateboarding is fun- it’s not easy. Not only is skateboarding difficult physically, but also mentally. 

“Skateboarding is very difficult and takes a lot of time,” Reeves said. “Skating taught me not to give up so easily because if you keep trying you will eventually get it.” 

The sport of skateboarding deals with a lot of falls and can even lead to serious injuries, but it has the most impact on your mindset. Skating can release all your stress and anxiety in one skate session. 

This sport like many has lessons to teach you the more you progress. Skateboarding teaches you lessons that you could use not only for skating but for the rest of your life. Khamden Smith is a member of the skate group and expresses the lessons skateboarding has taught him. 

“Skateboarding teaches you dedication and self discipline,” Smith said. “There is no other competition except yourself when it comes to skateboarding.”  

I still can’t believe how much a piece of wood on wheels has changed my life. I can confidently say that skateboarding has changed my life for the better. In a time where it felt like the world was ending, or at least falling apart, skateboarding was able to give me peace. To make me feel like everything was going to be okay. It has taught me so much about overcoming fears, how to deal with stress and has given me so many memories to look back on. It brought me friendships and a sense of confidence. I hope that this article inspires someone to pick up a skateboard and make new memories that will last them a lifetime.