Wenatchee, Washington -- 04/23/2002|
If you're heading out to the Wenatchee Skate Park with a scooter
or bike, you'd better pack a lunch - it might be awhile. Since skate
boarders are running out of places to do their ollies, nose grabs,
kick flips, board slides, and Benny Hannas, they are protective of
their turf. Besides, isn't bike riding supposed to be prohibited on
the concrete course?
"I feel it should only be for skateboarders because we really
put in the time," said Mike Pottorf, 20. - Good point.
Pottorf, a skateboarder since he was 13, was involved with
the months or even years of local skateboarders' fund-raising
efforts prior to the park's opening in the fall of 1997.
Though there were a couple of grumblings about improvements that
need to be made to Skate Park, many of the skaters, like Pottorf,
said they are thankful for what they have.
And why not? It beats dodging traffic, like Nick Hill,
also 20, said he did when he was 12.
"There was no place to skate but the street," Hill said.
Pottorf says most guys on two wheels aren't on the same
page as skateboarders at the park. It takes a skateboarder
to know one. If bikers don't know what the skaters are
going to do - and vice versa - the ensuing collision could be
a painful one. And it isn't likely the skater is going to come
out of it in better shape.
These guys take enough of a beating as it is.
"Anytime we come to skate, we know there's a possibility
we're not going to walk away," Pottorf joked. "
I guess that's why they call it an extreme sport."
As many times as the regulars at Skate Park have been injured,
they keep coming back. Pottorf has broken his ankle a couple of
times, but says he has seen worse - like cracked-open heads.
KC Mauk, 20, was out there sharpening his skills on the tri-spine,
an awkward obstacle on the course, just a couple of months after he
fractured his elbow. Before that, he was doing it in a splint.
Troy Lawton, 14, another regular at the park, said his worst injury
was a broken thumb last year nothing compared with the fingernail
he saw torn off along with half the skin on another kid's pointer.
"Usually when you eat it, you're doing something pretty big,"
With those kinds of horror stories, it might be hard to believe many
of them are in a hurry to get out there. Many of the school-age kids
are at the park by 3:07 p.m, like Justin Lessard, 13, who goes to
school right next door at Pioneer Middle School. A lot of the older
guys are there throughout the day.
Yes, they're a different breed. But they have a connection.
It's not really about being the best, or even doing it better than the
next guy. Sometimes it's like playing "PIG" or "HORSE" on the
basketball court. One guy does something, then the other tries.
Glen Wait, 18, is something of a teacher out there
not like a know-it-all, but in a laid-back sort of way.
Having spent as much as six hours a day skateboarding,
he has something to pass along. And the others listen.
They help each other out. They share techniques, offer suggestions,
or just say "yeeaaah" when someone lands a big one. Hill said they
even take the beginners under their wings watch out for them, keep
them safe, show them some pointers.
"We're not here to be better than anybody," Pottorf said.
"We're here because we like it." And they are there because
it's their place.
CC - By Eric Gordon Wenatchee World sports writer.