Get On Board
It’s early fall. The leaves are beginning to change to shades of crimson and pumpkin orange and the crispness that is to come can be faintly traced in the air. As the dinner rush from Nelson lets out and the evening air starts to cool, skateboarders gather on South Green, doing tricks on makeshift obstacles.
“The [park on] South Green is cool cause it’s right on campus, but as far as quality of park State Street has concrete,” says Joe Bartolotta, a senior studying marketing and journalism.
Although there is a concrete skatepark off East State Street, some Athens skateboarders don’t have the time to make the trek there, says Cameron Erickson, a junior studying integrated media.
“Well I would love to spend more time at the park, but it’s just like getting people to go is sometimes a pain,” Erickson says. “It’s just a pain getting there if you don’t have a car and whatnot. I spend more time at the courts on South Green, but if I could I would be at the park all the time, like if I had people to skate with there.”
The skatepark provides a different style of skateboarding than the courts offer, says Victor Runyon, a sophomore studying entrepreneurship.
“The Athens skatepark is mostly a transition park, meaning it consists of ramps and bowls, not as much street obstacles, like stairs and rails,” Runyon says.
Emmett Mascha, a senior studying international business and Spanish, appreciates the university’s acceptance of the skate community and the improvised park on the courts.
“I like that [Ohio University] is okay with the little training field on South Green. I think that’s very characteristic of a place in Athens,” Mascha says. “Some universities would look at that like an eye sore, although it’s used as much or more than the basketball courts that are adjacent, which definitely tells you something about the student base here–there’s a lot of skateboarders.”
The a ability present in the ever-growing Athens skate community is uncommon in skate communities of other cities, Erickson says.
“Everyone kind of skates together and everyone will skate with everyone,” he says. “There’s this group chat we have with 40 or 50 people in it and it’s always like ‘Hey who’s skating? Let me come.’”
Some skateboarders have specifically built “wooden obstacles” to be used among the Athens and OU skate community. Erickson and his friends have also contributed equipment.
“Without the courts on South Green, I feel like the Athens skate community — at least for the students — would not be nearly as close. It’d be pretty divided.”