The wind is blowing, and the ground is full of sticks and colorful leaves that have fallen from the trees. It is 1:50 p.m. and students are walking everywhere on campus. Some fly across the sidewalks with their transportation wheels, all of them giving the campus a life that it has been missing for the last 50 minutes.
This is Goshen College’s “rush hour.” Students have only 10 minutes to fly from one side of the campus to the other.
In the current rushed life of students, is there anything that can top that?
During the late 1940s to early 1950s, skateboards were invented as a substitute for surfboards on dry land. Skateboards were created for fun at first, but the market and culture for them has grown so much through the years that skateboarding is slated to appear as an official sport in the Olympics of 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.
Along with a rise in global demand for skateboards, Goshen College has seen a similar rise in the number of its skate riders on campus through the years.
Jesse Amstutz, a senior, said, “I think around 25-30 students own boards and ride boards a couple times a week at least.”
“There were only two guys who skated on campus. One had a longboard and the other had a skateboard” said Mohammad Rasoulipour, class of 2013, about his observations of Goshen College campus back then.
“Usually when I go to the cafeteria, there is always almost 10 skateboards in front of the door.” said Anya Igel, a sophomore ASL and Bible and religion double major.
Skateboarding has always been mostly a male dominant activity, evidenced by the seven interviewees talking about their experience with skateboarding growing up.
“There has definitely always been more males [skating],” said Madeline Kauffman, a junior social work major, “Most people I knew riding longboards or any kind of boards were mainly males.”
As riding skateboards became something “cool” for young people to do, as most of the GC skaters said, more and more youngsters made it their long-life goal to learn how to skateboard.
Mags Dutchersmith, a senior and a recent boarder, finds bikes inconvenient to get around campus since finding a place to lock them and having a wet bike seat after rain is “annoying.”
“Skateboards are a good compromise because it’s speedy and it’s a grab-and-go thing and you don’t have to find a place to lock it up,” Dutchersmith said.
According to Chad Coleman, director of campus safety and housing operations, since board theft has not been an issue on our campus so far, Campus Safety does not have any plans to face such situations except to receive a missing report on them. “Students tend to take better care of their boards because they go with them everywhere,” Coleman said.
Coleman has been in dialogue with Physical Plant about having skateboard parking racks in some buildings on campus like the dining hall.
Although boarding is fast and less vulnerable to theft, accidents are the first and most common downside to boards. Those scenarios can be mastered soon enough as well.
“The more you board the more you make your falls intentional and you get better at falling… there are Youtube videos on falling that teach you how to fall.” said Evan Krabill, one of the few skateboard trick enthusiasts on campus.
Sticks on sidewalks are one of the biggest hazards.
“I have the scars to prove that sticks have a personal vendetta against people on wheels,” said Kailey Rice, a junior who owns several boards. “You never see them when you are riding and suddenly you are on the ground because one got caught in your wheel.”
On that note, look out for those sticks on the ground and keep cruising your way to your next class (before the weather gets too harsh).