Skate wheels can’t roll in Chico

Illustration by Miles Huffman

Skateboarding has always had a controversial culture, but it is still a form of expression that Chico is suppressing.

Chico’s skate park is littered with drug addicts, campus is a no-skateboarding zone and the city has placed skate stoppers on every piece of architecture downtown. Sidewalks are for walking, but the streets are full of cracks and cars, so skaters are left in the dirt where wheels don’t roll.

While boarding a flight for San Diego with only a duffel bag and dangerplank — the scrap of wood I call my skateboard — the uprooted streets of Chico are on my mind. How anyone skates through those streets is beyond me.

Chico roads suck for skating.

Skateboarders view the world differently than most. It’s second nature to roll through life and size up every obstacle, railing and staircase in a city pondering how to defy gravity.

If the general public would stop judging skaters as rebels, they might perceive skateboarding as the creative outlet it truly is. Yet skaters cannot defy their sketchy stereotype when the only legal place to skate in Chico is a terrible influence.

Chico may be a college town, but the skate park is a local scene.

The neighborhood skate park seems infested with territorial drug addicts. The park is their territory, and an unfamiliar face threatens their haven.

But avoiding the scene that surrounds Chico’s concrete waves may cost a skater a ticket. Instead of busting hoodlums at the skate park, police are busting students who transport from class to class on four small wheels.

Skateboarding is not a crime until the city makes it one. If the city could clean up the park, perhaps skaters would stop grinding all over campus.

Students in Chico do not die from skateboarding.

But skateboarders often quite skating when hard drugs destroy their motivation to keep pushing down the street. And drugs kill.

I’m not talking about marijuana.

When the neighborhood park becomes an atmosphere where skaters can thrive and enjoy their passion without such an influence, then I will skate where I am supposed to skate. Until then, I will risk a fine and continue skateboarding on private property.

Skate or die.

Miles Inserra can be reached at [email protected] or @m_inserra on Twitter.