I was born just 2 months after my dad lost his younger brother in a motorcycle accident. My whole life all I kept hearing was “No one in this family will own or ride a motorcycle y punto!” So I switched it up and went another route: something cheap, accessible and with four wheels. In my mom’s and family’s eyes, it was the devil’s creation. I earned some money, saved it and bought me a skateboard!
It went with me everywhere, from school to school, to baseball practice, friends’ houses and more. Skateboarding blew up all over the neighborhood and country. I remember skating in a park and a girl told some of the skaters if they jumped ten stair-steps she would kiss them. I was in, all the way. “I’ll do it!”
I was sure that Hollenbeck Park, where my parents met, first kissed and took their wedding pictures, would be where I‘d kiss too. My hands were sweaty, my legs shaking but a kiss awaited me down the steps. I tested it out several times and then took the plunge. Wheels rolling, back flip, up in the air, loss of control, falling to the ground and a long slide scraping my whole body all the way. My kiss was to the concrete. “I said if you made it, not if you fell!” Not only was I denied, I broke my hand and had scrapes all over.
But I didn’t stop. Month after month it was the same story, another broken hand, a twisted ankle. It was visits to the hospital and sobador marathons. The devil’s creation of a sport is bigger than ever now, with cities creating Safe Skate Spots for us to skate. East Los has some of the best spots. Go check them out and do it for the love of the game—not a kiss!
- Hollenbeck Park Skate Park, 415 S St Louis Street
- Belvedere Park Skate Park, 4914 E Cesar Chavez Avenue