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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Skate Campus

According to McIntosh, UMB is more for recreational skating,
not to make huge tricks

According to McIntosh, “UMB is more for recreational skating, not to make huge tricks”




Just 25 years ago, skateboarding wasn’t even recognized as a sport by the majority of America. Man, how things have changed. It is now one of the most popular sports in the country and it’s catching on with kids who seek alternatives to the pressure-packed and expensive worlds of baseball, basketball, and football. While it still requires athletic ability, it has a more laid-backvibe than a team sport, and that is what’s causing its rapid climb in participants from only a few years ago.

No one’s calling Boston a first-rate skate city, but if you dig a little under the surface you can find some great spots. Even our campus has some cool locations to bust tricks or carve a new line. The best spot on campus is the set of four concrete stairs between the Campus Center and Wheatley, but the metal bleachers at the track are also used quite a bit. The campus has good features but certain aspects of its infrastructure make skating difficult. According to sophomore Kadeem McIntosh, “Just the fact that you have the foot by foot grids all over campus, when you try to skate on it there’s a lot of cracks on the ground, it’s not really a skatefriendly campus.” He added, “The elevation here is very high, so if I want to skate a set, I’m jumping down like 36 stairs[…] I wish it was a little more skate friendly so I can go in and around campus.”

In the UMB area, according to McIntosh, “The best place to skate on is the track. It’s very smooth. It’s very easy to skate on.” He continued, “The problem with the Wheatley stairs are that people sit there, and even if they were empty they’re hard to skate on because they’re not concrete. There are too many cracks to make it easy to land tricks.”

While it may not be a prime skating spot, at least skateboarding is condoned at UMB. The sometimes illegal sport won’t get you in trouble with campus police. Chief James Overton said, “There are no known rules right now against skateboarding. It is not prohibited[…] it has to be done safely and it has to be done so it isn’t destructive, and it can’t obstruct the safe passage of pedestrians on campus.” He added, “A lot of the laws against skateboarding just boil down to if they’re doing it in places that aren’t safe. As long as it’s being done in a safe manner and it’s not bothering anyone we’re not gong to say anything.”

So if UMB is only so-so for skating, what are some solid places to go near campus?According to McIntosh, “UMB is more for recreational skating, not to make huge tricks[…] there are gems in the area, however, like Copley Square, the Mass. Ave. Courts, and Shawmut Station.” He stressed, “There are definitely spots but if I asked someone, ‘Hey, you know where I can skate?’ nothing would immediately pop into their minds.”

So what is the solution to the problem of not having a prime skate spot in Boston? Well there have been plans for a while for a massive new 40,000-square foot complex called the Charles River Skatepark, but construction continues to get pushed back and as of now the ground hasn’t been broken and there is no opening date scheduled. Hyde Park and Arlington have skate parks, but they’re both treks from downtown and UMB. For now, skating in the city will mostly rely on word of mouth between skaters, but that shouldn’t be a problem. According to Mcintosh, “Skating has no age or racial barriers, I’ve skated with Muslims, other Black kids[…] I’m seeing a collective union, we’re not skating separately, we’re all together.” With the sport continually becoming more of a mainstay in American culture, don’t expect that union to shrink anytime soon, and expect Boston to become a bigger force in the skating world over the next few years.