Skate park great — for kids who can skate

By Grant McGee: Local columnist

The new skate park is open in Clovis. It’s over at Greene Acres Park. The Lady of the House and I toodled over to the new place to have a look. Sure enough, there were lots of kids there — about 20.

That’s a lot for Clovis. Tall boys, short boys, up a ramp, over a table, zipping across the cement on skateboards and in-line skates.

We had arrived there in time to see two guys helping another kid over to a table. He was hopping along, nursing what must’ve been a twisted ankle. Yep, that would have been me if skate parks had been around when I was a kid.

I never perfected my skating skills. Maybe it has something to do with my long legs or maybe it’s that I’m just not that coordinated. Maybe it’s genetic.

My mom had her two front teeth knocked out at a skating rink when she was a kid. I only know this because one time when I was little I walked in the bathroom when she was brushing her teeth and she had her bridge out. She turned around and I saw this stranger in my mother’s place with this big gap in her teeth. I screamed, the hair on my head stood straight up.

OK, maybe my hair didn’t stand straight up but I did scream. My mom laughed and laughed.

My brother was the skateboarder of the family. This was back when the wheels on skateboard wheels were metal. It was 1965 and skateboarding was new. When he was home from college in the summertime I tried my hand at using his skateboard; after all, if my brother could do it I could too. Turns out I couldn’t.

I got a lot of skinned knees and stuff. I found out I could have more fun if I sat on the skateboard and rode it down hilly sidewalks and streets. Stopping was tougher while sitting on a skateboard; I burned some skin off of my palms. I went back to riding down hills on my Radio Flyer red wagon.

When I was a teenager the groovy place to hang out was the local skating rink. My buddy Catfish was having a lot of luck meeting “hot” girls there. A “hot” girl was one who was pretty good looking and was easy to kiss on, but that’s a whole other story.

Anyway, I decided I would try the skating rink too; after all if Catfish could meet lots of girls there, surely I could! Thing was, Catfish could roller skate.

I watched him in action. He’d go out there in the rink and zip around effortlessly, easing over to the girls and casually chat with them while skating.

I’d go out in the rink and had to concentrate on staying up. Oops! Almost fell over. Oops! Almost ran into a bunch of other skaters. There was no way I was going to have a casual chat with a roller skating girl, much less meet a “hot” girl.

I would face the same problem as an adult years later while trying to dance the two-step. I had to watch my feet while repeating the steps over and over in my head; “Step, touch, step, touch, walk, walk.”

It’s good to see a skate park in Clovis. It gives the kids something to do.
Those who can skate, that is.

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: