An Interview with Keegan
Keegan has come to almost all of the Portage Family Skate Park Project meetings. He'll be going into 8th grade this year and got his first skateboard when he was only 3 years old but it wasn't until he was 9 that he really learned how to skateboard.
"My dad is a skateboarder so it's something we did because he did. I was 9 when I really started paying attention and did my first ollie." Keegan continued talking but I had to ask him to slow down and explain something.
I asked: "What is an Ollie?" He smiled patiently and answered with a smile, "Oh, well an ollie is basically jumping with the skateboard. It's when you pop yourself up with the board." I nodded and said, 'Oh! You mean when you kinda jump up a little and the skateboard comes of the ground?!" Yes! he nodded his head and said, 'You understand! " I told him I thought some people would be laughing when they read this and learn how ignorant I am. He said he didn't think they will and I guess I don't care if they do - I laugh at my ignorance from time to time myself, nice to have a chuckle once in awhile.
"What do you like best about skateboarding Keegan?" 'The extremeness of the sport. I mean, I'm an adrenaline junkie I guess. I like taking risks with my board and the rush it gives me. I like pushing myself and it's not a bad way to get a rush." I nodded in agreement. Do you enjoy any other sports Keegan? Well, I just started racing motorcycles, motor cross races and I'll probably get to play basketball this year."
It sounds like you're a busy person Keegan. Do you think you will ever become a competitive skater? "Competitive? Well, I sorta am now - I competed in a random competition at the Baraboo Skate Park when I was 12 and took 1st place. I couldn't participate this year because I was busy participating in fundraising for our own park this year. I'm excited about the Skate Park. I'm a street skater, there are vert skaters, ramp skaters and street skaters."
Will you be using the Skate Park then, if you are a street skater? "Yes! like I said I'm excited because our park is going to have steps and rails and that's what street skaters like, hills, steps and rails. I'll for certain be using the Portage Skate Park! I go to different skate parks in Madison, Monona and Milwaukee. The one in Monona has a pool nearby so I skate, swim and go skate again. It's great!"
Do you have a lot of skateboarder friends Keegan? "Oh, I'd say probably about 10 or so, there used to be more of us but some haven't stuck with it as long as the rest of us. That's ok, some I'm still friends with but they don't skate. Keegan said so far he's only had one injury while skateboarding. He broke his arm when he was younger, but it healed up just fine and is actually stronger than his other arm. It freaked me out more than hurt - but I got over it and it didn't stop me from skating or doing other things. The most common injury is a rolled ankle and that hasn't happened to me."
Will you be skateboarding and doing some tricks at The Taste of Portage this year? "Yes! anyone can come on the 24th and bring their board with them. My Dad is going to bring some ramps, rails and a grindbox." (that reminded me of a monkey with a box, you know - so I had to ask for an explanation) A grindbox is basically as wide as two or three park table benches and is raised up off the ground a little bit."
I really enjoyed talking with keegan at the potluck picnic we had for the first annual Youth Fundraiser Contest. I'm even more convinced we are moving in the right direction on behalf of the youth in our community. - June Paul, Secretary for the Portage Family Skate Park Project.