Roll With It

For Nixa students, skateboarding teaches resilience and how to take a hit


Kaitlyn Witts

“Although rewarding, skating has plenty of challenges at all levels of ability,” Collin Scott said.

Even after failed attempts to fund a skate park in Nixa, there is a local community of skateboarders who continue to pursue their passion, through pandemic, through injury and through frustration.
Junior Collin Scott has been skateboarding around the high school area since he started his freshman year, the activity giving him a way to build connections with other students without having to worry about impressing others.
“I got into skating through friends in Advanced Men’s Choir and seeing skaters in my neighborhood using whatever they could find to have fun and make friends,” Scott said. “Skateboarding has really allowed me to feel free, and show myself to the people around me.”
Junior Leila Deal doesn’t quite remember how she got into skateboarding, but she remembers being pretty young and wanting a board. Starting off by just sitting and going down hills, to getting her brother to join her in learning how to skate, her desire to learn has progressed over time.
“I’ve been skateboarding for about two or three years now. Usually I take breaks during the winter so there is some off time without any practice, but I try to get out as much as I can,” Deal said. “I got my first skateboard from Walmart when I was around 10 but never used it till later on. After learning on that board for about a year, I got the custom board I have now and still love it.”
Junior Jesse College tried to start skateboarding in third grade, but the skills needed were, at the time, out of reach. After the pandemic in 2020, he decided to get back on the board, ready to take whatever hits life decided to throw at him.
“I got into it cruising on a longboard, learning how to ride, and saw other people doing tricks and decided that it was way cooler to do that,” College said. “I wish people would’ve [told] me how much it beats you up. For the first 6 months, it’s nothing but falling and getting back up, but there’s many lessons to be learned from it.”
The sport can be exhilarating, but with every adventure comes a bit of danger. Skateboarders are no strangers to the risks that come with riding, but there are skills one can learn to prevent major injuries.
“I don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t gotten injured from skating,” Scott said. “Skateboarding has given me many bruises and scrapes, most of them coming after I had mastered riding the board and attempted my first tricks and stunts. Injuries in skating are one of the only ways to learn how to protect yourself in areas that might not have a pad or helmet. For one, learning how to position yourself during a fall can save you from broken bones, while wearing pants and hoodies can protect you from minor scrapes and burns.”
Skateboarding can teach one about themselves and others by putting different groups together in adrenaline filled situations.
“For me, skateboarding unlocked a part of myself I never knew I had,” Scott said. “It unlocked my drive and the ability to take hits in life and keep going. Part of learning was the community as well, skating brings out the true colors of people and allows people to come together who otherwise would never be close.”
Deal said being able to skate has given her new forms of freedom, whether it’s the feeling of being weightless or the ability to travel.
“Skateboarding always leaves a free feeling; being able to cruise down hills and glide across the road has always been fun,” Deal said. “It’s also a form of transportation instead of being confined in a car. It’s just been a passion for me since I was a kid.”
College said skateboarding can help one build the basic principles for everyday life, and how perseverance, as well as taking risks, are key for continuing to grow in almost everything.
“If you can forge your own self-discipline enough, to the point of forcing yourself through pain and anger, for one thing as simple as a board spinning beneath your feet, it’s very easy
to transfer those mental habits and tendencies to accomplish the much more daunting tasks in life,” College said. “Not to mention my favorite part of all single player sports, if you mess up — it’s always your fault. You and you alone are the only [thing] stopping you from succeeding. It’s taught me to commit to the things I never thought I could in life just because I took a leap of faith.”