Friday, June 22, 2007
Stunt skaters "ride the rails" Surprise early arrivals at the Carlisle School's eighth-grade dance
The Carlisle School was the scene for the "Skate the Hate" stunt-skaters contest last Saturday, June 16, the same night as the eighth-grade graduation dance. When parents arrived to set up for the dance, they were surprised to see over 40, mostly adult, rollerbladers throwing themselves down the railings lining the cement stairs, landing (upright or not) in the lower parking lot. The flattened daylilies on one side of the railings attest to the missed rides for some skaters. This type of skating is also called "aggressive" or "street" skating because skaters do stunts on stairs, curbs, low walls and handrails.
According to a poster advertising the event, participants were charged a five dollar entry fee. The competition included three categories: Old Man (25 and older), "Grom" (under 16), and Open Class (all ages). The three best in each division are invited to a regional meet in Montreal to be held July 7, which in turn is a qualifier for the "North America Continental."
The organizer, Gabe Holm, describes the success of last year's event, also held at the Carlisle School: "It was the only skate contest held that year in Massachusetts and rollerbladers from all over New England showed up for what turned out to be an amazing day of skating."
All afternoon skating
Skaters from as far away as Maine came to the meet on Saturday. It started at noon with registration and "warm ups." Each class of skaters competed at set times: Old Man at 1 p.m., Grom at 2 p.m., and Open Class at 4 p.m. There were numerous video cameras filming the event. Ramps and rails were set up in various spots on the plaza, at the back of the building, and in the bus parking area. The ramps gave the skaters "air," flying them up to the rails (see the web site: www.myspace.com/173010927) for a movie of the event).
Prizes were given for "lines" (tricks strung together), "gaps" (jumps and drops), and "falls" (landings), and there were plenty of all three, along with skaters missing the railings or slipping off. Three skaters watching the event may have had bad landings in the past: two were on crutches and one had a cast on his arm. A few elbow pads were worn but no helmets were to be found.
Overlap with school dance
The meet was scheduled to finish at 6 p.m. when "awards and prize give-aways" would be handed out. Around 6:30 p.m. one organizer said they were just about done, but needed to hand out prizes.
A Carlisle School custodian said the police had come by and asked them "to finish up." He said he wondered if the police were going to get them moving soon. The police dispatcher said one car had been "sent around" to the school to ask them to finish their meet.
At 6:45 p.m. Police Lt. Crowe, assigned to provide security for the dance, again asked the skaters to finish. They began shifting to Spalding Field to hand out awards, but some were still in the lot when eighth graders arrived for the graduation dance.
How or whether the skaters received permission to hold the event at the school is not clear. "I have no knowledge of this group and have not given permission to any group to use the plaza," replied David Flannery, Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds at Carlisle School. When asked about the police role in permitting the event, Carlisle Chief of Police John Sullivan said, "The school allows it." He added, "It's totally up to the school."
"I will look into the Skate the Hate group," said Principal Paul Graseck in an e-mail, and added, "I arrived at the dance at 7:45 p.m. and was not aware of the roller skaters."
© 2007 The