by Celestina Marinez
There is a history to Pueblo’s “WOW” (“Warriors on Wheels”) Club, which has transitioned to “Smokeout Skateboards”, an organization that currently has a Facebook page. They even promote their club on their own t-shirts.
Unfortunately, not many people have seen these t-shirts because of the printed illegal paraphernalia: cigars in the shape of skateboards as well as “a lot of smoke” on the front of these shirts, which might be construed by some as “a disruption of the educational process”—as they are banned from Pueblo’s campus.
Daniel Coronado Solis, a senior, made the initiative to turn a small group of skateboarders into an official club, thanks to their sponsor Mr. Gene Balsz.
For one year, WOW was very visible on Pueblo’s campus, doing their tricks and spinning their wheels. However, the club was dissolved when administrative support for the skateboarders waned.
Solis said, “At first Mr. R. [Rosthenhausler] seemed supportive. However, after a year or so of promising us a spot on campus to skate, eventually we were told by administration that we could no longer skate because of possible injuries.”
“It was kind of depressing to all of the skaters because we couldn’t do what we loved most,” Solis said. “Our lunch time became very sad.”
Armando Alcoverde, another senior who was been with the club for about a year, said that he, too, was devastated when the skateboarders were told not to skate anymore.
“I’ve always used skateboarding as a great way to relieve stress and anxiety,” Alcoverde said. “One day, when I was practicing new tricks on campus before classes started, I landed on the skateboard wrong, and as a result, my board went flying and my head hit the cement—enough to give me a Level One concussion.”
Alcoverde said that he was sent home after his injury, which he describes as “the lowest form of concussion”.
Soon after this incident, Rosthenhausler put a red light to the club, citing that they were insurance liability to the school.
Freshman Santiago Estrella is new to the club this year, even though officially the club doesn’t exist at Pueblo. However, Solis insists that his Smokeout Skateboard is the new “WOW”.
“I would like to bring back WOW to Pueblo, officially, next year as sophomore,” Estrella said. “We are going to have to be persuasive with Pueblo’s administrators—and somehow convince them that we are worthy of having our own club again. Maybe if we promised to wear protective gear, they might listen to us.”
“If a student gets hurt in football or another core sport, administrators don’t cancel these clubs,” Estrella said. “Many students have had concussions from other sporting events, and yet they continue at Pueblo?”
Our skateboarders are still trying to persuade Rosthenhausler for a permanent location for them to practice their trade. There is no word yet if students will be allowed to spin their skateboard wheels on campus next year.
“Even though I’m graduating in May,” Alcoverde said, “I would love to leave a legacy—and that is to see a skateboard club reinstated here at Pueblo.”