Temples On-Campus Skateboarding Culture
According to section 10-610 of Philadelphia City law’s bill NO. 000147, skateboarding on public property is strictly prohibited. In the early 2000s Philadelphia began to crackdown on skateboarding throughout the city, restricting the activity from being performed on most of the common streets in Philadelphia and barring it from taking place in most parks as well. Failure to comply with the section can lead to consequences such as paying a fine or having your skateboard seized by Philadelphia Police.
Yet the underground sport of skateboarding over the years has thrived on Temple’s Ritter Quad. Skaters of all backgrounds gather inside the concaved plaza to perform tricks on the grindstone, down the stair sets, or along the flat brick covering the ground.
“Ritter Quad seems like the only place to skateboard seriously,” said junior education major Ian Nickisher. “Therefore it is the best.”
Nickisher, like many skaters, enjoys the athleticism required in order to perform. A simple manual—riding the board on two wheels—forces the body the contort in order to maintain balance. Similarly, a kickflip requires specific motion to pop the board off the ground while guiding it solely with the feet. “It requires concentration,” Nickisher said, “and takes your mind off of all of your other problems.”
Skaters will ride anywhere, yet student skaters congregate mainly at Ritter Quad for its proximity. The quad sits on the Temple campus, a short ride over from wherever students may reside or on the way from wherever they may be heading. Over the years these conveniences have allowed the quad to develop and mature into a dense culture rife with skating veterans and other skating communities.
Though skaters with fresh legs ride at Ritter Quad and non-skating students just hang around, many have been learning how to manage the board for most of their lives.
“I started skateboarding when I was in 7th grade because I loved the show Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory and got a skateboard for Christmas,” Nickisher said. “I would recommend it to people looking for a hobby that is difficult to learn.”
“I started skateboarding because my uncle had an old skateboard that I used to ride a lot since I was little,” said Colin Tims, a freshman engineering major.
The greatest challenges these skaters face are simply schedules and weather. On bad days the quad generally tends to be less crowded, but there are still a few out and about. With classes it can also be a challenge to find an opportune time to get there while it’s still bright out or before the weather turns sour, but when they get out of class, it’s right to the Quad.
They also use their boards for another more academic purpose: heading to class. Having a skateboard is a very cheap, easy, and convenient method of transportation from class to class.
“I would recommend it because it is a very easy way to move around,” Tims said, “I’ve actually noticed it becoming more common.”
Skating, though not a school-sponsored activity, remains a popular pastime among many within the Temple community. No matter what time of year and most times of day, Ritter Quad will have someone riding around. Many areas bar skating for its chance to damage property, but Ritter Quad persists. And students passing by or stopping to observe seem to be on board
Written by: Kayne Stoner
Photography by: Ethan Puth