BERKELEY – Although they are solo sports, there is a lot of camaraderie.
Berkeley hosted an Action Sports Competition at Veterans Park, where athletes of all ages and skill levels showed their stuff on scooters and BMX bikes. The competition was named after Jonmarco Gaydos, a premiere scooter rider from nearby Brick.
Parents lined up around the outskirts of the town’s skate park, which had been designed with input from local pros. You wouldn’t see the typical “soccer parent” ripping on the opposing team and cursing. Instead, you would see parents and friends cheering on their kid…or someone else’s.
“Everyone’s cheering everyone else on – even the competitors,” said Councilman Angelo Guadagno, who oversaw the event. That’s what set this apart from other sporting events.
Other parents agreed. Kenny Lewis’ son Evan was competing on his scooter that day. He said the players and parents in this sport are like a family.
When the Incline Club in Lakewood closed, it took one important place off the map for these kinds of sports. The skate park in Berkeley has filled that void for some.
The kids all talk and figure out what skate park to go to, and then it becomes a meet-up of five or six families, Lewis explained. That’s what’s created this closeness between the athletes.
“It’s more about getting together and enjoying yourself rather than winning,” he said.
This “family” is very big, and they will travel from all over for this. Going to a skate park in New Hampshire or Maryland is not out of the question. The Lewises came from Middletown. That’s what you do for your kids when they love what they’re doing, and get such a boost of confidence in performing.
When a kid fell down, there was a small group that would gather to make sure he was all right. And the announcer, who was offering a play-by-play, would ask for the crowd to cheer the kid on when he got back up.
The competition was held off a week since the previous weekend was threatening rain. Guadagno said it didn’t hurt the attendance pushing it off a week and combining two days of events into one.