BERKELEY – Waiting for their turns, kids did minor tricks and talked, goofed off and fist bumped each other for luck. Meanwhile, the sounds of wheels clapping the ramps provided a chaotic beat to the music playing. An announcer gave in-game commentary and lead the spectators in cheering the riders on.
It was all part of the Jonmarco Gaydos Scooter Competition, named after a Brick teen who won the 2019 World Scooter Championship.
As for the adults watching from the sidelines, some were old hat at this and some were being introduced to it for the first time.
Last year, Nicole Nagy came here to support her son’s friend. They had a good time so this year they came out just to watch.
Teresa O’Shea came down from Bergen County to watch her grandchildren. “They love this,” she said. Although, watching it made her very nervous, wanting to catch the riders if they looked like they were going to fall.
The Bayville First Aid Squad had an ambulance nearby, and all participants were required to wear protective gear.
There were dozens of people (and a few dogs) in attendance. Veterans Park is a big area, and it also hosted Little League games and a collection of food trucks at the same time.
This location is welcome to the families in the area, said Jonmarco’s father, John Gaydos. The Incline Club in Lakewood was shut down, later becoming a supermarket, leaving one less place for riders and skaters. He thanked Councilman Angelo Guadagno for stepping up and finding a home for the young athletes.
Father and son took time out to speak to a reporter during the Pee Wee (9 and younger) portion of the competition. “This sport has nothing to do with age. It’s about persistence and pushing yourself,” the father said.
Jonmarco, wearing a World Champ shirt and a brace on his ankle, spent some of the competition watching the younger riders. He liked the direction the competition was heading.
“It’s trying to be bigger and better next year. They built a park for everyone to ride and it’s amazing,” he said.
He was very humble about having an entire competition named after him.
“I’m honored, really,” he said. “It’s definitely difficult when you’re at the top. You’re held to very high standards you have to maintain. I wouldn’t be able to be at the top without the support of everyone today.”