Skate parks for roller skaters who are afraid of everything

Published on: July 20, 2022 at 6:00 am EDT

Jacob Gerth skates back and forth on a mini-half pipe at Sandy Hills Skate Park.

Just a few months before the quarantine roller-skating craze left shops empty of the chic four-wheeled boots with wheels, I decided this was going to be my new hobby.

Throughout my life, I have picked up and then immediately forgotten activities that would make up my entire personality for a short while — from oil painting to bass guitar playing to earring making.

“But this time it will be different!” I told my parents, who have the remnants of my previous interests in their home, after they questioned my newfound passion.

And so I acquired my little boots and have now been skating for two years. Am I good? No. Am I still extremely afraid whenever I lace up my all-pink skates? Absolutely.

But that does not stop me from going to a skate park for about two hours, gathering the courage to go down one teeny-tiny ramp, then leaving immediately because I fell and got embarrassed.

So while I am not the most-experienced or even bravest skater, I have collected some spots around Baltimore throughout my journey that I enjoy — even if I wipe out a few times.

This Reisterstown park is small and usually quiet. Every time I have gone, there was always at least one six-year-old gliding laps around me with an encouraging mother that probably needed her own words more than her very young, and usually fearless, child.

I love this park for its mini half-pipe that is perfect for practicing how to pump, the skill used for gaining speed without lifting your feet. This feature, plus the usual emptiness of the park, is perfect for those of us who are shy and easily embarrassed. However, since I have shared this secret with everyone, please let’s coordinate times so we can avoid each other there.

Located right next to the gorgeous Centennial Lake, this skate park in Howard County has a bit more traffic. During the warm months, people walk by constantly, but I have never seen the park itself get too busy. This skate spot has ramps from mini to large and some grind rails. It’s good if you want to take the next step and receive tips from kind skaters who may be nearing the end of their skateboarding ventures.

Similar to Hannah Moore, this park in Landsdowne has its own mini half-pipe ramp. What makes it stand out however, is the nearby concrete course and bowl that bikers and skaters can practice rolling around, pumping and other tricks. For transparency, I am not brave enough yet to try this out. It is on my radar, though, and I plan on trying it soon before I talk myself out of it. I do recommend this for roller skaters who have more confidence than me because it does look really fun!

This park in Beltsville is not very close to Baltimore, but it is one that I visited a few times while I was in college at the University of Maryland College Park. Unlike the others, Sunnyside has a smoother surface and a medium-sized bowl. It’s a good place to practice going up and down ramps while trying to build up courage to use the bowl. Whenever I visited, there were always people younger than me who were extremely OK with falling, so you’re in good company if you are a frequent tumbler!

Breaking News Alerts
Get notified of need-to-know
info from The Banner

Now, this is what I always imagined when I pictured “skate park.” Local roller skaters I admire on Instagram all skate here. These are the people whose videos forced me to sustain this hobby for as long as I have simply because of how cool they looked.

This concrete spectacle near Roosevelt Park is literally my dream skate arena. It has gorgeous murals, paintings and other graffiti on the tan pavement. The bowl is deep, wide and scary.

You may have already guessed this, but I have not skated here, either. But the day my cow-print decorated wheels touch this pavement, that’s how I will know that I have defeated my cowardice.

Hopefully, in another two years, I will have already been blessed with courage by the Wizard of Skate Park Oz, and you will be able to catch me rolling around bowls and half-pipes with the wind blowing through my bright blue helmet.

Taneen Momeni is a photography intern at The Baltimore Banner.

Read More: