Skating into Aledo


  He left the freshman building and put his skateboard on the ground. The top was black with a white Grim Reaper design plastered in the middle. The back showed a man in mid-air, dunking the Earth into a basketball hoop.

   He put his headphones in, hopped on and skated all the way to the main building. He could finally let loose. Just for a moment, he was back in Vegas.

   That’s when she stopped him. 

   “What just happened?” Assistant Principal Jennifer Lawler asked. 

   He didn’t think much of it. “I just wanted to be on my board.”

   She told him that wasn’t allowed. 

   But he was allowed to skate in Vegas. 

   The day was bad enough already. He wasn’t used to all of the change that Aledo brought him. He didn’t know if he would ever be used to it.

   In an attempt to take back the one thing connecting him to Vegas, he asked if there was a rule that said he couldn’t skate. She said no, but there was an “implied rule.”

   So he got off his board and walked into the building.

   This definitely wasn’t Vegas.

   “I moved here because my Mom got a job as a chef at the Drover Hotel in Fort Worth,” junior Mason Griffith said. “It’s weird moving here. Vegas is like a party city, it’s not like small town Aledo.”

   Even transportation was different.

   “Vegas is a walking town,” Griffith said. “You can get everywhere just by walking for 10 minutes. Then you’re at your best friend’s house. Here, everything is like an hour away and you have to have a car.”

   Luckily for Griffith, his friend in Vegas got a car and didn’t need his board to get around anymore.

   “About six months ago, I was out with my friend and we were just driving around, listening to music in the car,” Griffith said. “He was saving up for an apartment at the time, and I was talking about how I was saving up to get a skateboard. He was like, ‘You can have my skateboard! It’s in the back of my car right now.’”

   He couldn’t believe it. Griffith thanked him and a little while later, he called to thank him again.

   “I fell in love with skating about a month before summer,” Griffith said. “I started going to the skatepark because all of my friends went there and I started getting slandered for not skating at the skatepark. So I started learning how to skate, but I still couldn’t go down the ramps or anything.”

   That didn’t stop him from trying.

   “One day, me and my friends were all laying around and I looked at the drop and I was like ‘I’m gonna do it,’ and I go up there and am about to do it, and my friends are all like ‘Don’t do it Mason, you’ll die. Don’t do it.’” Griffith said. “So I went to the other drop right next to it and they said to do that one. I fell and hurt my leg so badly. I fell right on my hip. But I got up, and I did it again. I did it like eight times until I got it. And then I went to the other side and did it over there.”

   Griffith didn’t consider the fall an injury. He claims to have had only one so far. It was on the route to the skatepark.

   “So, to get to the skatepark you go on one of the busy streets near the hills.You have to go through a trail to get to the park and there’s this straight downhill thing on the street we go down, and there was a grate sticking out and up and I didn’t see it,” Griffith said. “It was right next to the cement line so I slowed down, hit the grate and flew forward off my board and hit the inside of my knee. I had to limp in the middle of the road to get my board after I had fallen and hit my head, my chin and my knee. Then I limped back to the sidewalk and sat down for like three minutes, got up and limped to McDonald’s. It was like 200 feet away and took me 10 minutes to get there because it hurt so bad. It was quite a fall.”

   Still, nothing could stop Griffith from skating. He moved from Vegas at the end of May, but it was back and forth while he helped his mom move in during the summer. One particular trip stood out.

   “I drove up to Vegas with my uncle for four or five days. It was a road trip – a fun road trip – but it took so long and all I wanted to do was get back there as soon as possible because all of my friends are up there. I wanted to get there. But they’re all like, ‘Oh, let’s stop at Roswell and go get hatch pepper chilis,’ and I’m like ‘Guys, let’s go!’”

   Griffith tried to get all the time in Vegas that he could. He knew summer was coming to an end. When it did, all Griffith had left of the city was his board. He looked at the Grim Reaper on the top and thought about how things were back in Vegas. He didn’t know all of what he was missing out on, but he did know one thing.

   At least they were allowed to skate in Vegas