The hate they face: NHS skateboarders reflect on stereotypes


Danielle Hook and McKenzie Vitale

Teenage dirtbags. 

Insults like this have painted skateboarders as vandals and delinquents, looking for trouble. Perhaps, a stain on society. Ganner Hoffman, a skater, as well as a junior at NHS, opens up about this false image he and his community have been made out to be. 

“I have had so many experiences with people who don’t understand skateboarding and try to tear it down,” said Hoffman. “I’ve been screamed at and kicked out of places for skating, even when there aren’t any ‘No skateboarding’ signs. I’ve even been kicked out of places when I wasn’t skating just because I had my board with me.” 

When Hoffman was younger, he watched skateboarders from afar. The intensifying urge to be them, to be a part of their community grew and soon enough, on his ninth birthday his grandma gifted him his first board. This was the start of a new chapter for him. 

“Skateboarding has completely changed my life and how I view the world,” said Hoffman. “I have met so many amazing people from so many places and we all instantly got along because of our shared interest.” 

A similar story found its way for sophomore Rose Sterrett. For Sterrett, the interest in skating awoke within her in middle school after a night of scrolling through TikTok. Sterrett says the constant preteen desire to want to be something was satisfied through skating.

“It was something new I could learn and I was in middle school so I was really trying to find who I was.” Sterrett said, “It was something I could say I do like ‘Yeah, I skate.’” 

When Sterret moved to Noblesville and befriended her neighbor, already a skater, the opportunity to start skating fell straight into her lap. However, not everyone viewed this newfound passion in the same light.

“I was with my neighbor and we were going down the river walk in Noblesville, we were on the skateboards and this old woman started yelling at us,” Sterrett said, “She was saying, ‘You can’t do that here.’ As we’ve been doing this [there] for months and I’m certain my neighbor had been doing it longer than I had.”

While the experience only lasted a short time, the impact it left on Sterrett will be forever. 

“I was shocked at the moment and thought it was kind of funny, but also it was strange to me, “ Sterrett says. “Predominantly older generations can be so outwardly ignorant and rude toward people that aren’t harming them.”

This rudeness not only happens here in Noblesville, but seems to follow the skateboarders everywhere they go. 

“I have lived in Noblesville my whole life, but I have skated [in] other places and I am definitely treated differently depending on where I am,” says junior Cole Bailey.

“Lots of people feel skating is bad because it’s destructive or unsafe or whatever else they may call it,” Bailey says. “Many people who feel this way about skateboarding are not afraid to let you know when they see you.” 

These experiences have changed the way he skates, making the fun activity something you have to be cautious about enjoying. 

“I am more cautious and observant when I skate to avoid confrontation with people who may not like me but to also keep myself safe,” says Bailey. 

While outsiders may look down upon them, Sterrett applauds the community. 

“You can find really good people there. I really think people at skateparks are some of the best, you can see it. They all help each other.” said Sterrett. 

Not only is the skating community welcoming, but they take after each other. Located in the Forest Park skatepark, a mysterious fence full of broken shoelaces hangs ominously for everyone to see. 

“When I first saw it I was confused, but when I asked people why they were there, they just said people tied their broken laces on the fence. As far as I know it has no deeper meaning, but to someone else it might.” Hoffman said.

While some might be intimidated to skate after hearing such stories about the discrimination they face, Hoffman eases aspirational skaters worries.

“Everyone who wants to start skateboarding should. If they don’t know how, they should go to their local skate shop and get a board there.” Hoffman said, “Nobody should be scared to join the skateboarding community because there’s nothing to be scared of.”