By Heather Morgan
Published in The Scene, Menasha, Wisconsin
A teenage John Pearson was about 24 hours out from having his wisdom teeth pulled, but he couldn’t resist meeting up with a fellow “skate rat” for an afternoon of skateboarding – in the Stevens Point municipal pool (emptied out for the off-season). John had just taken a hard fall, and felt the warm taste of blood fill his mouth as he climbed out of the pool. As he leaned over to spit a big red loogie, he heard a booming voice: “Party’s over boys. You’re under arrest.”
That was 1987, and it wasn’t the only time John, now 40 and still a huge skateboarding enthusiast, was arrested for his prolific skateboarding crimes. Once, when he was arrested in Wisconsin Rapids, his citation read: “Offense: Jumping a Fire Hydrant.” Back then, if you wanted to skate, you found the nearest smooth curb, emptied out pool, or loading dock to practice your skills. Only a couple of skateboard parks existed in the entire country, and there sure wasn’t one in Central Wisconsin.
As the saying goes: “If your city doesn’t have a skatepark, your whole city is a skatepark.”
Well, it only took 25 years from that day Pearson and his friend got arrested in the Municipal Pool, but skaters now have a sanctioned – and world-class – place to skateboard in Stevens Point.