By Valentina Diaz
V. Diaz, a journalist and passionate skateboarder is a full-time writer for SHIT®️ Magazine.
Laguna Vista is a town in Cameron county in Texas, a place that is said to be a quiet place, as its website said, "Come visit, stay forever". It's also known by its golf ground, flora, fauna and the Mexico Gulf landscape.
It doesn't have a huge skateboarding scene like other Texas places, but there is a location that maintains an skateboarding scene in town, the Gwen Bowl, located in the Cross Church.
Last week, most of the members felt sad because of church news about demolishing this park, so skateboarders expressed their disgruntlement after a public message on Facebook. "Save Gwen!" the words of Rob Nixon on his post.
A Call To Save The Gwen Bowl
They were asking for a dialogue to look for a solution to preserve the historic memory of LV skateboarding, skateboarders have suggested a bowl rebuild, and with all the peoples support, the Senior Pastor Don Ceglar joined the call.
As a church representative, he said that he had to ask a congregation at a business meeting, "with liability in mind and the draw that would be for the church into the community because a lot of skateboarders weren’t coming to church", said Pastor Ceglar to the Valley Central media, then he announced that this place will be donated to skateboarders.
In the post comments were some testimonies from skaters who said that they had started there. The Gwen bowl let many people encounter skateboarding for the first time since 2006.
"That’s the first bowl I dropped in on as a child. My dad told me if I wanted to be a skater and being a girl I had to start off by going all-in not just riding a board. Best daughter and father memories shared there and I hope I can pass those memories down to my children", Angela Daigle said in a post.
The park is named to honor Gwen McCormack, a girl who had an accident, "she was hit by a truck, skating home from the library, at the intersection near the bowl", explained Becky McCormack.
A Collective Work Between Church and Skateboarding Community
Gwen Bowl has been a public skatepark since its beginnings, so Nixon will work to keep it like that, but first all the community will need to stay united together to save the spot.
It was very popular fifteen years ago, it also helped the skaters to appropriate this space and save it to rewrite a new history there.
“It was the first public concrete skate spot ever built in South Texas and is historical in that respect", said Erick Brattin, a SPITS member.
Nowadays, the bowl is too old, the concrete is worn concrete and looks like a traditional American pool that needs to be repaired. That’s why they became united to save it and make it better.
Nixon, the founder of the nonprofit South Padre Island Texas will be in charge of building the bowl with the skateboarders' help from the surrounding area. Brattin explained to the Valley Central that he "raised money through various fundraisers to build a safe public place to skate".
As the Church states, the place will be for skateboarding but the resources to make it requires donations, collective work and a new idea for the bowl.
It is important to mention that the place will have rules to maintain a good communal living between both communities, to respect and do sports in a constructive environment as a benefit for the youth.
When things like this happen in a small town it becomes a link to stay together again, as they did 14 years ago, if the church wasn't thinking about demolishing it, it may be that the community wouldn't wake up.
The proof is that now, both communities are going to work together to bring the new generations a place to learn and enjoy skateboarding. It is a special case, because it is the church that has donated this place to skateboarders, helping in keeping it alive.