Narrator 1: It is a sunny afternoon. After school, Erik Thomas and his sister, Steph, head to the Greenfield Shopping Plaza. Their friend "Wipeout" is waiting for them.
Narrator 2: The three teens ride their skateboards around the plaza. Erik decides to glide up a high curb.
Erik: (to Wipeout and Steph) Hey, guys. Check out my high air!
Narrator 1: Erik soars through the air. Then he lands right in front of a woman walking out of Johnson's Market. The woman screams. Her groceries fly everywhere. What Size Of Skateboard Should I Get | Do I Need
Wipeout: (to Steph) Uh-oh. That wasn't cool.
Steph: I think we'd better help her.
Narrator 2: Steph and Wipeout start to pick up the groceries. Meanwhile, Mr. Johnson rushes out of his store.
Mr. Johnson: Hey, you kids! Look what you've done. Now get off my sidewalk!
Narrator 1: Erik hops off his board and flips it up into his hand.
Erik: Dude, it was an accident.
Mr. Johnson: Well, you're scaring away my customers. I don't want you here!
Erik: We're not doing anything wrong! Besides, you don't own the sidewalk.
Narrator 2: Mr. Johnson points to a sign that says "No Loitering."
Mr. Johnson: Can't you read? Now beat it before I call the police!
Narrator 1: The three friends walk off with their boards.
Wipeout: This is so bogus! I bet Tony Hawk never has to deal with this.
Steph: Why did Mr. Johnson have to be so mean? Where are we supposed to go?
Erik: Just forget him. It's not worth the hassle. Let's go home. https://skateszone.com/wheels-still-spinning-skateboarding-legend-rob-dyrdek-continues-shred-despite-packed-schedule/
Narrator 2: Erik, Wipeout, and Steph are riding their skateboards home.
Narrator 1: Wipeout zips ahead of his friends and into the street.
Steph: Slow down, Wipeout! Watch out!
Wipeout: (looking over his shoulder) Relax! I'm just cruising. And I'm not allowed on the sidewalks, remember? I guess that just leaves me the street.
Narrator 2: Wipeout pushes his skateboard around a parked car. At that moment, a van turns the corner.
Narrator 1: The driver doesn't see Wipeout at first. Then the van screeches to a stop. Wipeout flies off the van's fender. His body hits the pavement, and his board goes flying.
Steph: Wipeout! Are you OK?
Narrator 2: Erik, Steph, and the van driver rush to Wipeout. He is lying on his back, holding his right leg. His face is bleeding.
Erik: Whoa, dude, that was bad.
Wipeout: Oh, man! My leg! It hurts!
Van driver: I'm so sorry! You came out of nowhere. I didn't even see you until you were right in front of me.
Wipeout: Ow-w-w! Someone find my board!
Narrator 1: The van driver pulls out his cellphone and starts dialing.
Van driver: Don't try to stand up. I'm calling an ambulance!
Narrator 2: A week later, Erik, Steph, and Wipeout visit Jefferson Skate Park. Erik and Steph are on their skateboards. They are trying out moves on the mini ramps, grind boxes, and vert ramps.
Narrator 1: Wipeout has a cast on his leg. He is sitting on a bench, watching his friends.
Erik: Hey, Wipeout! Check out my ollie!
Wipeout: You loser! Wait until I get off these crutches. My moves will put you to shame.
Erik: Just keep it up, Wipeout! You're living up to that nickname we gave you in third grade! Seriously, dude, getting hit by that van wasn't cool. Steph cried so much her eyes puffed up. She looked like something out of a horror flick.
Steph: Very funny, bro. You're lucky all you broke was your leg, Wipeout. Now our folks won't let us ride except at this skate park. And we won't be coming here too much, since it's a long drive.
Narrator 2: Steph and Erik jump off their boards and sit on the bench next to Wipeout.
Erik: You know, it would be cool if we had a skate park like this in Greenfield. Maybe we could ask Mayor Williams if the city could build one.
Wipeout: Yeah, right. Like they would really listen to us. They hate us. What they want is to run all the thrashers like us out of town!
Steph: I think it's an awesome idea! First we should start a petition to get the names of other kids who are down with it.
Narrator 1: Steph jumps to her feet. She paces in front of the two guys.
Steph: Erik, you could write a letter to the editor of the Gazette. Tell everyone how we need a safe place to skateboard ... and tell them it would also keep us out of their hair.
Erik: What have we got to lose? Let's do it.
Wipeout: OK. I'm in. So are we ready to roll?
Narrator 2: The next day at school, the teens meet with their classmates during lunch.
Wipeout: See, if we had a skate park, I wouldn't be on these dumb crutches.
Erik: Yeah, if we had a place to hang out, the business owners might not hate us.
Steph: I have set up a meeting with Mayor Williams for tomorrow. We all have to work together to pull this off.
Narrator 1: The next day, a large group of students crowds into the mayor's office.
Erik: (to Mayor Williams) We all like skateboarding a lot, Your Honor. And Wipeout here is really good. Well, he'll be good again when his cast comes off.
Narrator 2: The students laugh.
Erik: Wipeout and a lot of other kids might even have a chance at the X Games someday.
Wipeout: But we don't have anywhere to practice our skills. We want to see if the city will build us a skate park.
Steph: Some other towns have them. It will keep kids off the streets and give us a safe place to hang out.
Narrator 1: Erik presents Mayor Williams with the petition. It contains more than 300 signatures. He also hands the mayor a detailed report he has prepared.
Erik: This outlines our plans for a skate park. I did my research on the Internet.
Narrator 2: The mayor seems impressed. He thumbs through the petition. Then he glances at Wipeout's cast.
Mayor Williams: I can see that you have all gone through a lot of trouble--and pain--to make your point. I can see that you are serious about skateboarding.
Steph: You've got that right.
Mayor Williams: I have to be honest with you, though. The city doesn't have enough money to build a skate park.
Narrator 1: The teens moan.
Mayor Williams: However, I think we might be able to get some financial support from the community.
Narrator 2: The teens cheer.
Narrator 1: The mayor looks at Wipeout.
Mayor Williams: Young man, you're lucky you weren't killed. I'll try to get a skate park built. But all of you have to promise to wear helmets and protective gear. That's the deal.
Wipeout: That's fair.
Erik: Thanks a lot, Mayor!
Narrator 2: Three months later, Erik, Wipeout, and Steph are standing in Greenfield Park. Wipeout's leg has healed. A work crew is busy building the new skate park.
Erik: This place is going to be awesome.
Narrator 1: A sign on the construction fence reads "Johnson's Skate Park."
Steph: I wonder what that's all about.
Narrator 2: At that moment, the teens turn around. Walking toward them is Mr. Johnson, the grocery story owner.
Mr. Johnson: Well, look who's here. Hello, kids.
Erik: Uh-oh. Are we in trouble again?
Steph: We haven't run over any of your customers in months.
Mr. Johnson: Yes, and I appreciate it.
Wipeout: Hey, Mr. Johnson! What's up with your name on the sign?
Mr. Johnson: The city has been good to me and my market all these years. I thought it was time to do something nice for the city.
Erik: What do you mean?
Mr. Johnson: I did my homework on skateboarding. I don't want to see good talent go to waste. So I pitched in for some grind pipes and quarter boxes.
Wipeout: I think you mean grind boxes and quarter pipes.
Mr. Johnson: Um, yes. Exactly!
Steph: That's really decent of you.
Mr. Johnson: Hey, I was a kid once too!
* Introduce Vocabulary: groceries, loitering, petition, protective
* Tap Prior Knowledge: Ask: What are some skateboarding and skate-park terms? Why is the activity becoming more popular?
* Invite and Check Predictions: Ask: Why might some people consider skateboarding a risky activity? What are some things teens can do to get a skate park built? Check students' predictions after they have read the story.
NOTES BEHIND THE NEWS
* Between 12 million and 18 million people use skateboards in the United States, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association. Two-thirds are younger than 18. About 90 percent are male.
* "Street skaters" perform their tricks on elements of the urban landscape rather than on skate ramps. They use benches, curbs, and handrails as obstacles to jump or to slide on (called grinding). Many cities and towns have ordinances prohibiting street skating.
EXTEND THE LESSON
Ask students whether they are familiar with skateboarding. Have them research the costs of taking up the sport (boards, safety gear, and so on). How do the costs compare with those of getting started in other activities, such as basketball, skiing, golf, and tennis?
NCTE/IRA Standard 7: Students research issues by generating ideas and questions and by posing problems.
Ready to Roll?
How well do you remember the play Ready to Roll? Answer the questions below to find out. Check the correct answer to each question.
1. In the opening scene, where do the teens meet to ride their skateboards?