Editor’s note: This is the eighth story in our new series “Everyday Athletes,” in which we talk with people who are out and about enjoying some outdoor recreation. Sports is all around us and we’re on the lookout. If you know someone who would make a great “Everyday Athlete” please contact sports editor Bill Stewart at [email protected]


AUGUSTA — Skateboarding is no new love for Pat Colwell.

The Gardiner resident and special education teacher at Gardiner Area High School first took up the hobby around 12. Now 43, Not only has Colwell continued skateboarding, but he’s passed along his love for it to his 10-year old son, Elliot.

Both enjoyed some solid father-and-son time under sunny skies Friday morning at Williams Park.



Q: So Pat, how long have you been skateboarding for?

A: I guess it must be a little over 30 years. I started when I was about 11 or 12. I should probably be better, for as long as I’ve been skating. I’ve been skating off and on (in recent years). Obviously, as you get older, I don’t have his endurance, but my son got into it about eight, nine months ago. It’s really pushed me to get (back into it) with him. We lucked out a little before the lockdown and quarantine, we built a little ramp in our garage, like a mini halfpipe. Pretty much all spring we’ve been doing that, or trying to come (to Williams Park) when no one was here in the morning. It’s been fun, I’ve been doing it a lot. It’s good exercise, something to do with him.



Q: Have you been skating for over 30 years straight? Or was it Elliot that helped bring you back to it?

A: I’ve always had a board. Some years, I do it more than others. I’ve been coming here to Williams since they (built the skate park). Some years, I’ll get out three or four times. This year, I’ve gotten out about 30 or 40 times. It’s definitely been more. Being older, before (Elliot) started, I really didn’t have anybody to go out and skate with. Now, I have my son, and it’s something we can do together.


Q: What do you get out of skating? And has that changed over the years, now that you have your son to share that love with?

A: There’s definitely (the father-son bond), getting to spend time with him. It’s exercise, and it’s fun. It’s creative. There’s no rules to it, there’s no points. It’s just what you want to do, what you want to make of something. It’s like a cross between creative expression and exercise, to me, which is fun. There’s certainly an element of danger. I wear pads now that I certainly didn’t wear when I was a kid. I don’t know, there’s always something about that that’s appealed to me, because it makes it that much sweeter when you land (a trick).


Q: Did you have any skateboarding heroes growing up?

A: A lot. Like a lot of 80s and 90s kids, Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain, Steve Caballero. As I got a little older, Mark Gonzales, John Cardiel, like, street skaters. I grew up in Gardiner and Augusta skating during a time where there were no (skate) parks, and it was certainly not an activity that was anywhere near as accepted as it is today. To see a place like this, and other parks in the state, it’s been really cool. And I think it’s cool for the kids to have places to go that are safe.




Q: Where did you go skating in Gardiner back in the day?

A: Back in the day, there’s an ATM there now, but there used to be this long kind of platform, it’s right by Hannaford (on Maine Avenue). There’s a Key Bank ATM, there used to be a platform there that had a metal edge on it, and we’d skate that. We would skate up on Mechanic Street, on the back of Johnson Hall. They kind of put a railing there, so you really can’t do that anymore. I had my picture in the paper in the (Kennebec Journal) — I don’t know, I must have been 14 — sliding down a wooden railing in the park beside Johnson Hall, those green steps. Yeah, I was 13, 14. And I remember there were outraged letters to the editor about it, because I didn’t have a helmet on. I still have the clip at home.


Q: What’s your best trick?

A: I don’t know. Just being able to skate this bowl and do some stuff on the top, I’m pretty excited about it. Pretty happy with it. It changes every day. Any day that I don’t get hurt is a good day.


Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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