Skater of the Month June: Lucila Chavez

Skater of the Month -

Skater of the Month June: Lucila Chavez

Our skater of the month for June has been cleaning up her local skateparks and inspiring the community around her to come together and work to build a safer, cleaner space for skaters of all kind. Inspirational! 

Name: Lucila Chavez
Instagram: @lost_in_spaceforevr
Chapter: Chicks in Bowls San Jose-Ca

How did you come into roller skating?
I first started roller skating when I was in high school. It began with roller derby of course. I had learned about San Jose having a roller derby league: Silicon Valley Roller Derby. I began to volunteer for them as a non-skating official and that's when the amazement hit. As I saw the lovely roller skaters skating about, it made me want to pick up skating. The way they glided and smashed into one another, it was moshing on wheels. I became in love with the sport. It pushed me to learn how to roller skate by utilizing abandoned parking lots at night. 

Tell us about the projects you’ve been working on?
The project that I am currently working on is called "welcoming skateparks". We are revitalizing the neglected skatepark of Plata Arroyo. We have adopted this skate park specifically and want to expand the possibilities of what it can become.  We will create a welcoming skate park for all ages and identities to enjoy, specifically aiming to encourage women to come. It is creating a public space for people to feel like they belong by creating programs and community-led murals along with the central buildings, decorative lights along the perimeter and to implement guerilla art and community. This park is used as gang-territory and the hood handout for the nomadic locals.

It started from learning how to roller skate at the skate park to collaborating with other female roller skaters on how to improve our skills. We grow together as we venture onto the skate parks, but the only circumstance that prevents us from owning our own space is the men who are already taking up space. This project idea stems from that concept of inclusivity and building self-confidence. It is creating a welcoming skate park that will feel as if anyone can join. This project idea will first start at the skate park and then stretch its way to enhancing the overall park itself. This project idea will be a stepping stone into other projects that will be implemented from Chicks in Bowls San Jose-ca chapter and the seven skateparks of San Jose.  Hence, the project that I am implementing is including the existing community and the new community to work together to create an ideal skate park everyone can use. The first skate park to tackle is Plata Arroyo Skate park, the most neglected skate park in San Jose located on the east side. The other project is pushing the roller skating scene in San Jose by advertising our home roller derby league: SVRG, having a presence on the streets with San Jose Skate Night and pushing for a once closed roller rink: Aloha roller rink, now having an indoor skate rink with the constant demand of the people. I want to be the roller skating advocate, and to teach people that roller skating isn't dead!

What inspired this desire to clean up the parks!
I mentioned earlier that I learned how to roller skate utilizing abandoned parking lots as well as the skate park. Well, the skate park close to my home was Plata Arroyo skate park. I saw the way the skate park has been ill-treated: by the city and the community. Back in high school, which was 8 years ago, much still looks the same with the constant "out of service" signs I see on the bathrooms. The heavy gang-related graffiti displayed inside and outside the bathrooms. It was where I grow up. I wanted it to be better and the potential it can be. With my research of the park, the city has proposed some improvements, but the city is slow to implement anything. They had proposed a project back when the skate park was built and new proposals made in 2015, where no progress has been made thus far. I love Plata Arroyo, and I would love to see more of the female kind learning how to skateboard and have the presence of roller skaters at the skate park as well. 

What does ‘Spread the stoke’ mean to you?
Spread the stoke is the self-confidence one gains as they master each of the tricks they have been practicing for a while. It is the meaning of gaining confidence as each stoke is taken. For every stoke builds confidence. It is the embodiment of being aware of your body and what it can do for you. With each battle scar gained, is the opportunity to learn from those mistakes. As we push one another, it helps us go beyond our limits as we spread the love for the skate parks. Spreading the stoke is finding a way to express yourself and allowing others to figure out what they want to learn when it comes to roller skating. Roller skating is veritable equipment. It can be used for street skating, at the roller rink, using them for roller derby and now at the skate park. The love for roller skating is contagious and we all spread that love by each stoke we take. 
If you had one piece of advice to new skaters what would it be?
Always fall forward. Be safe while you skate because safety is sexy. If you are constantly falling, you gain that beautiful battle scar, so fall as much as possible because that way, your body assists you in nailing those tricks. Pain is temporary, the tricks you do on film is forever, even if their epic fails. They are glorious and it makes you realize what you can improve on and how you can grow from them.

Describe what skating means to you in three words!
Freedom, Inclusivity, and powerful
Fun fact!
I am inspiring creative cook. A DIY kind of chef. <3 I taught myself how to play the violin in one year (mistaking it for a viola) and then realizing it and teaching myself how to play the viola the following year in High school. I currently, own a viola and continuing breaking the strings for playing too hard. 

What transitioned you to skateparks?
I taught myself how to roller skate back in high school after coming across roller derby. As mentioned previously I learned how to roller skate by practicing on parking lots and soon after I started skating at the skate park. In those times, I didn't realize there was such an amazing group of roller skaters shredding the bowls. I learned how to roller skate at the skate parks as well, on the flat surfaces and carving around the skate park. I would go early mornings to avoid the stares. Years later, I transitioned from playing roller derby to the skate parks. I have wanted to be a part of a community that revolved around roller skates. Roller derby became too expensive for me, and time-consuming that I started venturing out to the skate parks. That is when I created the Chicks in Bowls San Jose-ca Chapter. 
Blog Photos: @arabelaespinoza, @edgypsycho, @scissabob 

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