Latham Skatepark has big impact on community

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Fabio Camara’s heritage told him he was supposed to be a soccer player.

Although he was born in Brazil, his father moved the family to the US when Fabio was young … so, by the time they moved back to Brazil, when Fabio was a teenager, he met all the kids who grew up playing soccer every waking moment they had free.

“I was not that kid,” Fabio says with a chuckle.

But he was an athlete so when his father bought him a high-end skateboard, he was hooked.

“You start by just being scared out of your mind to be on the board,” Fabio says of his early skating days. "And then you start by trying something that's simple and, when you land it, that feeling is addictive. Because you've tried so hard to accomplish something and it's not easy.”

He was good enough to become a professional and now that he lives back in the states as a professional photographer, he skates when he can – at the park he helped get built.

For six years, Fabio and some fellow skaters urged the City of Greensboro to build a serious skateboarding park. Finally, in early 2017, it opened near Latham Park off Wendover Avenue.

It’s home for most serious skaters in the area and the kids who just want to try it out … and, for Fabio, a place for the occasional “seniors run.”

“Anywhere I go in the world and I see somebody else who is past 30 at a skate park, it's instant friendship,” he says.

Jay Rock Smith is one of those, “past 30,” skaters … he’s now 54.

“I come here because it's going to be filled with activity,” Smith said. “We've got young kids, we've got working adults with college-aged kids, like me. We have mortgages, we have the same things as other people but we all crave the carve and what it feels like to fight gravity.”

None of these skaters see any reason to give up the sport anytime soon.

“When you find something that brings you joy, it doesn't matter what age you're at, you can come back to it and it's there,” notes Fabio.

See what the park means to the community in this edition of the Buckley Report.