When you first get a skateboard, you’re a kid that has a skateboard. Then you might have a friend who also has a skateboard. At some point you become a skater and the friends that you skate with become your crew. Crews have always been an important part of skateboarding, you gotta have a crew. With youth comes a sense belonging that can be the glue to life long friendships. Everyone remembers their skate crew because it was a part of their youth.
My first skate crew was called Team Spoo and there were four of us. Being that this was 1986, Team Spoo was a perfectly acceptable name. Team Spoo consisted of Steve Stubblefield, Jimmy Allred, Steve Schmit, and myself. Steve Stubblefield was the oldest in our crew, he was out of High School and had the moves. He had a few years on us skating so he knew his shit. I was a Junior and Steve Schmit and Jimmy were Freshman. Steve Schmit was a real punk rocker, he rode one Indy and one Thunder truck that were both grinded down to the axel. He had Siouxee Sioux, U2, The Cure, and Bad Brains stickers on his Fred Smith Alva board. Jimmy rocked the bleached Hawk bangs and more of the surf style. Jump ramps, curbs, and Greg Janess’s ramp were the rage. Although we were all different ages we were a crew because we loved skateboarding. At the time in Fallon NV, skateboarding was hated by the cops, jocks, cowboys, parents, and even the skaters who quit a year before.
The 80s was such a rad time to be a skater. Tricks were being invented daily. You would pick up a Thrasher Mag and try and figure out what the trick was in still shots. With no sequence and a naive mind, there was a lot to the imagination. There were no rules or boundaries, you just skated and fed off the creative energies from your friends. There were also Bettys. Skaters were hated, there were only a select crew of girls that dug skaters and they were called Bettys. Lori, Andrea, Randi, and a few others were a part of the scene.
Eventually Steve Schmit moved and I never saw him again. Jimmy and I were a bad mix for a good time. My parents divorced my Senior year and all I cared about was skating and girls. Ditching school with Jim was almost a necessity. We would sneak over to Greg’s house and skate his ramp. We would find random ditches and make the most of them. The gig was up when we totaled my truck in a car accident that left Jimmy with a concussion and me with cracked ribs. I was grounded from skating and I felt like I was in Hell.
Being stuck on a school bus to and from school left me with zero options to skate. That was until Steve Stubblefield would meet me at the library with a board for me on my lunch break. That 45 minutes of skating kept me sane in a time that I needed it most. That was Team Spoo, that was my crew. I was an alien living among people who didn’t understand me in a town that hated me because I was different. Team Spoo was everything to me. At the time I didn’t realize the path skating would take me.
From adolescence to the journey to becoming your own person, you lose touch with childhood friends. Team Spoo was no exception. Steve Schmit was AWOL, Jimmy had a run in with the law, and Steve Stubblefield drifted away from skating bit by bit. Greg Janess and I were the last ones standing, the last of the Fallon skaters. We all went our separate ways but, the memories from those days are cemented with me every time I skate. I haven’t seen the crew in decades. I have no clue what happened to Steve Schmitt, Jimmy works in the mines around Elko, (or so I heard) and a few years ago I found out Steve Stubblefield passed away. Huge loss, he shaped parts of my teen years no doubt.
The older you get the more you will undoubtedly learn about loss. If you are a young buck, fucking cherish these days. Skate your asses off, and love your crew. Since I started skating, I’ve lost more friends since Steve. It never gets easier, I think your skin gets thicker if anything. If you are an older cat, hopefully this got you thinking about your old crew. I posted up a note Steve wrote me during the time he snuck me a board at lunch. We all had nick names because we were dorks, I was Ramone and he was Hollis.
I’ve kept his note for over 20 years. Skateboarding will always be about youth, Team Spoo was my crew and it’s still a huge part of this kids heart. -ERL