Skater Angel Sanchez uses the board as a bridge to friendship

Sarabeth Leitch

From penny board to red and blue wood deck, sophomore Angel Sanchez has learned lessons of patience, pain, connection and growth through skateboarding.

He only started four years ago, but he says the crew he skates with has made quite an impression on him. 

“They helped me mature…and they helped make sure I am not annoying,” Sanchez said, in truth and jest. 

Overall, skating has allowed Sanchez to create valuable, lasting friendships with different types of people, some of them also Madison students and others from around the city. One close friend is Central Catholic freshman Michael Dinh, who he met two summers ago. 

Skating is the reason they’ve both been friends, according to Dinh. He added that they push each other.

“We both tell each other what’s on our minds, and if we need help with something,” Dinh said. 

Sanchez specifically mentions how other skaters took him under their wing and mentored him when he was first skating. While Sanchez points out how kind they all were, Dinh reflects it back on Sanchez. 

“He’s friendly to everyone at the skatepark, always chatting or laughing,” Dinh said. “His social circle in skating is just a bunch of kids our age who also share the same love of skateboarding.

Photo Courtesy of Michael Dinh

Sanchez shared that he has learned from folks that are five all the way up to grown men, illustrating again the range of relationships that can be gained through the sport. 

Like many things though, it didn’t come easy. It took dedication, perseverance and some bumps along the way. He described how brutal his first attempts were. 

“When I went to skate, it was terrible,” Sanchez said. “I just kept falling.”

Dinh mentioned how much he’s grown since then. He says Sanchez is primarily a transition skater, but he has gotten really good at street skateboarding.

“Angel is a skilled skater, because he isn’t afraid to try things and learns quickly,” Dinh said. “He’s the most hardworking and stubborn person I know. If he wants something he’ll plan out and act on getting it. I rarely see him making excuses for himself.”

Whether skating the streets or hitting up the Kʰunamokwst Skate Park, Sanchez chooses to engage in his community with spirit, skill and genuine care for others.