Tremendous 12 – Vince Taffe

Margo Graff

Skateboard fanatics envy him for his talent in skateboarding that has him traveling all over the country, meeting stars like Tony Hawk and Bam Margers. Music lovers know him as being a member of the band called Straight Edge. Retreat go-ers recognize his face as being a leader on the Peer Ministry Team. In one way or another, somehow everyone can relate to senior Vince Taffe.

Taffe credits his friend for getting him hooked on the sport. “For me, at first, skateboarding was something I liked but wasn’t huge about. Then, the more I practiced and the more time I spent with it, the more I grew to like it,” said Taffe. He has won many local, Midwest, and National skateboarding competitions and even competed in the preliminaries for the X GAMES. Having had the opportunity to meet and talk with professional skateboarders, Taffe has received lots of life advice from them. “They taught me to not over work yourself and don’t do something to become famous, do it because you love it,” said Taffe.

A couple years ago, Taffe tore his ligament off of his bone and had to go through many grueling operations to fix his leg as a result of a skateboarding accident. “I tried to keep competing but I kept re-injuring it,” said Taffe.

Having to quit competing, Taffe lost many of his sponsors (Vans, Switch, Flip, Zero and Girl) and began recreational skating and teaching kids to skateboard at Third Layer Skate Park. “Being sponsored was great because they supplied me with anything I wanted and money on the side when I won competitions; it’s a big relief to know I made enough money to pay my tuition through college,” said Taffe.

Finding his new passion through participating in Peer Ministry, Taffe feels that after all of his life experiences, giving advice back and helping the underclassmen is more or less his job as a senior. Setting a model of a positive life style through Straight Edge, Taffe made pacts among friends to vow not to use alcohol, drugs or promiscuous sex. Taffe said, “Breaking this promise is like breaking any other promise to your friends and it is something I am very passionate about.”

Attending South Dakota School of Mines, in Rapid City, South Dakota, Taffe will be studying engineering and passing on his life experiences and advice to many others.