My parents met in 1961, in a roller rink in San Diego. They were dance skaters. My Mother moved on skates like a swan, and my Dad, though a large man, was graceful on wheels also. There are tales of money being tight, and Dad hocking his skates several times after they married, the two of them walking back to the pawn shop to get them back when payday finally rolled around.
My sister and I were laced into skates practically upon learning to walk. My earliest memories of skating were at Elmwood roller rink, at Five Points in Urbana [yo, townies]. I remember clacking along on wooden wheels with both arms straight over my head, each hand wrapped around an index finger, one of my fathers, and one of a cousins. It was well before kindergarten.
In our teen years, we skated four nights a week. If my sister or I happened to have a date on any given Friday night, our curfew was still in tact. Our dates were NOT allowed to take us home to an empty house: they were to deliver us safely back to our parents...at the roller rink.
I must mention that my sister was also a phenomenal skater, much better than I ever was, or ever will be. She was fearless, and she and Dad would swirl and spin and two-step, in then-outdated, 60s style dancing that no one else could do.
As my parents met, I met my (first) husband at the roller rink. And my sister met her husband there also; they've been married 23 years.
Here's a snapshot of moi, taken more than 20 years ago. This, for you non-skaters, is called "Shoot the Duck." Last man standing wins a free soda. Check out my pom-poms. Heh heh.
I'm not sure how or why, but skating just sort of fell out of my life, with marriage, divorce, kid-raising, working...what have you.
Until yesterday. I roped all of my friends into accompanying me to the rink yesterday afternoon. (I was too afraid to try it alone.)
My feet are larger now than they were when I was 21; I didn't even try to dig out my old skates, but rented a pair of speed skates instead. The boot is lower and wheels wider, making for better control than a standard skate.
Fifteen years since I've had a rollerskate on and what was my first thought on these things? It was
"Holy shit, I can't believe I don't know how to skate anymore!"
I started out clacking and coasting, and merely leaning my way around the corners, wobbling and flailing my arms. I was a complete beginner! I had no idea it would be that bad!
On top of that, within 10 laps, it felt like the meat was being ripped right off of my shin-bones. I suck, I suck, I suck!
A mini break to stop the burning in my shins, another attempt, and soon enough, I had the crossover back down pat. It started to come back to me, and I was, for the most part, gliding around instead of skate-walking before too long. By the time our 2 hours was up, I even took a shot at backward-skating, and though it was shaky, I did it, I did it!
My friends did well too: Marcy, Mike, Melissa, and Mel's kids joined us. None of us fell down, and Mel and I even did the Hokey Pokey with her daughter and her friend. "Shakin' it all about" was a little precarious, but we managed to stay on our feet.
We all had a great time. I'm not sure about the rest of them, but I'm definitely going back, and even checking out the price of a pair of skates. The rink is a 3-minute drive from my house, it's good exercise, a bit of fun, and something to do on these cold winter nights.
Anyone want to join me?