Rolling Right Along

My Friday night was made infinitely better by these eight words: black light, disco ball, eighties music, and roller skates.

You simply cannot get much better than this.

From five to seven o'clock on Friday nights, anything on wheels -- strollers, bicycles, tricycles, roller blades, roller skates, Big Wheels, you name it -- is permitted at our local rink.  As I sat on the floor lacing up my skates and breathing in the faint odor of feet and popcorn, I thanked God for the good fortune of having these three wonderful children who provide me with a legitimate reason to go roller skating at age thirty-two.

I was fifteen years old the last time I roller skated.  I was twelve when I had a birthday party at Spinning Wheels off of Route 88 in Pittsburgh.  I was seven when I won my first roller skating limbo contest. 

I love roller skating.

I can't quite adequately express how excited I was to be a parent tonight.

Clutching my outstretched hands, Reese and Brooke flanked me on either side and together the three of us rolled onto the slick, painted floors.  The staff member at the counter had tightened the wheels on their skates for safety, causing the girls to lift their heavy feet and clomp, rather than to glide, along the rink.  The girls clutched the wall, periodically stumbling and flailing their arms to regain lost balance.

We completed our first lap in glacial pace. Older kids whirled past us on roller blades.  When the girls eventually traded in their skates for their bikes, I could finally pick up some speed

Joel watched me and questioned, "So, what other secret talents have you been hiding?  Are you going to tell me that you were on the Junior National skating team?  That you were the Michelle Kwan of roller skating?"  (Clearly, he was proud.)

Of course, I entered the limbo contest.  I was bested by a child who was three-and-a-half feet tall, but she completely deserved the voucher for a free slushy, so I'm okay with this.

In seventeen years, not much has changed in the roller skating realm.  Billy Jean and Love Shack still were blared over the speakers.  During an extended remix of Funky Town, an announcer still asked us to skate in the opposite direction, as if we could unravel the dizziness of our typical orbit.  When you put on your regular shoes at the night's end, the first few skateless steps still felt clunky and awkward.  It was still challenging to use the restroom while on roller skates, even more so when you're helping your little ones use the restroom while they're on roller skates.  (I'll think that through much better next time.)

And there certainly will be a next time.  I really want that slushy voucher.


  1. Isn't it great to have excuses to do that type of thing again? For me it's cartoons. I love the excuse to watch Disney movies or snuggle up with my girl and watch Bugs and Tweety and laugh my butt off.

  2. Wow, the memories you evoked with this post. I haven't roller skated since I was in high school and I graduated from there in '79. My memories are more of bruised tail bones and knots on my elbows from landing on them. It was not something I was good at. I think I'll keep my feet planted on terra firma and live the roller skating life vicariously through you.


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