I remember being a kid and having my mom drop my older brother and myself off at the roller rink. There was nothing quite like that first taste of freedom, being dropped off to have fun, and dancing your little heart out on wheels to rock anthems like Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It."
To this day, that song brings back childhood roller rink memories like no other. I lived in Baltimore, MD during the skate rink heyday of the 1980s. I think it was the place to be seen and hang out, but what would I know, I was just a kid who loved to blaze around the rink on wheels.
When I was in the fourth grade my parents moved us to Elizabeth City, N.C. Right away I realized two things, this town had absolutely nothing for kids to do and the one thing they used to have - roller skating - was closed down. Without a roller rink nearby, when I outgrew my skates, that was it. I never owned another pair until I was an adult and I bought my first pair of rollerblades. The change from roller skates to blades wasn't all that challenging. I picked right up on how to balance and went forth. The nostalgia for true skates would keep me coming back to the old school side-by-side wheels though. I learned to do tricks, dance, and fly on those wheels. How could I abandon them for in-line skates?
Now that I live in South Carolina I have two roller skating rinks in my town to choose from. We have Skate Station, which is less than five miles from my house and Gamecock on Wheels, which is about a 10 minute drive (if that). I get to share the sheer and utter joy of flying around in circles on wheels with my children. The laughter that comes with each bruise as they fall on their butts, as I once did, is a memory that I am sure will endure for them too. Last night I took my daughter by the hands while I began to skate backwards in front of her. I slowly began to pick up speed until her hair was blowing back as we went around, the smile on her face was the reward! Skating hasn't gone out of style, or left the hearts of America.
So, to the places where the rinks have disappeared - I say - bring back the fun! And to those of you who have not strapped on a pair lately, what are you waiting for? It's amazing exercise, and so much fun that you don't feel like you're doing any work! You can't beat that.
If you're having trouble finding a roller rink near you try Southeastern Skate Supply, Inc. they have a pretty good list of rinks across the country!