Because I Can Skate, Therefore, I Must Skate!

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At the time of this writing, I'm a 50 year-old male of the species who is really into roller skating. I don't think I've ever had anything I've obsessed over more in my life. That says alot because I can be an obsessive person. But to this degree? I've sat back and made the following objective assessment:

I'm now totally insane!

Believe it or not, this is the first and only time
in my life I've ever been on roller blades, err...
inline roller skates.

picture of John

How did this obsession with roller skating start? When I was a teenager in the 1980s, I would go skating with friends sometimes when they called for it but I never instigated. We would go to this place called Wisconsin Skate University on South 27th Street in Greenfield, Wisconsin. It's a place I'd been to on 5th/6th grade school field trips back in 1978-1980. My family went ice skating semi-regularly and I always felt that experience didn't translate very well to roller skating. I found roller skates to be difficult by comparison. The whole locking my feet to a path dictated by where they set down on the floor initially was unsettling to me. Returning as a teenager to this place for a night session of mixed teenagers and adults and what a large crowd of them, was slightly intimidating. For one, these skaters were fast! Two, I had no clue about the unwritten rule of slower skaters moving toward the inside of the floor. I must've pissed alot of these skaters off. I remember being hit and knocked over several times by other skaters who always stated it was my fault for being in their way. How was I to know where was in their way? Once again, I went skating because my friends were going but I would spend half my time skating and the other half of the time playing air hockey or the new fad of the the day, coin-operated video games. A successful night of skating for me was only falling or getting knocked over three times in the night!

In 2013, I met a woman in a bar who I'd had a wonderful evening of conversation with. I'd been single for over five years and seriously wanted to date this woman. This was a difficult proposition as I eventually learned, the woman here had really only one interest in me which was how I could finance her beer drinking. Through several bar meetings of semi-recreational drinking, I'd pitch numerous ideas for a date, be it dinner, movie, what-have-you. One time, I came up with what I thought was a novel idea; roller skating. She informed me she'd never been on roller skates in her life. But the idea of going back to a roller skating place stuck with me beyond the rejection of the idea from this woman and might I add her pretty thorough rejection of me for anything other than a beer tap key.

I have a friend who doesn't care for nostalgia. The point he makes might even be right about my recollection of roller skating. See, what I'd done is pretty much forget some of the negative connotations and memories of my roller skating past which I just outlined two paragraphs ago. Instead, I remembered some pretty neat things about that roller skating place that doesn't exist anymore. For one, that skate place in particular was sold years ago and converted to a tavern-type pool hall called Romine's. But the lights, the huge crowds of people and that music of the day! And when I say that music, I'm not talking about fabulous hits of the eighties. In fact, most of what gets played today of the pop music of then is a small morsel of not-really-representative caricature of the eighties. Different places had different, diverse music then. Sure, there were songs that made it big on MTV, something very new then, as well as your mega-pop icons like Madonna and Michael Jackson but at roller skating? There was a huge wave of skate music or jams. Most of this you didn't hear on the radio even then and certainly never now.

It would be over a year later after this failed attempt to date this woman at the bar before I would set foot on a roller skate floor again for the first time in over 26 years. This would happen when I reconnected with an old friend and neighbor of mine from those 1980s. It's a story for another page...