Depending on your age and the area of the country in which you were raised, your memories of “throw backs” from child could vary vastly from the illustration assigned to this post. Tonight I took my 12-year-old and his friends roller skating for this birthday. It’s difficult to find roller rinks in 2018 and if you do, the weekends are flooded with little kids and birthday party celebrations. We opted to make the event a lot simpler by just going for the skating and grabbing food and dessert afterwards at a separate location.
My mom used to take us roller skating on Sunday evenings after church for “Soul Night” the designated day for exclusive Soul and R & B music. She would drive 45 miles one way either to Myrtle Beach or Wilmington in order that we might enjoy the pleasures of this legendary pass time. The car would be packed with as many teenage bodies as could find a position without sitting on another person (that was really the only rule). Back then having a seat belt was not a legality so it wasn’t uncommon for someone to take up in the floor board to ensure they were able to take advantage of the free ride.
My mother couldn’t skate and never desired to learn but she took great pleasure in taking us and sitting by to watch as we bruised legs, broke wrists and injured egos attempting to learn how to balance ourselves on 8 tiny wheels to the beat of the latest radio hits. We lived for the four-hour experience of rolling amongst other bodies some faster and better skilled than us and others who had replaced us as the “floor sweepers”. That was the nickname given to those that spent more time sweeping the floor with their clothing from a fall than standing on their feet.
Tonight I skated with my son and his friends but I also watched as the spectrum of participants ranged from about 3 years of age to as golden as 70. There were interesting little gliders (they looked like a walker with wheels) to assist first timers but quite honestly it appeared to be more of a hindrance than a help to learning the techniques. The little kids who put them to use stayed on the floor just as frequently as those without them. From my perspective they were “running” behind a wheeled glider rather than using their legs to push the glider and control their motion. I joked the adult sitting next to me, “We didn’t have those and I don’t think we spent that much time on the floor”. She agreed as we both chuckled watching bodies hit the floor one after another and often times 2-3 at a time.
The cool thing is that regardless of the trends, this activity is still as exciting as I remember it 30 years previously. There was a common theme, we all fell and got right back up to do it all over again. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could apply the simplicities of the things we loved as children to every day challenges as adults? We did whatever was necessary and traveled as far as we needed to gain the “experience” we were seeking. Even if we fell repeatedly, broke a wrist or injured a leg, somehow we wanted to do it again the next week! I hope I never lose my tenacity for this wonderful pastime. Technology has shifted a lot of things but luckily the only place it may be visible in this environment would be the DJ booth and since we aren’t allowed inside, we would never know the difference.