Recently, I had the opportunity to go to a roller rink – a real roller rink, not those skate parks where kids flip off huge ramps and narrowly miss breaking their necks. I was so thrilled to be able to share with my children how cool "real" roller skating is.
We arrived with much excitement. Through the double doors, I could hear the music playing and was transported back 20 years to the "good ol' days." Upon paying an astronomical fee of $8.00 per person for admission – plus skate rental – we were in!
My heart pounded and all the feelings of my youth trickled down my back. I shivered as I made my way over to the very young man (were they always so young?) who was grooving to the music, waiting for us to get our skates. We gave him our tickets and handed him our shoes. He gave us baby blue roller skates with four wheels – no in-line skates for me. I wanted the "real" roller skates.
My 10-year-old son opted for the inline skates, stating that four wheels were for "old people." Old people! I tried to explain that when I was 12, it was way cool to roller skate, and we all had "four wheelers." How else can you dance to the blaring music? Surely not on Rollerblades. He looked at me as though I spoke a different language and glided out onto the cement floor at mach speed.
I laced my skates "the proper way" – around the ankle – and was ready to roll. Just as I stood up on my eight wheels, some kids flew by and knocked me back to my seat. Kids! What do they know about roller skating? Up again, balancing myself pretty well on that same old flowered carpet, arms outstretched for balance, I rolled slowly over to the rink. One step down from the carpet, I managed to get onto the rink successfully.
Slowly, I rolled my way across the floor, trying not to get run over by the 5-year-olds who were whizzing past me. As I rounded the first corner, my son skated by and grabbed my arm. My skates started slipping and sliding. (Why didn't this seem as fun as it used to?) Regaining control, I managed to get all the way around the rink and back to the carpet where I carefully planted my behind on the first available bench.
"Whew! All the way around the whole rink! I'm getting good," I thought.
"Mom!" yelled my son as he skated by. I could barely hear him over the lyrics of "Wipe Out!"
Around he came again in what seemed like 10 seconds. "Mom, are you comin' or what?"
I motioned for him to come to me. He didn't have to get on his knees to maneuver the step up to the carpeted area. He didn't even stop as he jumped up to the level I was sitting on!
"I'm ... uh ... I'm waiting for a good song," I told him, rubbing my calf muscles.
He giggled. I straightened up and rolled my feet back and forth.
"So ... you did this before?" he asked.
"Oh, yeah. I went skating every weekend when I was young. It was the cool thing to do. And boy, was I good."
Feeling like I needed to prove it to him, I grabbed his hand and made my way back out to the rink. He was gracious and allowed me to hold him up as we went around for the couple's skate. I finally did manage to turn the corners with some grace, and by the end of the afternoon, I was grooving to the music right along with the other kids.
I can't say it was exactly the same, but it was fun: holding hands with my "new" guy, dancing on my skates under the strobe lights to "Staying Alive." It was worth it, even though I never did remember how to stop without gripping the wall. And the next time I go, I will definitely need to bring my orthopedic inserts; my feet are killing me!