Tag Archives: Carthage

LSS: Rolling around again

Even though Piper, my 9-year-old daughter, can’t make it all the way around the rink on her own, her latest fixation of roller skating is another example of the adage, “Everything old is new again.”
Piper loves to roller skate. Based on her newfound love, I’m thinking roller skating may be making a comeback.
Truthfully, what Piper does really couldn’t be considered as skating. Even so, there’s something about putting on those skates and doing her best to go round and round that the child simply adores. It’s completely new to her. In fact, she’s only been twice, but she talks about it nonstop.
By the time I was her age, roller skating was old hat to me. Well, that’s not true—roller skating never became old hat. We went often, always as a large group and usually on a church bus, but it was still a thrill. Anticipating a trip to the roller rink (about 30 miles from the tiny town where I grew up) could keep me awake at night. It was exciting stuff.
When we went to the roller rink, they hosted one big life-altering event every time we went. At some point in the course of the evening, they’d turn the lights down and all the girls would squeal because we knew what would happen next. With the disco ball in the middle sending little stars all over the walls and our clothes (which all the girls had chosen carefully in hopes of the chance to shine in the black light effect during that very moment), we would prepare for The Big Event. (By the way, in an unwritten rule, the girls never wore dark clothes to the roller rink so they could look cool under the black light.)
In the way I remember what happened next, the boys would be lined up on one side of the rink and the girls on the other. What happened next was rather brutal from a 10-year-old girl’s perspective. The skate manager would pick one boy. That kid would have to skate to the girls’ side of the rink and pick one girl. They would then be forced to hold hands and skate round and round—all by themselves, with everyone watching, until the song ended. Then they would drop hands. The boy would go pick another girl, and the girl would go pick another boy. Repeat. For about three songs or so, every girl and boy would stand there, holding their breath, wondering if he or she would be the next chosen.
It was exhilarating and awful all in one.
What happened during those three songs provided enough fodder for gossip for weeks.
My daughter doesn’t have any deep emotional connection to the roller rink. I asked her what it was about it that she liked so much.
“It’s just fun, and it’s sort of challenging,” she said. “Learning a new thing is interesting. The problem with it is that the skates are way too heavy and when you fall, you fall really hard.”
I believe part of her interest in roller skating could be the real consequences it offers. Roller skating is not virtual.
“When you fall, it really hurts,” she said—and that’s an important lesson to learn.
Thus far, she has demonstrated the appropriate response.
When she falls, she gets back up and just keeps going—and it won’t be long until she makes it all the way around unassisted.