Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Never Knew You. You Were a Roller Skater.

None of these people are me, but you get the idea.

At least twice a week, from the time I was 7 years old until around the age of 15, my mom dutifully drove me to Whittier Skateland for my skating lessons and practices. We’re talking roller skating here, baby…none of that Ice Castles stuff. I spent years fully immersed in the world of competitive dance and figure skating. Occasionally I had a partner, but mostly I skated singles. Couples was even more competitive and I don’t think my parents could really absorb the expense. In fact, now as a parent myself, I can’t help but reflect upon how generously they indulged my hobby. We weren’t wealthy by any means and keeping a growing kid in new costumes and skates, not to mention the cost of the lessons, must have been pretty intense.

I still remember with great pleasure my many hours spent at the rink. I loved and respected my coaches. The friends I made there felt like some sort of private and special society with our inside jokes and show off-y games. I remember the way the lobby smelled of leather and popcorn. The rink itself smelled mainly of the floor…the varnish perhaps? As we skated our parents sat patiently in the seats surrounding the rink in little social knots. My own mom tended to sit alone and read. I remember worrying about that, wishing she were more social with the other parents. I worried that it seemed unfriendly or something. Poor mom…it wasn’t enough that she carried my sorry ass down there two or three times a week and took care of all my skating needs, I also expected her to be the life of the party! Geez.

Skating is what I associate most with my childhood and growing up. My legs are still strong and for years I had these huge deltoids from holding my arms gracefully extended for long periods of time. I have good balance because of skating that has come in handy when I’ve tried other sports such as ice skating and skiing. All those years of dance skating made me at least feel that I could attempt other sorts of dancing with some level of confidence (however misplaced it might be). As a girl at the rink I fantasized that I would marry another skater and we would have a whole family of little skaters. I actually saw a family or two like that, so I totally believed it could work like that. I had several very long standing crushes on boys I knew from skating. Let me give a big shout out to Ron, Todd, and John. Haha! There were girls as well that were essentially crushes. Girls who skated pairs with a doting partner and always seemed to look perfect and were generally funny and friendly as well. Now upon reflection I realize that really snobby people most probably wouldn’t have fallen into roller skating. I loved it, but I do recognize that it is, you know, roller skating…

Did you have an activity that shaped your days and your existence when you were a child? Tell us about it!


Tara said...

Wonderful blog post, LB! I haven't roller skated in awhile, but it sounds like so much fun!

My childhood activities were ice skating, Girl Scouts, drawing and climbing the monkey bars. I had lots of arm and leg muscles..And freckles.

laura b. said...

Tara: Oh, I did Brownies for a year or two...and I loved the monkey bars! We could have totally hung out and counted our many freckles :-)

Churlita said...

That's a great post.

of course, mine was always running. i started the year my mom died and it's the one thing that's always gotten me through all the bad stuff. I'm so glad I found that I could do it and how great it makes me feel.

laura b. said...

Churlita: Thank you. And I think it is great that you found something good for you that also makes you feel good and most importantly that you stuck with it!