Tag Archives: 80’s

Letting My Inner Child Out to Play: Roller Skating


A child of the 70’s and 80’s, I did a lot of roller skating in my younger years.  I started skating around the age of seven, and eagerly hit the pavement in my super cool Fireball roller skates.  You know, the white ones with red and blue stripes on the side.  (My brother had a pair that was blue with white and red stripes.)  It makes me smile to think of young, blonde-headed me excitedly lacing up my Fireballs and heading off for wheel-borne adventures.  The skating-related slips, falls, and scrapes didn’t deter me – similar to falling off a horse, I just got back up and tried again.

I eventually moved up to plain white skates, and then on to a pair of black speed skates, but those white Fireball skates are iconic – at least to me.  They may have been cheap, but those skates – and any other pair I later owned – were much better than wearing the dreaded rental skates found at virtually any skating rink. No matter where I’ve skated the rentals have been the same – light brown leather with dark brown laces, orange wheels and orange toe stops.  Rental skates were to be avoided at all costs.  They were never comfortable, and never seemed to want to go where I intended them to go.


I lived in a very small city during my prime skating years (ages 5 – 12), and going to the local skating rink was really all there was to do.  We didn’t have a mall, or even a movie theater – skating was it if you stayed within the city limits.  And though my family struggled financially and was almost always strapped for cash, my brother and I were able to go skating fairly regularly. It kept us entertained and active, and gave my parents time to themselves for less than the cost of a babysitter.

Most people my age have probably left skating in their past, but I still lace up my skates and head to the local rink from time to time.  This “new” rink is a bit different than the one I frequented as a child, but so many things are the same – though both rinks were in their heyday over twenty years ago.  This feeling is enhanced by the fact that I go for 80’s/flashback night and many of the tunes I listed to in grade school fill the cavernous space with sound.  It’s not just the music though; it’s the smell, the sights, the flavors, and the experiences too.


For example, skating rinks have a very distinct, universal smell.  I’m not sure what it is, but it’s soaked into my clothes by the end of a skating session.  As for the sights, going on 80’s night contributes to the déjà vu experience because groups of people (birthday parties, sororities, etc.), often go retro and attend 80’s night dressed in their finest neon clothing and Flashdance-style sweatshirts.  The snack bar still serves many of the same things, and a trip to the roller rink doesn’t seem complete without having a treat of some sort.  The lockers are also the same – quarter-fed metal cubes with bulky, orange plastic-topped keys.  And don’t forget the challenge of bathroom visits: trying to take care of one’s business while on eight wheels!

The music, the lights, the songs dedicated to backwards skating, and the damned switch from regular counter clockwise skating to the odd-feeling clockwise skating – they all take me back, as do the hokey-pokey and the dice game.  If you used to go skating and want a trip back in time, look no further – just pop on into your local roller rink!


All that said, I now see the skating rink through the eyes of an adult.  I take note of the interior, and when I find myself thinking they should upgrade (at least the paint job!) I remind myself that the rink probably isn’t making a ton of money and refurbishing is a luxury.  I enjoy skating to the music for the fun of it, but also appreciate that skating is good exercise.  I enjoy watching the young kids, the folks there for special parties, and the people around my age who are obviously rink rats from way back; still forming clicks and skating socially.

As for me, I’ve always been a bit of a loner – so I usually keep to myself and just skate.  I relish the feel of the wind on my face.  I laugh to myself at some of the ridiculous songs, and over the antics of some of the other skaters.  I wear my speed skates and appreciate that they take me in the direction I want to go, even if I’m just going round and round and round…

Warm regards,


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Posted in inner child, life in general | Also tagged , , , , 14 Comments