Roller skating is more than just a hobby to many in the skate community.
Heartfelt thanks to everyone who has contributed their story.
Photos by: Ben Romano Photo
I skate because when I was younger, I used to have very vivid dreams of floating around my house and flying around town, above the city and through the forests. The feeling was indescribable, until I found skating.
The feeling of the wind in my hair, cares melting away and flowing with the earth is one of the best feelings. Even without fancy tricks or footwork, simply just having 8 wheels under your feet is so satisfying.
I have seen my city and many others in a whole new light from getting around town on my wheels. People can see the feeling it brings me; I can't skate without bringing smiles to the faces of young, old, rich and poor.
We are all united in that we want that feeling of freedom, and I am so happy to have found it.
I skate because it saved my life. I discovered it whilst I was in a long-term admission to a psychiatric hospital. My friend took me along to a roller disco in York when it was a really difficult time. I honestly think I wouldn’t have coped with being there [hospital] at points if it wasn’t for discovering skating. It was an escape from all that was going on; an outlet.
It gives me a reason to keep my body well and look after it - if I hurt myself then I can’t skate. And skating makes me feel wonderful and free and I don’t think of anything else whilst I’m skating…so I keep myself safe because I’d be missing out on something I love - and something that keeps my mind well too. It keeps on saving me every day. Plus…new tricks and new people to meet! Yes please! :) I’ve now been skating for about 15 months or so on and off.
Skating is very dear to me. I remember skating as a child and I loved it. I grew up in a dysfunctional and abusive home, but on Friday, on my roller skates, I was free - I could fly. Later, I grew up with a lot of problems. I had put down my roller skates and picked up may bad habits. I was a street drug addict but I still dreamed of my roller skates! I thought one day I'd try derby. One day I'd return to skate just to fly on my skates, like I did in my dreams and when I was a kid.
Well when I was 29, I began my recovery. About a year into my recovery I started derby. A year after that I realised what I really love to do was to dance on my roller skates!
So that's what I do! I have been clean for 5 years now and I'm committed to skating at least twice a week. It's been a cornerstone of my recovery.
As an adult, I was reunited with my father's side of the family and I met my grandmother for the first time since infancy. Guess what? She was a dance skater too! All these years and I didn't even know her! Skating is a part of me.
I now work supporting others with their recovery and every day I spread the word on how skating has supported my recovery.
I enjoy skating because it makes me feel powerful. Nothing feels better than learning a new skill, like laterals, dropping in, jumping and being able to do it flawlessly and add speed and start doing fancy tricks. It gives you an adrenaline rush and it's really scary, but there's nothing more empowering than doing what you thought to be impossible.
The community is also amazing, everyone is so nice. If you make a mistake people will help you instead of laughing because falling is part of it.
If you would like to submit your story, please email email@example.com and let us know why you skate.