Updated: Oct 11
We asked for you to share what inspired you to start roller skating. What drives you to put those wheels on. What roller skating means to you. We were truly humbled by the depth of feeling and power in the words and pictures you shared with us. Thank you for sharing these stories.
I joined roller derby in 2012 when I was in an abusive relationship. I knew about roller derby but I never thought it was something I could do. I didn't know how to roller skate and I had very little experience playing sports. I hated my body, I lacked confidence, and I was a broken person. Roller derby / roller skating taught me to love myself and my body, and helped me gain the confidence I needed to leave the relationship I was in. I am a completely different person because of roller skating.
Now I skate outside, I bomb hills, and I skate ramps. I trust myself and I love my body exactly the way it is. The love and joy roller skating brings me is of the purest kind. I share that joy by teaching others how to skate, how to be confident, how to trust themselves, and how to feel the skate love! I've met so many amazing skaters with amazing stories, both children and adults alike. I continue to have life changing experiences everyday because of the skates I strap to my feet and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Rollerskating means EVERYTHING to me. I've always loved having 8 wheels under my feet, since I was a child.
It makes me feel free, powerful, heroic! Even if I'm just strolling around without doing any particular trick. I love the feeling of the wind under my arm, I always spread them and pretend I'm flying :)
Rollerskating helped me so much fighting against anxiety and depression, a struggle I've had for several years. When I'm feeling down and nothing helps me stopping the vicious cycle of negative thoughts, rollerskating helps me by giving me something positive to stay focused on, especially ramp skating, where I must be watchful so I don't hurt myself.
The adrenaline flows, I have a lot of fun and when the session is over I feel literally reborn.
My friends always say I cannot stop smiling when I have wheels under my feet and that's true. Nothing makes me more satisfied.
Rollerskating is the biggest form of self-expression. It's my super power and I become my own super hero :)
I keep joking that adult me is just doing what 11 year old me always wanted to do, but with money I grew up roller skating, and then moved on to roller-blades as they were all the rage in the mid-90's -- growing up in a small town, the roller-rink was pretty much the only thing happening - so that's where I went, EVERY WEEKEND. I prided myself in being able to skate backwards fast enough for the rink owner to blow his whistle at me to SLOW DOWN! And during couples skate... I was ALWAYS the one doing the backwards skating lol. When I wasn't at the rink, I was playing roller-hockey in the street and building my own tiny ramps out of wood scraps from my dad... which landed me in the emergency room a few times.
And today, as an adult - I'm basically doing the same thing... but on bigger ramps and with *thankfully* fewer trips to the ER!
My love for skating was reignited in 2017, after going to some small roller disco events thrown at a hotel in Chicago - at those events I met Elizabeth Perez aka Cuban Miss Elle -- I confessed to her how cool I thought the roller girls were and inquired about where and how I could skate more. From that day on - I bought my first set of (cheap) skates and signed up for every JB, jam and dance skating class I could find in the city. I attended any and every pop-up roller event - and began taking ramp skating classes from Cuban at her DIY space La Bodega. It was the Bodega that really got me hooked - not only did I LOVE the feeling of being on a mini-ramp and attempting to unlock new skills with every visit - but what I really loved was the community that Cuban had built around this DIY skate space - full of badass babes of all different backgrounds coming together to learn, teach, grow and support one another. This is a space that makes me feel empowered, and strong, and like I can do anything - which is something that I think women in America (and across the world) are really needing.
Since that first trip to La Bodega - I've upgraded my skates, taken all the classes I can find - and have done my part to help further build the skate community here in Chicago. I've been part of Chicago Shred Union for about a year now - and have organized skate park meetups, roll-outs, takeovers of other cities like Milwaukee's indoor skate parks (three in 1 day - it was EPIC!), and ladies nights at Chicago indoor parks - I didn't know a single person in the skating scene when I started but I knew that if I put myself out there, way outside of my comfort zone, I could build the community I wanted to see in my city - and I think we've really started to do that! And I can't wait to see what that community looks like as I travel across different countries over this spring/summer - I know that skating will bridge all language barriers and I can't wait to see the relationships that I form because of it!
Thank you so much for all the inspiring stories about your skating journey.
We love to know what inspired you to get going - no matter your age, gender, background - it's all for the love of 8 wheels.
Happy Sunday and stay out of trouble :)