Updated: Jan 3
by Mel Blackwood @troubleon8wheels
Have you ever stopped to wonder why roller skating means so much to so many people?
Why does someone need to have the latest equipment? Why does someone spend so long working on their skill?
Why do people gravitate together to create spaces to roller skate?
I have and I don't have any answers. I haven't spoken to every roller skater out there, but the skaters who come into our shop and I've met out and about have had very different things to share.
Ultimately everyone is different.
People are at different life stages, can access roller skating in different ways.
People who are parents are not able to have the same experience as those who do not. Folks who's livelihood depends on being present (and unbroken) at work do not take the same risks as folks who do not carry this responsibility. The way we act is therefore different.
It's easy to get caught up into the 'not enough' cycle.
I'm not good enough.
I'm not skilled enough.
I don't have good enough equipment.
I urge you to remember why you wanted to start roller skating in the first place, before it got oh-so-serious...
To have fun?
To connect with others?
To be more physically active?
To learn a new skill? To challenge yourself?
To gain sponsorship? To elevate your life?
Bring your roller skating back to you. Particularly at this time of year (in the post-Christmas slump) when we in the UK are fighting poor weather for outdoor skating and motivation to do anything is fairly low - try to remember why YOU started.
Don't worry about anyone else. We all skate for different reasons, all of them valid.
It has taken me many years to be able to congratulate someone else who seemingly blitzes through a skill I feel I have no hope of achieving in that time. I had to reframe my jealousy into a tool, useful for finding out what is important to me. I rarely feel jealous now, not never, just rarely.
There will always be someone with newer skates than you. Someone with more time than you. Someone with more determination, fewer commitments at this time and so on. If we allow these thoughts to fester in our minds, they will slowly suck all the joy from this activity. At worst, they will also poison us about other people.
Here is your reminder to think about why you started roller skating in the first place.
Things you need when you are learning to roller skate:
protective pads (essential if you are starting out)
encouraging friends - even if they are not with you, they will encourage you to keep trying
Did this reminder help you today?
Roller Girl Gang run classes and events for roller skaters in Leeds, for adults of all identities and skill levels. We particularly welcome folks who are marginalised elsewhere. In October 2020, we opened a roller skate shop, stocking gorgeous roller skates and accessories.
Roller Girl Gang are proud to be female owned and operated.
We appreciate you attending our classes and buying from our shop. This helps us to grow our roller skate community.