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Old December 10th, 2015, 04:04 PM   #368
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC
Posts: 6
Default Why do I skate?

The easy answer is I skate 4 fitness but it gets somewhat complicated after that. I grew up in Chicago and each winter the creek would freeze and we would clear the snow so we could ice skate. Later we played hockey but otherwise, be outside all day.

At some point, we got sidewalk skates...quads. And so off and on over the years I roller skated but never seriously. Even about twenty years ago, gal I dated and was engaged too, we would take her daughter to the rink to skate. We broke up and so the affair would with the roller rink ended.

Roll forward and talking with my 88 year-old mother last summer, I was asking what message she would like to leave with her great grandchildren. After pressing the question she stated "Well we didn't text and tweet and ride around in the car with a cell phone plastered to our ear. And we did not sit in front of a computer all day." I asked again..."so what did you do that you would want them to know?" She said "we roller skated."

She grew up during World War II as a teen on the west side of Chicago, blocks from Madison Gardens Rink. It became their hangout where they would meet and skate 3-4 times a week. Often they would take the streetcar to other rinks that were perhaps 8-10 minutes away. Many of her friends, they grew up together, had families and continued with lifelong friendships. She mentioned that a couple won state championships.

The story intrigued me and I began to research and ask more questions. Understand, I knew she had skated but never asked questions. As I researched and learned more, I was intrigued and consumed by the topic, finally concluding this makes for a great story. Teens that grew up during the war years, hanging out at the rink, maintaining the skate scene as the social scene so when the boys returned from the front, they would return to that which was familiar...their home rink. But the story does not end there as many in her gang competed, locally as dance skaters but others went on to win national speed skating championships. She and her gang became the original rink rats!

After researching all kinds of archival information, I find myself now with 85 pages of material of which I hope will become a book about roller skating during the war years. The title: Chicago Rink Rats & the 1940s: Growing up in the Roller Capital

To get the feel of it all, I returned to roller skating and am now addicted to it. The buzz I get is not unlike the high I once enjoyed for years of running but had to end with knee surgery. I would run half-marathons and all the related training to ready for a race. I can skate without the side effects of the impact that running contributed but, boy what a thrill...unless of course I fall. So I now skate4fitness to supplement my other recreational lifestyle. As I travel, I bring my skates, find the closest rink and get a workout in!

That's the long answer to why I skate...hope you found this uplifting and look forward to sharing stories and experiences here on the skate forum.
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