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Old August 6th, 2016, 08:34 PM   #62
Joey
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana USA
Posts: 492
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Some drastic changes have occurred since the '60s through the '80s that have had direct or indirect effects on skating rinks as well as many other recreational opportunities. Here is a list of the obvious that come to mind.

1. Parents are frightened to let their kids out of their sight since the mid 80s. Back in the '60s and '70s my friends and I rode our bicycles to skating rinks. This meant our parents did not have to be involved time-wise.

2. Skating rinks were in or near our neighborhoods. Often more than one choice. This is still the case for some lucky few but as a rule, kids can't get themselves to a rink even if they wanted to.

3. Children are the future of anything. If young people can't or won't get involved that industry will perish.

4. The growth in popularity of soccer as a team sport in the USA. Any kid can play and the outlay of cash for the parents is minimal. Unlike baseball and football, soccer for little kids takes zero skill or special equipment. And there are soccer fields EVERYWHERE in urban or rural areas and require very little maintenance and outlay of cash.

5. The invention of polyurethane. Now skaters were off the clay wheels and onto big, soft, cushioned, outdoor capable wheels. No need for perfect outdoor surfaces any more.

6. The advent of popularity of Inline skates. This created a drastic increase in skaters, but drove many out of rinks and onto bike paths or streets. Aggressive skating lured most of the kids. This was something they could do near home on their own and the expense was minimal. Rinks cost money every time you want to skate, and the hours of operation were finite. Purchase a nice pair of inline skates and skate for free any time you want until the wheels/bearings need replacing.

7. Increased popularity of skateboards. See "Boys of Dogtown" for more info.

8. Video games. Now kids can stay entertained IN THE HOUSE which makes fearful parents happy and sucks up amazing amounts of time for many kids.

9. The expense of cell phone service. Every kid wants a cell phone. Some parents are spending $500 every month on cell phone service. Throw in High Speed Wireless internet and some decent cable TV stations and the outlay could reach $1000/month for a household. Throw in the cost of movie theaters (which are also dinosaurs just looking for a place to lie down and die) and there is no money for kids skates as well as no time to skate with all of the electronic entertainment available.

10. Water parks, lazer tag, miniature golf, go-cart racing, fantastic amusement parks, bicycling, rising costs of health insurance, amazing price tags for family cars filled with more electronic pacifiers and safety systems, and we could go on and on naming competition for skating rinks, even if someone could afford the land near a populated area.

Certainly there are hundreds of other factors, but you get my drift. Skating rinks and those who use them are dinosaurs. It is just a matter of time before we are fossils in the Smithsonian unfortunately.
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