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Artistic Skating Forum Discussions about any topic related to artistic roller skating including quad artistic skating, inline figure skating, pairs, dance, synchronized skating, and show skating.

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Old March 11th, 2014, 02:42 PM   #1
emtdpf
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Default from the President of USA Roller Sports

This is in letter form, all I did was do a copy past of the contents....I've read it a couple of times now, and, I'm not sure of my reaction. I usually do not get involved with political conflict...... so for now I'm neutral, but tilting fast.

We all know that the decline in skating is and has been lurking for a long time, and it seems like their solution to this is to charge the active competitors more money......lol......in all of the disciplines.

The note about the extra $10.00 per event, that might be a deal breaker for some partipants that skate 4,5,or 6 events, especially for the younger skaters.... because they cant draw in any spectators? I know in my case.... I dont want to go watch circle figures at 6 am on a sunday morning.....lol

I think that this is note is going to scare more people away. I know for me...its getting close. I dont want things for free, and I understand the cost of doing business, but, I'm getting to the age where I would like to spend more time with my wife, and hiking and biking are a lot less money......lol

These are my thoughts and your mile may vary.

Enjoy!


March 7, 2014

Message from the President

As President of USARS, it is my responsibility to inform the key members of our organization, officials, coaches, board members and regional representatives, of the current state of our sport. As most of you have observed over the years, we have had a declining membership in every discipline. Last year the decline in membership was accelerated by a major drop in Derby exacerbated by an increase in our insurance costs. This combination along with other factors placed USARS in a negative cash flow
situation. We, the leadership, did not realize the severity of the decline until late June, and could not react in 2013 to lessen the financial impact.

Once the board was made aware of the situation, the following actions were implemented to stabilize our financial situation.

 Adjust staffing at the national office to an appropriate level for current membership levels.
 Requested and received a $100,000 grant and $200,000 loan from the Roller Sports Foundation
 Insurance coverage was renegotiated for 2014 with significant savings.
 National Championships staff and official’s budget will be reduced by 15%.
 Senior athletes who qualify to compete in World Championships will no longer receive a $1000 contribution from USARS toward their expenses to compete at a World Meet. At some point if financially feasible we will reinstate the funding.
 Attendance at international meetings to keep Roller Sports visible in Pan Am venues and World Organizations will be reduced to one representative.
 Face to face Board of Director Meetings be reduced to one per year. This will comply with the minimal requirements of the USOC. Other Board Meetings will be electronic and/or video teleconferenced resulting in a savings.

 In addition to the National Championships fee increase already implemented, there will be an additional assessment of $10 per event for this year to help compensate for the lost National Championships spectator fees ($46,000). Once again, there will be no spectator fees.

There are new reports and tools to monitor and allow earlier intervention to correct such issues in the future. The above actions will help stabilize our finances to the membership levels of last year. If membership continues the downward trend in 2014, deeper cuts will be necessary. Year to date membership numbers are lower in Derby and Inline Hockey.

Other cost savings are being investigated but the root cause continues to be decreased membership. Focus needs to be on growth at the entry level for each discipline, making the sport more accessible to a larger group of people. This will also help facility owners and the equipment suppliers. In addition we need to cultivate more coaches, instructors and officials.

Derby and Inline Hockey have the additional challenge of competing organizations.

A potential area of growth is Inline Freestyle (cones and slalom). This is potentially a new sport that could be managed at the facility level for instruction and competition. These additional patrons would be beneficial to rink owners. USARS also would benefit with new membership.

Overall, we need your support and ideas to turn the trend and grow our clubs and membership. Please contact me or a board member directly with ideas, suggestions and success stories. Together we can change our present course and rebuild our sport.
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Old March 11th, 2014, 05:29 PM   #2
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1) you can NOT run a negative cash flow. It just doesn't work. There is no way to do it.

2) It used to be: "This is Nationals! " I am probably a hold over from another era but $10 per event isn't going to make a difference in my decision to skate nationals or not. This is Nationals!!! To me, Nationals just isn't the "last event of the season." You have to qualify...this is the best of the best. I realize that is somewhat outdated and Nationals is practically "open" at this point but not every skater deserves to go and I think the mindset has change to Nationals just being another contest.

3) There needs to be some changes with USARS. I do not think there is anyone that would disagree with that. Yes, numbers are WAY down. The sport needs to address that and make changes accordingly. Rules should be made that do not discourage skaters.

My personal thoughts? If you are tired of skating then you are tired of skating. It is a sport of passion. Sometimes passions fade...it's just life. If you want it you will find a way to do it...if you don't then you switch to something else.

I would like to see more transparency in the USARS budget. The travel expenses alone were quite high. I do not want to pay for an entourage to travel when 1 person is sufficient to get the job done.

As for cycling being cheaper....well, my race bike is $3,000, clothes are about $200 per outfit, shoes, helmets, etc. It ain't exactly a cheap sport to get into! :-)

My armchair analysis....raise entry fees minimally, raise amateur cards and coaches cards minimally, cut WAY down on travel expenses, oh....and cut WAY down on travel expenses...and did I mention travel expenses?...and charge a spectator fee at nationals. Even if you charge half of what you were charging it is still cash coming in. USARS also needs to rectify the issues they are having with Derby. USARS is competing against other Derby governing bodies.

And then there is the part I do not know about USARS...they should be looking for sponsorship...not just the USOC...pull in the corporations. I don't care if I see a Geico banner at nationals.

Last edited by inverse137; March 11th, 2014 at 08:04 PM.
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Old March 11th, 2014, 06:26 PM   #3
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I understand about all of the "startup" costs

Mt Bike $1600 used, maint of said bike.... minimum, tires, rims, the ocasional shocks and front end, Cloths..... what ever i have.

Running, shoes $100-150 twice a year to keep you feet out of trouble, (could be less, depending on how many miles you put in).

and dont even get me started on Scuba diving, certs, iniital start and maintenance, upgrades

Skating.... boots, $500 every few years, wheels....? Costumes....... $700+ per year depending on how many events you skate.......plus travel for lessons and rink time, coaching fees.....

Skiing / snow boarding......hiking..... motorcycles and jeeps........

getting into.... cost money......performing the sport.... you can ride the road....free, I can ride the trails ....free......skating, what I do, need a rink... money, need a coach... money..... competition, while dont need it, what is the point of rink and coach.....lol..... I like skating, it keeps me young.

I understand it all cost money.............and I drive my wife crazy with all of the stuff that I'm into.......


And I'm going to skate another year or two.... but i guess what I was "complaining" about is that they are going to tack on and extra $20 on top of all my other fees, am card, entry fees........ becasue they dont want to charge for spectators..It may sound like an extra 20, but in reality, coaching fees go up, entrance fees go up, am cards go up....So in reality, its probably going up an additional 50-75, just for nationals... I'm getting charged $20........ i know of a family that has 3 girls........ 2 figure events, 2 loop events, at least on solo dance event and possibly two if they challenge up, plus they skate what ever jwc events..... for that family, an extra $180 +......plus all of the other fees..... in this case, I'm sure that the parents would gladly pay spectator fees.....lol..

I get the rest of what you are saying and agree, like i said, I'm not as in tune as some are about the financial disposition of USRS.....

I agree, charge spectator fees........ but then again, spectators attendance is tough at best for Nationals.......Nationals doesnt mean what it used to.
Why not stay away from "arenas" and travel around the country using existing rinks for Nationals, much like they do for Regionals.

I like the idea of rounding up sponsors!

I understand if you dont like it, get out.... I know a lot of people who have, since I've come back.......Life moves on.......

I'm sure there are other ideas to cut the budget as you suggested......

This was more of a public service announcement.....lol... I know some of you folks are into stuff like this.....

the above will be looked at, as random thoughts......lol, I thought and added, went to lunch and added...... did some work, and added......
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Old March 11th, 2014, 08:06 PM   #4
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I understand if you dont like it, get out.... I know a lot of people who have, since I've come back.......Life moves on.......
The one thing I disagree with...I wasn't saying, "if you don't like it get out." Quite the opposite. If you don't like it ...fight for it!

The only time you should get out is when it is no longer fun!
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Old March 12th, 2014, 07:45 AM   #5
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This is just a basic formula. Change one side and you need to balance the other side or it all goes bang. Why is it so hard to see what is happening or maybe it isn't and they are too lazy or they are too stupid to fix it.

Cost = C (amount of money)
People = P (number of people)
Charges = M (what a single person is charged)

C = P * M

Therefore if C goes up, then either M or P needs to go up to balance. If C goes down (unlikely) then P or M can go down and still pay the bills.

They choose to affect M (what we are charged) and not P. Now there are consequences to whatever choice they make. M is easy to change, where P is not. To get more people they have to be creative and possibly spend more initially. My personal feelings are that they don't have the skills or knowledge to sell SKATING that is fun and healthy and safe. They would rather take the easy way and just charge more.

I agree that a business needs money to run. Without the money you have no business, but as in the equation, you also have people (the customers). If you don't have customers or enough customers you have no money or in the end, you have no business. What do businesses do? They advertise, they make it appealing, they make it safe, they make it fun, they make it easy.

The answers we have already touched on over the years. Lighting, noise/music, floor guards, hoodlum kids just wanting to hang out scaring away the fun loving families. There are many more reasons. But instead of teaching the rink owners and helping to get more rinks in business, they decide to charge more. here we have a yin and yang. charge more and people who are already stretched will eventually come to a point where the cost benefit is such that they will have to go to something less expensive.

This isn't a one sided equation. It has multiple dimensions and very dynamic. I am not impressed with those charged with overseeing our sport. They are either lazy or stupid or both. This can be fixed, but of course it does cost money to effect changes. They most likely are not willing to take the chance.

Ok, my rant is over.
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Old March 12th, 2014, 06:15 PM   #6
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Cost is a major consideration in any sport, even in team sports. Club costs aren't cheap. World class tennis or gymnastics is pretty darn expensive too. So I'm not overwhelmed that cost will deter many. To me it's just an indicator of a badly run business. You can't just increase the price to solve problems.

How do they plan to "cultivate more coaches, instructors and officials?"

The other thing is that they need more rinks and rink owners who care. I'd like to open my own rink (when I retire from government service), but there is so little information available for start-ups. The only real information requires $500 to buy what appears to be a pretty dated guide. The rinks that exist are often mismanaged and run down. The rink I go to now is completely mismanaged. In fact, the owner(s) are trying to build a better rink someplace else due to rent disputes but as I told the art coach...the main problem is the rink owner is not involved enough in the business.

I also believe they need to bring in more spectators. More spectators, more competitors equals more sponsors.

I just think that if I were running things, skating would be on a major rebound. Of course, I may be a little self-confident.
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Old March 12th, 2014, 08:24 PM   #7
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Yeah! what he said...

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Originally Posted by Sir Aaron View Post
Cost is a major consideration in any sport, even in team sports. Club costs aren't cheap. World class tennis or gymnastics is pretty darn expensive too. So I'm not overwhelmed that cost will deter many. To me it's just an indicator of a badly run business. You can't just increase the price to solve problems.

How do they plan to "cultivate more coaches, instructors and officials?"

The other thing is that they need more rinks and rink owners who care. I'd like to open my own rink (when I retire from government service), but there is so little information available for start-ups. The only real information requires $500 to buy what appears to be a pretty dated guide. The rinks that exist are often mismanaged and run down. The rink I go to now is completely mismanaged. In fact, the owner(s) are trying to build a better rink someplace else due to rent disputes but as I told the art coach...the main problem is the rink owner is not involved enough in the business.

I also believe they need to bring in more spectators. More spectators, more competitors equals more sponsors.

I just think that if I were running things, skating would be on a major rebound. Of course, I may be a little self-confident.
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Old March 12th, 2014, 09:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Aaron View Post
Cost is a major consideration in any sport, even in team sports. Club costs aren't cheap. World class tennis or gymnastics is pretty darn expensive too. So I'm not overwhelmed that cost will deter many. To me it's just an indicator of a badly run business. You can't just increase the price to solve problems.

How do they plan to "cultivate more coaches, instructors and officials?"

The other thing is that they need more rinks and rink owners who care. I'd like to open my own rink (when I retire from government service), but there is so little information available for start-ups. The only real information requires $500 to buy what appears to be a pretty dated guide. The rinks that exist are often mismanaged and run down. The rink I go to now is completely mismanaged. In fact, the owner(s) are trying to build a better rink someplace else due to rent disputes but as I told the art coach...the main problem is the rink owner is not involved enough in the business.

I also believe they need to bring in more spectators. More spectators, more competitors equals more sponsors.

I just think that if I were running things, skating would be on a major rebound. Of course, I may be a little self-confident.

See..that is just it! Everyone is serious about opening a rink....right up until they have to start writing checks.

$500 for a pre-filled business plan? That is absolutely nothing compared to startup cost which will be in the six-figures. I'm sorry but that is true. I've seen a good portion of that book. It has lots of valuable information. Consultants alone would cost you more than the $500.

There are lots of profitable rinks.

But USARS deals with the sport...not rinks. Rinks is the RSA.

Everyone thinks if they were running things that everything would be great...so run things! Make the your current rink owner an offer. 1.5 x annual revenue seems like a realistic starting point.

But...and a HUGE but....the rink owner knows his business. He sees the financials and the trends.

When I worked for companies I often found myself saying..that's a dumb decision or stupid path to take. Then I put my money where my mouth was and went out on my own. And...well, I found myself traveling a lot of the same paths I questioned as an employee :-)

Skating is cyclical. It will rebound one day....it always does. It will evolve and change.

I guess what I'm saying is just be careful going into something blind. An artistic skater knows a lot about Roller Skating but very little about the Roller Skating business.
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Old March 13th, 2014, 02:53 AM   #9
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There is a dearth of active, competitive, artistic/figure/dance skaters on this forum. Is this an indicator of a dying sport? I'd say absolutely yes when it comes to the sport in North America.

Inline, aggressive, derby, jam skating and skate board disciplines have taken away a great many of those athletes who would probably never give a second thought to rolling around in some goofy looking high top boots.

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Old March 13th, 2014, 09:26 PM   #10
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I agree a lot with there is a difference between the business and the artistic skating. The question comes back to how we get the artistic skating to grow again. I disagree that this is cyclical. I started in the late 60's and saw some minor trends or vibrations in the overall trend which has been down. There is no overall trend up.

I don't believe that there is a separation between the business and the art skating. I believe that they both can mutually help each other. This is where USARS can help make the individual rink owners successful.

Stop for a minute: Lets look at the business end.
1. business needs people to come in and pay money.
2. businesses usually don't care or prejudge who pays - this is usually a good position unless some of the people drive away others and are distructive.
3. businesses typically cut things such as programs or frills when needed to save money.

Now let's address this some:
1. People now a days have other things more fun than to go to a rink to have hoodlums running into you and being dangerous.
2. In a business that relies on customers to behave to make it enjoyable for others to share then not caring who comes in and runs the show causes the good fun loving customers not to want to frequent the business.
3. Cutting things reminds me of a joke that has a good point: Joe the rancher has a prize cow but joe is falling on hard times but he can't bring himself to sell his cow. But joe is getting hungry. About a month later Joe is desperate and decides to sell the prize cow. A rich man who saw the price cow at a fair came to joe and made an huge offer. Joe takes the man out to see the cow. The rich man said: "Oh heck what happened to the cow?" you see, that cow had 3 wooden legs. yes wooden legs. Joe answers the rich man and said: Well I was hungry. The rich man said: Then why not just slaughter the cow and be done with it. Joe responds: you know, a prize cow that means so much to us is too important to eat all at once.

Now that sounds crazy but that is what a lot of businesses do. They get rid of something they think they can do without because they have other needs. Most industries sell off parts and believe it or not they usually sell of money making parts because very few other companies want to buy a money loser. Then that business starts to spiral down.

For skating I notice many things dropping business. But the most telling is that the people that were consistently skating were families that were good wholesome people. They were also the club skaters and competitive skaters.

But it was easier to get more people by changing a few things. Let's have less sessions, maybe only friday and Saturday and one other night and we can concentrate on parties. Lets cut out some of the extra floor guards and relax some speed rules. Let's add a few blinking lights and some mirror balls and we can turn out the lights and save on electricity. We can cut back on allowing artistic skaters from practicing when there are no sessions. Even though the club skaters paid, it wasn't enough to cover the cost of a person there to monitor and for the electric needs. And it goes on and on.

Now there are consequences to making those decisions. Music and lighting and less or no floor guards is a disincentive for safety conscience people (the consistent people) to continue to skate. They slowly stop. Club skaters with little or no practice time and lesson time slowly stop. The wilder crowd start to take over and soon they get bored and most of them drop away. The owners have no idea why. The business dies a slow death.

Club skaters are impressive to watch and people have a desire to do the things that Artistic Skaters do. It isn't huge movements in people coming to skate but a slow growth but it is a healthy growth. But the owners don't understand why the business is shrinking. maybe raise the price and then fewer people will go.

What can be done? Business training on how catering to the family unit and those that want a sport and not just a place to gather would be helpful. Promote skating as an Art proactively. Yes it will take money but I think that is a good use of the money. Of course that is my personal opinion...

The business and the sport can mutually support each other in a symbiotic relationship. Together they are stronger and both can grow.

But then what do I know. I am sure that all those failing rinks know what they are doing...




Quote:
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See..that is just it! Everyone is serious about opening a rink....right up until they have to start writing checks.

$500 for a pre-filled business plan? That is absolutely nothing compared to startup cost which will be in the six-figures. I'm sorry but that is true. I've seen a good portion of that book. It has lots of valuable information. Consultants alone would cost you more than the $500.

There are lots of profitable rinks.

But USARS deals with the sport...not rinks. Rinks is the RSA.

Everyone thinks if they were running things that everything would be great...so run things! Make the your current rink owner an offer. 1.5 x annual revenue seems like a realistic starting point.

But...and a HUGE but....the rink owner knows his business. He sees the financials and the trends.

When I worked for companies I often found myself saying..that's a dumb decision or stupid path to take. Then I put my money where my mouth was and went out on my own. And...well, I found myself traveling a lot of the same paths I questioned as an employee :-)

Skating is cyclical. It will rebound one day....it always does. It will evolve and change.

I guess what I'm saying is just be careful going into something blind. An artistic skater knows a lot about Roller Skating but very little about the Roller Skating business.
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Old March 14th, 2014, 06:35 AM   #11
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This conversation is going on on the Facebook Dance Skaters group too.
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Old March 14th, 2014, 11:15 PM   #12
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This conversation is going on on the Facebook Dance Skaters group too.
OK, I don't like to get political very often on this board but....

I read a significant portion of that post on FB. I don't really have a FB account so I won't reply there.

To me....that just seemed like a bunch of mis-informed people blowing off steam.

There were several references to ice skating and modeling them....

Well, ice skating is hurting too. Their numbers are WAY down, their viewership is WAY down. Their 'stars' are saying the sport is in trouble:

http://articles.latimes.com/2014/feb...ng-us-20140207

The top U.S. man was 9th, the top U.S. woman was 4th. The only medal was in Freedance.

Everyone still has the Olympic fantasy for artistic skating. Artistic skating will not be in the Olympics. People do NOT want a subjectively judged sport. I think you would be hard pressed to find someone that would argue that ice skating would be able to be added if it weren't already included. Ask a roller skater if they think ballroom dancing should be an Olympic sport ;-)

But I don't skate for glory...and I don't coach for money. I skate for me. And that is enough :-)

I also got the vibe that people want USARS to "fix" the problem. USARS is not the solution. The people are. The sport will be rebuilt one skater at a time.

WE, the rink I skate at, have been busting our asses off the last two years to get kids into the club. And you know what? It just started gaining traction. We went from 5 core skaters and built from there! We have kids in the program now!!!

There are no "grandiose" solutions to getting skaters. The people that love the sport need to skate the sessions and get kids interested. The previous generations of skaters are going to help rebuild the sport. Not the governing body.

And the artistic skaters need to be realistic with the expectations of the rink owners. A rink is a business. You are going to have to take odd-ball practice times. You are going to have to show the rink owners that it is advantageous to let the various clubs pull skaters in. "Rink Rats" are a good thing.

I just think people are devoting too much energy at being mad at USARS and not enough energy getting the next generation of skaters introduced to the sport.

USARS needs to be fixed, but USARS isn't going to get skaters. Every kid that we have gotten into the club was because WE worked with the kids, not USARS.
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Old March 16th, 2014, 04:43 AM   #13
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See..that is just it! Everyone is serious about opening a rink....right up until they have to start writing checks.

$500 for a pre-filled business plan? That is absolutely nothing compared to startup cost which will be in the six-figures. I'm sorry but that is true. I've seen a good portion of that book. It has lots of valuable information. Consultants alone would cost you more than the $500.
I'm more than willing to plunk down $500 for "valuable information." However, most of what I've read contradicts what you say here, namely that the guide contains valuable information. Most of the contact I have indicates the guide is severely dated and not worth the money. I'd like to take a look at the book before buying it.

Quote:
There are lots of profitable rinks.
Sure. And I'm sure there are badly run ones that are very profitable just as there are professional sports teams that are extremely profitable but come in dead last every season.

Quote:
But USARS deals with the sport...not rinks. Rinks is the RSA.
Ahh...the circle of life. No rinks, no sports. Bad rinks, no sports. Don't get me wrong....it's not like this is the only source of the sport's problems. And I agree that coming up with a national solution isn't going to be the be all to end all.

Quote:
Everyone thinks if they were running things that everything would be great...so run things! Make the your current rink owner an offer. 1.5 x annual revenue seems like a realistic starting point.
Sure. As much as I'd love to do that, I'm not buying any business until I've seen the books. And secondarily, I can't until I retire. I can't work full-time and run a roller rink (not properly anyways). A rink owner, IMHO, ought to be present and actually...I don't know...enjoy skating. But I am doing research and looking for additional information.

Quote:
I guess what I'm saying is just be careful going into something blind. An artistic skater knows a lot about Roller Skating but very little about the Roller Skating business.
My problem is I'm just starting to skate, but I know a lot about business.
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Old March 16th, 2014, 05:04 AM   #14
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"Rink Rats" are a good thing.
Ain't that the truth.

I also agree with you that the Olympics do not want another subjective sport. (although they added a bunch of snowboard events didn't they?). I was told Roller Skating had a recent scoring controversy as well.

The article you linked to was great. The rules have really hurt ice skating because you can watch 20 skaters and after 5 you've seen everything. I'd love to see more flexibility and moves.
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Old March 17th, 2014, 02:12 AM   #15
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I'm more than willing to plunk down $500 for "valuable information." However, most of what I've read contradicts what you say here, namely that the guide contains valuable information. Most of the contact I have indicates the guide is severely dated and not worth the money. I'd like to take a look at the book before buying it.



Sure. And I'm sure there are badly run ones that are very profitable just as there are professional sports teams that are extremely profitable but come in dead last every season.



Ahh...the circle of life. No rinks, no sports. Bad rinks, no sports. Don't get me wrong....it's not like this is the only source of the sport's problems. And I agree that coming up with a national solution isn't going to be the be all to end all.



Sure. As much as I'd love to do that, I'm not buying any business until I've seen the books. And secondarily, I can't until I retire. I can't work full-time and run a roller rink (not properly anyways). A rink owner, IMHO, ought to be present and actually...I don't know...enjoy skating. But I am doing research and looking for additional information.



My problem is I'm just starting to skate, but I know a lot about business.
Sir Aaron, and others whom may be interested. Instead of starting a new topic, I am interjecting into this thread a brief notice.

Today, I received the news our rink is closing in about three weeks. Its history is thus: Roller Odyssey, originally known as Medford Skate University, was built in ca. 1973. Its design was almost identical to a number of rinks built about the same time on the west coast.

Due to a series of circumstances, mainly a death is the family of the management/lessee; business has declined steadily over the past 10 years. At one time there was an active artistic club, and later on it hosted flat track derby bouts, cage fighting, concerts, and quinceneras.

The building is grandfathered as a skating rink, and is useful for nothing else. I fear, unless an interested investor steps in; what has been host to thousands of hours of joy and recreation is doomed to be razed and replaced with apartment buildings or condominiums, such as is happening in northern California.

At age 70, it isn't practical to relocate to a city with a rink. My options are: switch to ice, gear up for outdoor skating, or spend weekends in Portland, Oregon at Oaks Park. However, I don't care fore those options.

I believe there is much potential for Roller Odyssey. It just needs an owner who is able to devote the loving care it needs to transform from a diamond in the rough to s shinning jewel. If anyone is interested in more details, contact information is here: http://www.sk8info.com/ Ask for Heather or Sheryl.
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Old March 19th, 2014, 02:04 AM   #16
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That really presents an opportunity. I couldn't do it because I work for the government and I'd have to quit and move to Oregon.
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Old March 19th, 2014, 03:43 AM   #17
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That really presents an opportunity. I couldn't do it because I work for the government and I'd have to quit and move to Oregon.
We have government jobs, lot of them. We also have a beautiful climate, Crater Lake and the magnificent Oregon Coast. Hopefully someone will be interested in keeping the rink from becoming condominium city.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 04:48 PM   #18
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We have government jobs, lot of them. We also have a beautiful climate, Crater Lake and the magnificent Oregon Coast. Hopefully someone will be interested in keeping the rink from becoming condominium city.
LOL. I work for the federal government and I couldn't get a transfer. I have too many years to give up the pension and healthcare. Plus, I know where Medford is having driven through there on my way to Portland (and back).

But you make a great tourism director for your city.

I would be willing to invest, but I'd need people to run the place.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 05:27 PM   #19
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LOL. I work for the federal government and I couldn't get a transfer. I have too many years to give up the pension and healthcare. Plus, I know where Medford is having driven through there on my way to Portland (and back).

But you make a great tourism director for your city.

I would be willing to invest, but I'd need people to run the place.
Sir Aaron, private message sent.
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Old March 21st, 2014, 05:11 PM   #20
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The decline of skating is due to a variety of reasons. But, IMO, the skating industry is its own worst enemy. The decline of skating has been a slow downward spiral that is going to be difficult to reverse.

Over the past 20 years or so, I have been involved with speed, artistic and derby. I got to see how each discipline has been affected.

Speed skating has lost its appeal due to the technology. The speeds and skill level required to compete in inlines is too much. People look at how fast the skaters are going, how much decent speed skates cost and get turned off. Back in the era of quads, skaters could get some decent wheels and bearings for their sessions skates, attend practices for a while and compete at a local level. Now, with inlines, the skates are purpose built, tough to learn how to skate properly and increasingly dangerous due to amount of speed one can generate and have little to no control. Lets add to the fact, speed skates suck to use in public sessions. They are uncomfortable, tiring and clunky to skate in crowds. Nobody wants to put in the effort and cost, especially when they have only a hand full of people to compete against.

Sad to say, art skating is in the toilet. There are pockets of clubs that are doing well, but in general, not good. A few years back, USARS tried to level the playing field and dumbed down the requirements to advance. Locally, this killed the art scene. Not many moved up. However, the advanced skaters that had their groups skill levels decreased left in droves because their competition had been dumbed down. Nobody has or will replace them. Sad to see them go. Lots of hard work and talent lost.

USARS involvement with derby has been lackluster at best. A few years ago when derby was starting to explode, USARS provided insurance and not much more. No rules, no tournaments, no standard practices, no support, nothing. They sat on their hands and watched as WFTDA built the sport. USARS was making money on insurance premiums and that was good enough for the moment. They eventually released rules, but they are so full of holes, they are very frustrating for skaters to use. Some skaters love them, a majority laugh at the lack of effort put forth. A year or so ago, WFTDA offered insurance to non WFTDA member leagues. There goes the need for a USARS membership. USARS is still doing the minimal amount of work with almost no resources dedicated to derby. When compared to WFTDA, the amount of effort USARS has put forth is a joke. USARS was handed a golden egg and did nothing with it. Derby continues to grow, meanwhile USARS continues to loose market share.

Then there is the RSA..... From my personal experiences, the RSA is against skating. They are about giving up floor space for bounce arounds, bumper cars, rock walls, portable bowling alleys, etc. Rink owners look to the RSA for guidance, and so many blindly follow the RSA's recommendations. In doing so, skating is being killed off. I spoke with one rink manager that did not follow the RSA business model. He was told to improve their business, they need to eliminate derby and hockey from their rink and put in a bunch of non skating crap. The RSA said derby and hockey was bad for business. The manager promptly to the RSA to go away. The rink is still being run like a rink, not a playground and doing quite well. The general public has a place to skate. Derby and hockey both thrive there, and the rink gets a ton of residual business from them. It feels like the old time rink managers are disappearing and being replaced by people that don't get it and they do whatever the RSA tells them to do which effectively kills off skating. With no skaters, and venues being converted into playgrounds with skating, competitive skaters are loosing places to skate thus hurting USARS.
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