Roller skating is not just for derby, though you may get that impression from reading my blog! According to the National Roller Skating Association many athletes known for other sports skated early in life and were able to adapt roller skating strengths and skills to the sport that made them famous.
NBA 2004 Slam Dunk Champion, Fred Jones, credits roller skating with strengthening his leg muscles, which helped result in a successful college career at Oregon and a position with the Indiana Pacers. Olympic gold medal speed skater Chad Hedrick started his career on roller skates before switching to ice skates to compete in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Olympic speed skater Apollo Ono also began competing in speed skating with inline skates before switching to ice blades to compete in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.And it's not just athletes, celebrities like roller skating, too.
Grammy winner and pop music star Beyonce Knowles hosted her 21st birthday party at a rink in Atlanta. Bow Wow, Mike Epps and Jurnee Smollett, all avid roller skaters, recently starred in the roller skating-themed movie, “Roll Bounce.” Janet Jackson and Kim Bassinger both host star-studded birthday parties at a skating center in California. Singers Missy Elliot and Ciara each featured roller skating in recent music videos. The musicians from Matchbox 20 shot one of their videos in a roller rink where they skated on quad skates.On a personal note, I started skating when I was five and continued through high school. I was lucky to live near a 5 mile paved hike and trail and went to Galveston to skate on the seawall almost every weekend. I made the unfortunate mistake of leaving my skates when I went to college and my mom sold them in a garage sale. I never asked what she got for them; I was too upset. When I decided I could afford a new pair I couldn't find quads (before the internet) and got a cheap pair of inlines just to see if I liked them. I have to admit I never really did, but I wanted to skate so I bought a better pair and gave the others to a little girl who wanted them. I gave her my pads, too because I wanted her to be comfortable and develop a passion for skating. I moved, so I can only hope.
Anyway, I rolled around on the inlines for seven or eight years and got more confident, but never stopped thinking about my old skates. Once again, lucky for me the Texas Rollergirls got started here in Austin so there's been a brewing roller derby undercurrent for a few years now.
Earlier this year I stated thinking about my life and a quote "you'll regret the things you didn't do far more than those you did" (sorry, I have no idea who said it or where I heard it). Well, I'll be 40 in December and thought if I didn't at least try roller derby it would turn out to be one of the things I looked back and regretted never doing. Now I 'm trying to figure out what took me so long!
So I am celebrating October as National Roller Skating Month, but for me it's really every month and always has been.