This week I took Elaine and our neighbor (her friend) to a school sponsored evening at the local roller skating rink. As the girls laced up their skates (inline or roller? Roller, please.), they commented on how ugly the rental skates are. I had to laugh. The rental skates have got to be the same skates I was renting back in the day. Have they yet to come out with new ones? Please tell me someone has at least put new wheels on them!
Because our elementary school is rather large, the roller skating rink had offered us two evenings to accommodate all of the kids. So on this particular night, it was only students in the third, fourth and fifth grades. I watched as a few of these elementary upperclassmen wiped out while others circled the rink at top speeds. Boys snuck up behind girls. Girls giggled as they skated away. Boys raced around the rink and out into the concession area. They limbo'ed and played the dice game. (You know the one. When the music stops, find a wall with a number on it. Employee in ref shirt rolls the die, and everyone on that number must leave the floor.) Kids lined up at the DJ booth to request songs. Meanwhile, the parents sat, as it was not a drop off event. But for our convenience, the Cardinals game played on a large TV, and we had access to their free wi-fi.
At some point the DJ chose to play Lorde's "Royals". It seemed as if all of the kids took to the floor, and they screamed/sang the lyrics as they circled and circled in their skates. When the song ended, there was a mass exodus to the concession stand - clearly time for a soda after all of that! I watched the kids - those who were filled with self-confidence acting as if they owned the place, and those who were terrified and oh so scared of embarassing themselves. Several songs the DJ played had the kids filling the rink and singing along. Each time I couldn't help but smile and laugh.
The sounds, the sights, the smells - it took me back in time. To Coachlite and Spinning Wheels where my friends and I were regulars on the weekends. Our parents would drop us off and we'd skate and check out cute boys; hoping that one of them would ask us to skate when it was "Couples or Backward Skaters Only". (Thank goodness I had mastered skating backward!) I could shoot the duck and limbo with the best of them. We spent our money on giant pixie sticks getting all hopped up on sugar. I had my own skates, a lovely white pair with blue and red stripes that had awesome blue wheels! (I was so jealous of the kids that owned the tennis shoe looking skates. Awesome!) I never managed to get those pom-pom things for my skates, but I still thought they looked good. I thought I looked good. And I imagine I looked a lot like my daughter - all bird legs and thin hair - happily whizzing around the rink as if I was all that and a bag of chips with a smile plastered across my face. Catching up to friends and then leaving them in the dust as a sped away.
Back then, it seemed to me that being a teenager and working at the skating rink was one of the most awesome jobs you could possibly have. Those were the cool kids for sure. However, while at the skating rink with all of those students I realized how very annoying that job could be - fielding DJ requests, finding three different sizes of skates for some kid who doesn't know what shoe size he wears, selling concessions and just dealing with children and parents in general.
As the evening wrapped up I overheard a conversation between the mother and daughter near us on the bench as Elaine and her friend removed their skates. The daughter had to have her mom pull her skates off - they were suck - and she mentioned how weird her feet felt and how tired her legs were. Her mom smiled at her, "yeah, I know. It feels like your legs are vibrating, huh?" The daughter nodded in agreement. "So weird. Hey, if my legs are still sore in the morning, can I skip school?"
Back to reality. We're parents, not kids. Dangit. Life was much simpler in the roller skating days. Maybe I should throw myself a skating party for my next birthday. Pretty sure I can't limbo, but I bet I can still skate backward.