First-Time Roller Skating

I grew up on edges. From figure skating to rollerblading and Heely-ing, I’ve glided on ice, wooden floors, and concrete. I was, therefore, surprised when my friends Annabel Driussi ’20 and Jerrell Cockerham ’21 mentioned they had never set foot in a roller rink before. (Correction: Driussi has stepped foot in a roller rink, but then she quickly decided to take a hike, literally and figuratively; Cockerham is sure he has gone roller skating before — he just can’t remember the last time he put on a pair of skates). 

Illustration by Lee O’Dowd

So, accompanied by our friend’s Bryson Camp ’19 and Lee O’Dowd ’20, we piled into my car. O’Dowd held their new roller skates — a pair of leopard-print Impalas with flaming red accents and wheels. O’Dowd was ecstatic about their new skates, a personal birthday present to themselves; they had been skating around all day, and were excited to find their stride on the rink. 

As we approached the ticketing counter, Driussi remembered the last time she approached that same desk (when she quickly turned away for a day hike). That day, there was no turning away. O’Dowd was giddy with anticipation, Cockerham was ready to go, and it was discount night at the rink.  

We all put on our skates and approached the rink, hand-in-hand-in-hand-in-hand. There were no tumbles at first, and we skated among rebellious elementary schoolers out past their bedtime and couples gliding to their own rhythm. 

Camp attempted to skate backward, saying that he wanted to become like one of the skating couples. I taught O’Dowd to spin and we twirled around the rink; only one nine-year-old crashed into us, an unfortunate casualty. Within the hour, our group was hot, sweaty, and ready to leave. Driussi had an organic chemistry review session, and Cockerham wanted to stop by BJ’s Velvet Freez. 

On our way back to campus, my car interior dripped with sleet that slid through the window in the BJ’s drive-thru, and the scent of soft serve and onion rings wafted through the circulated air vents. Driussi said she had a good time, and Cockerham agreed. For Driussi, this year has been filled with trying new things, including rock climbing and guitar, but she is pushing herself to try more things like roller skating. She laughed and told to us her new motto: “I’m not good at it … yet.” If you’re looking to try something new, consider roller skating!  

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