I re-posted the article myself…
I was looking for places to buy skates when I saw the article and clicked and read and then reposted the article on several other blogs. I also sought out a number of rollerblade images to give the story visual interest.
I am currently on a pair of beat up oversized rollerblades that were left behind when someone moved out. I only have two wheels on each foot. The wheels are very worn down and I will need to get new skates of some kind in a very short time. I can go a day or two without skating, but if I go longer I start to feel very out of sorts. I need to skate everyday, in the house on the hardwood floors, or outside on the sidewalk and on the street.
Skate Or Die
I watched an hour long program on Youtube that was about extending human life. Maybe a BBC show – there were three segments where whiz kid science spouters explained why their company was going to extend human life if they can just… There was no practical advice until the last five minutes of the show when an unhip looking older guy said that “the only thing we know now that extends human life is exercise.” Bingo.
So when I skate compulsively I am helping myself as well as entertaining myself in the moment. I read something about the joy some musicians or athletes experience called ‘flow’ where everything seems to be working in harmony during an experience or event. I feel that way very often when I am skating down an empty street at 5 am and I hardly have to move a muscle as I glide down the slopping hill. Or sliding down the wooden floors of the hallway in my place while I listen to a song.
What would any of my experiences skating on ‘quad’ classic skates, or on inline rollerblades have to do with “The Death of Rollerblading?”
From the article I posted:
In the go-go days of the dial-up era, in-line skaters pulled on their Spandex shorts, powered up their Discmans and plied parkways nationwide. Twenty-two million people strapped into the rigid skates with the single-file wheels at least once in the year 2000, five million more than played baseball. By 2010 the number of in-line skaters had plummeted by 64 percent, the second-biggest drop in a sports or fitness activity in that span. Only its cousin roller hockey fell further, 65 percent, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.
What happened? No scandal befell Rollerblading, the proprietary eponym by which the sport is known. No celebrity lost a limb in the line of in-line skating. Nudged by various forces, it simply slowly went downhill. “Just like quad outdoor skating, it rode a wave and the wave crested,” said Howard Weiner, owner of Northwest Portland’s iconic Cal Skate, which stopped selling in-line skates years ago. “And then the water retreated.
Fair enough. The number of people who used the skates they bought dropped. Humans are herd animals and sometimes the a part of the herd takes up some activity in great numbers. Years later, the rollerblades are in the front hall gathering dust. The young twenty-year-old is coming home from a full time job to a young baby in the house, et cetera. I was interested in the sociology of what happens in society as a whole. If the numbers of people who skate gets too small, the skates will become very expensive. Other than that, I don’t care.
One anthropologist speculated that primitive human hunter-gatherers walked about 11 miles every day. If the human body evolved and was adapted to a lifestyle over hundreds of thousands of years to move around a lot in a day and to use the legs doesn’t it make sense that a modern human should figure out a way to use the body in a similar way to keep the organism healthy? Everyone needs some kind of daily routine that includes exercise of the legs and rest of the body. Skating could be such an activity for some people.
I do raise an eyebrow on the closing dismissal of inline skating:
Among the masses, however, in-line skating seems as irrevocably dated as beepers and fax machines. “It’s just not cool,” said Jim Dow, Lilly’s dad. “You go on websites and people make fun of in-line skaters.” Said Benjamin Doyle, a 29-year-old quad-skate devotee who recalled cruising city streets in in-lines with his mom: “Everybody did stuff in the ’90s we regret.”
Just picture a 29yo who is worried about what is ‘cool’ in online forums. Why would anyone ‘regret’ using inline skates in the 1990’s? A puzzling herd mentality where – I don’t see the herd. I love quads, and I love inline skates. Why would one care what another person wants to use for recreational exercise?
(I’ve been looking at skates on this site – Roller Skate Nation – https://www.rollerskatenation.com/ )
The article writer had to come up with a narrative to give the story a theme. So the report from 2011 should not be a cause of outrage. But….still