Still Skating After All These Years

still skatingStill skating on my rollerblades makes me a very happy man. Growing up in Brooklyn, I always wanted to be an athlete but no one ever taught me how to do anything so I was very mediocre at the sports I tried. My daughter doesn’t always do so well in karate so I share with her my experience of five years of Little League baseball with a grand total of one hit.

In my late twenties I gave running a shot which lead to both knee problems (a precursor of things to come), and the purchase of my first rollerblades. I had early childhood fantasies of playing hockey—my sweet father took me to prospect park in the dead of night and winter for lessons at 5:30 in the morning—but my collapsing ankles put the kibosh on that

So the rollerblades as an adult made physical and emotional sense. They put less of a pounding on my knees and flooded me with sense memories of childhood. To say that I don’t look forward to exercise doesn’t do justice to my sloth but as transportation to and from work my blades became glued to my feet—even when I was living down on the end of Court Street and working at Lincoln Center as a cater waiter with my polyester tuxedo folded into my backpack.

Man did I love to skate. For whatever reason my favorite spot of all might have been the stretch of Sixth Avenue in Tribecca that feeds into Church Street before a left onto Chambers Street and the Brooklyn Bridge (while the bridge is glorious to skate over, the wooden slats don’t make for the most pleasant ride). Skating home after a catering gig late at night, flying through Tribecca towards Brooklyn was an amazing feeling.

That was some twenty years ago and I am still out there rolling around. Years later I realize how hard it is to actually skate well. It takes a great deal of inner thigh strength to truly access the core, and I don’t think I was doing much of that twenty years ago. These days I skate while my kids bike. My son is getting faster and faster on the bike and soon I won’t be able to keep up with him on my blades but for now he is working me out but good.

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