Roller skating is, as you probably know, traveling over surfaces with small wheels that are attached to your flippers, or foot as the case might be. And while it is considered a recreational activity, it can be used as a means of transportation. In the United States, and many other countries as well, traditional roller skating was popular between the years of 1935 and the early 1960’s. Then, in the 1970’s, when polyurethane wheels were invented and combined with the popular disco music of the day, a new craze was born. Indoor roller rinks became the popular hangout for kids and teens. This was the new rage until the 1990’s when in-line roller skating moved back outside.
But 1935 wasn’t the beginning of roller skates. In fact, the first recorded use was much earlier…1743 when a pair of roller skates was used on stage in a London play. The investor of those early skates is unknown. The first recorded invention of a roller skate was in 1760. They were designed by John Joseph Merlin. These primitive skates were the inline variety and had two small metal wheels. In 1818, roller skates were seen on the ballet stage in Berlin, Germany. In 1823, Robert John Tyres patented the first pair of roller skates. They were called the Rolito. These skates each had five wheels in a row that were attached to a shoe or boot. By 1857, roller skating had become so popular that two roller rinks were opened in London; The Strand and Floral Hall. From the mid-1800’s through the mid-1900’s many improvements were made and skates kept improving. “During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Rollerblade-branded skates became so successful that they inspired many other companies to create similar inline skates, and the inline design became more popular than the traditional quads (two set of two wheels side-by-side in the front and two side-by-side sets in the rear). The Rollerblade skates became synonymous in the minds of many with "inline skates" and skating, so much so that many people came to call any form of skating "Rollerblading," thus making it a generic term for roller skating“
There are different types of roller skating, many of which are just like ice skating; figures, dance, and freestyle. Competitive roller skating can be done as singles, pairs, or groups. And let’s not forget speed skating, roller hockey, and roller derby. Who knew there was so much to learn about this seemingly simple activity?
Quigley, his friends, and I will go to the “Swamp Thing” roller rink on Saturday as the DJ spins some of the latest tunes. Afterwards, we’ll go out for ice cream and a little bro-bonding time. These weekend activities with family are what make life really special. I hope that whatever your plans include this weekend, you’ll have the opportunity to spend some quality time just hangin’ out with your family. I invite you join me back here on Monday…provided I don’t wind up with any broken bones!
Until then, I wish you a safe and peaceful weekend.