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My Perspective: Roller skating still as fun as it ever was

Sometimes, when my three boys and I get a weekend day off together, we have a “Palmer Adventure Day.” The title is a little grandiose, but the day isn’t too fancy. I try to bring them somewhere they haven’t been before so they can experience something new and different. I don’t tell them where I’m going so they really need to be up for anything. And they are. They seem to enjoy the mystery of it more and more.

Last month, I brought the boys to a roller skating rink in St. Cloud.

While they had all ice skated before, none of the boys had ever roller skated before, and I haven’t done so in more than 25 years. It was an adventure for all of us.

After a few minutes, we all ended up on the ground. Zach (age 7) started getting a little frustrated and wasn’t sure if he wanted to keep trying. Then a good song came on. He was back out there trying. Noah (age 9) switched out his roller skates for roller blades, and he was happy. And I rented a little wheeled cart to help out Easton (age 4) so he could go without falling down every two or three seconds. He was off to the races.

Once we got up and rolling, the boys were loving it. After about two hours, we stopped to have a break. Their faces were red, and I could tell they were wearing down. After some drinks and snacks, we all agreed that we would keep going for three more songs and then call it a day. After three songs, they wanted to keep going. We ended up staying another hour.

Roller rinks are one of those places from days gone by. Sort of in the same category as the drive-in theater, dance halls and pool halls. But they have so much going for them.

When you are at a roller rink, you have a nostalgic feeling. I thought about the times I used to race my friends around a roller rink, how much I looked forward to the games they played, like limbo, and how fast I used to be able to take the corners. And, of course, the occasional wipeouts.

Speaking of wipe outs, I didn’t have many, but I finished with a good one. On one of the last times around, I was trying to get fancy around the corner, putting my skates right in front of each other instead of just coasting around. One of the skates caught the other, and I shot up in the air and came down hard on my left hip. There was a bruise on my hip for two weeks. My boys said they had never seen me fall down so hard.

During our time at the rink, there were probably 200 skaters that came and went. And the part that stood out for me is there were people of all ages enjoying themselves. I saw 2 year olds and 70 year olds, all having fun together. There were multiple generations of skaters out there at all times. There were at least two sets of grandparents skating with their grandchildren. How many physical activities can be enjoyed by just about all ages?

And what great exercise. All my boys slept good that night. Our youngest even fell asleep on the car ride home.

Between the four of us, I bet there were close to 300 wipeouts. And still, everyone was smiling all the way through. When I asked how they liked adventure day, they all gave me two thumbs up. I hope places like these never go away.

Memorial Day Special Section Coming I will talk about this more in the next edition, but wanted to give a quick heads up on our “Heroes Remembered” special section coming up with the May edition. We received some great stories about fallen soldiers as part of this special section. Our deadline is still a couple months away, but if you are planning on doing something like this to honor a family or friend who served and died either in service or since, this is heads up that it is coming.

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