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A Night at the Rink

by Ronald A. Rowe | February 18th, 2011 | Elementary

As I type these words, I am enjoying my first trip as an adult to a roller rink. Actually, “enjoying” probably isn’t the right word to use here. “Suffering through” would be more apt, but still not quite it. Is there a word in the English language for “barely tolerating the unpleasant odors of a thousand rented shoes while desperately clutching my laptop for fear that an out of control 4th grader will smash into me and destroy my computer”? There should be.

Roller rinks haven’t changed much in the last 25 years. In fact, I don’t think this particular rink has been cleaned or disinfected in roughly that amount of time. The food is just as overpriced as it ever was. If possible, the quality has gotten worse than it was when I was a kid (although that may be glamorizing the ‘good old days’. It surely hasn’t gotten any better.

I don’t remember learning to skate. I thought all kids just put on a pair of skates and took off. Watching my son and his pals stomp around the rink, I now know that is not the case. I can skate, or at least I used to be able to skate, but I’m not going to now. I exhausted my fatherly lessons on how to skate in the first few minutes (there are only so many ways to say “glide” and “watch how that boy is doing it”.)

The entertainment value for your dollar is intermediate. The kids are definitely enjoying themselves for their six bucks a pop. Better and cheaper than sitting in a theater staring at a glorified giant TV for two hours. The three bucks it cost me for the right to sit here wouldn’t be so bad if there were an available table or at least a chair a safe distance from the chaos on the skating floor. Instead I’m working an insanely dangerous eight inches away from a hundred pre-teens that can barely walk without causing massive calamity, much less skate with any degree of control.

The bottom line: a night at the skating rink should be reserved only for occasional – very occasional – special events or those times when it is Mom’s turn to take the kids out for the evening.

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