Echoes From the Skating Rink


The skating rink was most definitely the place to be on Friday and Saturday nights beginning at age twelve, because that’s when they would let you stay without a parent present, and no younger kids were allowed in.  It was sort of like a PG version of a disco or nightclub, but on skates, of course.  The skating rink phase ended at about sixteen, when we got our driver’s licenses.  After we started driving, the rink was replaced with endless cruising, but you already know about that.  Thinking back on it, the skating rink was really more fun than cruising.  You’d get your parents to drop you off around six, you’d trade your sequin-encrusted platforms for a pair of beat-up skates, and you’d stay until they closed at midnight, eating bad frozen pizza and red hot dogs from one of those carousel things.

hot dogs

There were boys at our skating rink that could really, really skate – I mean they looked like they could have won some kind of Olympic roller skating competition or something.  They’d shoot by like bullets – doing all these spins and skating almost sitting down and going backwards and whatnot.  I wish I could tell you that I was one of the few girls that could join in these amazing feats of athleticism, but unfortunately, I couldn’t really skate.  I could slowly, precariously totter around the edge of the rink, but that’s not really skating. Mostly, I would just stand in a cluster of other badly-skating girls at the edge of the rink, admiring the boys, nervously applying lip gloss, and waiting for a slow song to come on.  Because when they played a slow song, these amazing boys would skate over to the gaggle of lip glossers, and if we were lucky, one would pull us out into the rink and guide us slowly, carefully around, knowing that we could fall at any minute, and maybe bring him down with us, but sweetly being willing to take that chance.


Of course, mother nature being decidedly unfair as she is, the boys that were the best skaters were the biggest prizes among the lip gloss set, and they could approach the gaggle without fear of rejection.  Boys that were slightly shakey on their skates may find that the apple of their eye simply had to make a trip to the powder room immediately and was so sorry that she couldn’t skate right now.  Not me, though.  I just wanted to get out there under that disco ball and go round and round on a boy’s arm and I would roll right off with the first boy that asked me, as long as he could skate better than me, which wasn’t very hard to do.

A few slow songs that I remember skating to are “My Eyes Adored You” by Frankie Valli, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” by Elton John, and “The Air That I Breathe” by the Hollies, among others.  But I think what really stands out in my mind after all these years are the songs that accompanied the incredible skating maneuvers of the boys.   A lot of these songs are now on what I call “my workout playlist”, which means that I listen to them on a regular basis as I mom-dance around the living room for exercise.  We’ll talk more about my silly exercise program later and you’ll get to hear some more from this list, but for now, here’s what I consider to be the top three songs from the rink…

In third place, we have “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry.  They would play this song sort of early in the evening…this is when things really started heating up…Lay down the boogie and play that funky music till you die…

As a close runner-up to our number one song, we have “Love Rollercoaster” by The Ohio Players.  This song has an almost hypnotic effect for some reason, so you could kind of get lost in it while watching the skating wizards going round and round, faster and faster.  Plus it’s just cool as heck.  Also, it really was kind of a love rollercoaster in there, what with the boys displaying their skating prowess to a bunch of adoring lip glossing girls, like male peacocks showing off their colorful plumes to a flock of timid hens.

Without question, the number one song at the mid-seventies roller skating rink of my youth was “The Ballroom Blitz” by the Sweet.  You’d better not even think about going out on that rink when this song was playing unless you were one of the top skaters in the place – you’d get mowed down before you knew what hit you.  Those skaters went so fast to this song, it was unbelievable.  This song was for the top drawer, upper echelon, crème de la crème skater only.  By the way…gosh, I miss the Sweet, don’t you?  Oh yeah, it was electric…

Questions?  Comments?  Please Share!



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7 responses to “Echoes From the Skating Rink

  1. What a great read! Brings back many memories, although in my hometown it was the ice rink and ice skating vice the wheeled variety. I was an alternate variety of your cites male groupings: I was the doofus hockey player who could skate pretty well, although with no flourishes, who never dared approach the girls, but still somehow wondered why he never scored…

    • We didn’t have ice skating here in Lynyrdskynyrdsville, but I’m sure I would have failed even more miserably at that. We didn’t have hockey either, so I guess the boys focused their skating technique on speed and tricks. I can’t imagine why you didn’t dare approach the girls – I’ve seen your prom picture, remember, and on behalf of the seventies girls of your youth, I feel confident in saying many would have skated with you, what with your feathered David Cassidy hair and all. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Here’s Your Proof | My Wild Surmise

  3. My skating memories are limited to an ice skating rink in upstate NY where we went with my grandparents every year. Think I did sport an Olivia Newton John headband to that one. I also had these awesome American flag roller skates in the early 80s. My sister and I would ‘skate’ on those on our block in Brooklyn which consisted more of gossiping away while we had our roller skates on (much like your memories).

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