Why I'm Sad
Inline skate shops used to come and go. Now they seem to just go. When my local specialty store quit selling skates, I knew it was a bad sign. Already, the nearest rentals for my students were a horrendously bad 50 minutes' drive away. The best place to buy new skates is now the nearest big box outlet. I am sad the fad has passed because:
- We have fewer skate specialty shops and informed personnel to help skaters make the right purchases.
- There are less options to try skating with rental gear before investing in the sport.
- Videos and books that teach skating have become harder to find because the publishers have let them go out of print and booksellers don't stock them. (Get Rolling will never go out of print as long as I am around to publish it.)
- In some areas, lessons are harder to find. As close as I am to San Francisco, it is no longer feasible for me to offer group lessons.
Why I'm Glad
While the rush of Americans buying their first pair of inline skates may be long gone, I believe we have graduated to a mature sport with dedicated participants. Take for example, the inline marathon boom that started in 2003. So I am glad the fad has passed because:
- The fad manufacturers are gone, meaning there are less trashy skates to give beginners a terrible first experience.
- It's easy to find new skates at 40% off list price. High-end skates by K2, Salomon, Roces and Rollerblade are a great value for new skaters looking for quality.
- There is almost always somebody to skate with because so many kids and their parents now consider it just another activity in their lifestyle.
- Middle-aged lifelong runners are finally recognizing the joint-friendly fitness benefits of skating distances.
- Inline skating is still growing fast in Europe and all over the world. Get Rolling has been sold to skaters in Scotland, Sweden, Canada, the UK, Austia, Australia, France, Greece and Iceland.
Fad or not, those of us who love to skate will continue to do so for years because it feels so good! Here's aHaiku that expresses the feeling for me:
Limbs pump the rhythm.
Skates sweep across smooth concrete.
O, kinetic joy!