Whipping around turns, wind blowing through your hair, wheels on your feet. Nothing compares to the feeling of strapping on your skates, stepping out, and gliding off onto the wooden floor in front of you.
For the past few years SCA has put on Rollback, a two-hour period of time where you can roll back to the ‘80s with 520 of your closest friends. This event is different than any other events SCA puts on, like Movie Night, Oddball, and Homecoming. Sonja Kapadia (‘17) says “I like it best because it is something new that we can do because it’s not just a dance, you actually get to rollerblade, and you don’t really do that around Richmond at all, this is the one place.”
Rollback is held at Skate-A-Way, in Midlothian. With both blade and skate rentals, a snack bar, lockers for belongings, a game room, the beginners rink, and the main rink, a roller skater has everything they could need or want at their fingertips. Roller skating is not the most popular weekend activity, since Skate-A-Way is one of the few skating rinks in Richmond, especially compared to how popular it used to be. Rollback usually has a great student turnout. With a healthy mix of all the grades, Rollback feels like a community event.
During the event, Skate-A-Way works to make the two hours as interesting as possible. Playing music that everyone knows, the music brings skaters together. Avery Freeman (‘18) says “between the music and the people at Skate-A-Way, the atmosphere harbors comradery.” Additionally, mixed with plenty of regular skate time, there are periods when skating goes in the opposite direction, there are speed skating competitions, and on regular nights at the rink, there are even periods of backwards skating and glow skating. During glow skating, the lights go down, and only skaters with a glow stick can skate. Mia Jackson (‘17) says “my favorite part is racing people, and I like going fast.”
Roller skating is active like dancing, and both are more active than watching a movie at movie night. While all forms of entertainment and physical activity are fun, the fact that roller skating is exercise makes it more enjoyable. At the end of the night, your legs might feel a little shaky as you walk to the skate rental counter on two feet for the first time in two hours, but it is a reminder of the fun times that just happened.
Rollback is 80’s themed, so it is expected that you will wear your funkiest attire. Some people even plan their outfits far in advance. Ellie Fleming (‘16) said “I’m going to wear a white t-shirt with cats on it, and each of the cats is a different color. And then I’m going to wear a skirt; it is red and has triangles on it. It’s kind of fun. It’s not very 80s, but it’s fun, that’s what matters. And I’m going to wear my jammy pack.”
Of course, being that this is roller skating, and many people are beginners but still want to keep up with their more advanced friends, many collisions do occur. Most of the time, people laugh it off. In fact, it can even be the beginning of a new friendship or romance when you collide with someone from another grade. Additionally, being that it is during the middle of the spring sports season, some coaches ask their players not to go, in fear of an injured player. But except for a few collisions, in general, people return unscathed.
Every skill level is welcome. The beginners rink is great until you get comfortable on the skates. Once you venture onto the main rink, people are going at their own speeds, so there is no pressure to go faster than you are comfortable. Freeman says, “If your friends aren’t experienced, then you have to let them lean on you and help each other out.” And, even if it is hard at first to get the hang of it, it tends to grow on you as the night goes on. Elizabeth Murphy (‘17) says “I wasn’t a fan, but it rolled its way into my heart.”
Everyone should head out to Skate Night on Saturday, April 2. Murphy says “I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s outfits and rollerblading to some awesome music.” If this sounds appealing, come out on Saturday.
Here is a video of what it feels like to go skating at Skate-A-Way.
All pictures and video by Morgan Baxter.