Spring 2020 rapidly blurred into the summer, marked with the looming fears of finishing the semester amidst the coronavirus pandemic, leading into the surge of civil unrest and angst due to police brutality.
Many people entered into what has been coined as the “new normal”, seeking something to breathe life back into them— and rollerskating seemed to be the right thing at the right time for many Americans, and people around the world.
Roller skating’s rise back into the mainstream unfortunately became yet another trend that was assumed to be embodied by the slim-figured white girls on TikTok, and overshadowed the historically racial tensions that the pastime so dearly meant to the Black community. The atmosphere that embodied rollerskating emerged largely from the swagger and suaveness of Black rink skaters from coast to coast.
The music, the style, the fashion and everything that drove the mass appeal of skating back into the mainstream, emerged from Black culture. For so many Black folks, roller skating is not a hobby, but a lifestyle that many have abided by their whole lives.
My desire to pick up roller skating again was reignited the past summer after realizing how much of my life was being absorbed as a full-time college student and working part-time. I felt like I wasn’t taking time to do the things that really made me feel liberated and happy.
Roller skating has been a great way for me to get out of the house when the quarantine seemed to be driving me insane, and it grounded me when I needed stability. This past summer, I was also able to amass a following of over 63 thousand skaters and non-skaters alike on Instagram, to follow along on my personal journey with progressing on rollerskates. The rollerskating community has helped me to feel significantly less isolated than I was.
Even though face-to-face interactions were very slim, the comment sections of fellow skaters were filled with supportive messages and words of encouragement through these difficult times. In my 21 years of life thus far, I had never felt more a part of a community than I have for the past two years with the roller skating community.
I am in no way surprised about the new appeal surrounding roller skating once again, but I just hope that those who are entering into the community are kind to the existing members within it.
To follow my personal rollerskating journey, follow my instagram @justseconds.