This Is A Post About Roller Skating

I might have lied a little bit. This post isn’t as much about roller skating as it is about the lack thereof.

At the beginning of the summer, I decided I needed a new hobby. One that involved physical activity and outdoor time. Because I don’t get enough of either of those things. Roller skating seemed like the perfect fit for something that was balanced between exercise and fun, and could be done anywhere at roughly any time.

So, I decided to buy a pair of roller skates. It was hard to decide between getting inline skates or the side-by-side ones. I didn’t know the differences or pros and cons, so I watched a few Tik Toks about each. Ultimately, the inline ones seemed like the better choice, and I bought a pair. After getting the skates, knee pads, elbow pads, a helmet, all the necessary equipment, it was a couple hundred dollars. But it was okay, because this was going to become my new thing.

Except, it didn’t.

The day my skates arrived in the mail was the same day the outside world became hazy, smoky, and an air quality warning was issued. It was advised by officials and experts not to go outside. So I didn’t. But then the Canadian wildfires just kept going, and going, and we kept being urged to stay inside. So inside I stayed.

After a while, the air became mostly breathable again, but then I was due to leave home and go to LA for three weeks. Obviously I couldn’t pack my skates, they were huge. Not to mention how much room a helmet would take up.

Weeks later when I returned home, I got a promotion at work, and became a little more busy throughout the week than I previously was.

And then there was never a “good time”. I always had something to do, somewhere to be, somebody to see. So many reasons as to why my skates were still in the box. I made a lot of excuses as to why learning to skate just didn’t fit into my daily life.

But, I’ve realized why I’m so quick to make excuses when it comes to the skates. I’m afraid to fall. I’m afraid to break my fucking ankle, or twist something, or hurt myself at all. Though I’m twenty-four, I’m not in the best shape, and I’ve found recently that if I hurt myself, it takes a lot longer to heal than it used to. Things don’t feel the same afterwards. It’s like I’m permanently damaged from minor incidents.

While I was in LA, I hurt my ankle dancing one night. It hurt for days, and didn’t feel fully right for weeks, if not months. I’m afraid that if I get hurt, whatever I damage will never be the same again.

My father has a finger he can’t really bend all the way. It’s from a high school volleyball incident. He’s in his fifties, and it’s still not right. Sometimes things just don’t heal well, and if I can avoid giving myself an injury to have to heal from, I will.

Anyways, the summer is over and I never once adorned the skates that were supposed to be my new, fun hobby that would get me out there, get me active. It never happened, and I’m sad for it.

I know I could start now, but am I going to? It seems unlikely. Between my fear of hurting myself, work, my hatred of sweating, my lack of patience to learn new things, and any other excuse I can think of in the moment, I’m probably just going to avoid having wheels strapped to my feet all together.


43 Comments on “This Is A Post About Roller Skating”

  1. I doubt you have anywhere near the neuro issues I do, but I grew up in an era when quad skates were the norm, inline skates didn’t come around until I was probably in my 20s (your Dad is only a couple of years older than I am). With my balance issues, I had a hard enough time learning how to skate on quads, I never got the hang of inlines. Same reason I never got the hang of ice skating–the blade’s too thin for me to successfully keep my balance.

    So if you’re genuinely afraid of falling, I’d strongly urge you to maybe (for now, anyway) exchange the inlines for the quads. Once you get comfortable skating on quads, then you can try the inlines. Good luck!

  2. It’s taken me decades to find an exercise I’ll stick with. I just don’t like exercising. There is no “thing” I enjoy. (Technically, I do enjoy swimming, but without a pool of my own, it’s not going to happen.)

    Don’t give up, but don’t beat yourself up either!

    That said– I took Wheezy Waiters advice and signed up for Co-Pilot which is an online personal trainer (after my husband had been using it for a year). It got me past the part of exercise where I always get injured because there was someone to adjust what I was doing so I could heal up while still getting exercise. If you have actual personal trainers in town and would actually go an see them, John Green’s route is to have an in-person trainer which seems to still be working for him after years of not exercising.

    I’ve been doing it a full year and my husband over 2 years. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to commit to anything regularly, but this seems to be working for me and I really am a lot healthier and stronger.

  3. Ankles take FOREVER to heal. When I sprained my ankle (when I was in my 20s), and asked my doctor weeks and weeks later why it still felt so unstable, he said the general lack of blood flow and muscles to the feet slows the healing process. I have no idea if he was right or just trying to make up something that sounded plausible.

    Does skating still sound fun, or is it kind of overshadowed now by fear of falling and/or the feeling that you need to use the skates to justify the expense? Because here’s the thing about getting old and falling apart (speaking from the ripe old age of 41): all that aggravating painful shit is going to happen anyway. So you might as well have fun while you can. You mentioned your dad has a finger that doesn’t bend right; would he trade in a functioning finger for having played that volleyball game? (This is, of course, not always an equation that works. Somebody who dove headfirst into what ended up being a shallow pool is probably never going to say that the experience of swimming was worth the injury they suffered later. But for a lot of stuff, even years later, there’s fewer experiences that I would trade in than you would think.)

    What if you don’t think of it as starting to skate? That makes it sound like a regular activity. I hate regular activities and can’t maintain them. The idea of starting a regular activity that is going to be shortly derailed by cold weather is not something I’d be super excited about either. But if skating still sounds fun and you kinda wish you could do it….don’t start skating. Just go skating once. Maybe down your driveway and back. If you get going too fast, you can ditch into the grass. Just because you aren’t sure if you’ll be able to skate next week doesn’t mean you can’t skate now. (Again, if you want to. Not skating is just as valid a choice as skating.)

  4. So, I’m in my 60’s and I ice skate. I’m the crazy old fat lady skidding around on the ice with ear buds in my ears, waving my arms around in an emo fashion as I skate to music. And I love it!
    Yeah, you could get hurt roller skating, or you could get hurt falling off the couch. Life is short, and even shorter and less fun if you don’t exercise.
    My advice is to invest in padding. Protect your elbows, wrists, knees, and especially your head full of precious grey matter. Lace your roller-skates up snugly around your ankles, and go out there and have fun!
    Also, if there’s anywhere near you that gives classes, take a class to improve your skills.

    Or take up swimming. That works too!

  5. Try doing a few “test” falls. Put on all the pads, and gently drop on some carpet. Then, work up to bigger falls or grass or dirt or whatever and eventually concrete. You’ll find that the pads are really effective. It doesn’t hurt like a normal fall. You’re not putting your life on the line with any little slip or stumble. Sure, you still can get injured, but that’s true just going down a set of stairs. (Especially with cats running about.) But, if it takes a little fear out of the process, that’s one less hurdle to overcome.

    Good luck!

  6. Honestly, you are still young and shouldn’t be worrying too much about injury. Put on all the gear and go out to the driveway for 10 minutes. Have someone hold your hand. Just try it. If it’s completely hopeless and you can’t even take 2 steps then you can give up on it.

  7. I started skating 5 years ago or so, when I was 38? I took lessons at a roller rink, and it was great! After a while, I felt like I could fly! My only tip is to learn to fall forwards, cause falling backwards, wellllll… I suggest a pillow on your bum/lower back for the next lesson and soft pillows everywhere else. Ask me how I know 😉 but it was worth it to feel like I could fly and to have speed races against my son (the only ones I can win these days!).

  8. I’ve used skates on a very irregular (once every couple years?) basis. I started with quads, and have used both inline and ice skates. So, some thoughts from someone much closer to the falling stages than the mastery ones:

    I find quads much easier to feel stable on. Heck, I can balance on one foot with quads standing still. Not so with the others.

    I almost exclusively skate in skate rinks (roller or ice). Those have reliably smooth and horizontal surfaces that make a bump/stumble/fall much less likely. Also no scraping if one does fall!

    If you have a friend who can skate backwards, having them with you and holding your hands (skating backward in front of you) can be a great set of training wheels.

    Knee pads, Elbow pads, wrist protectors, helmet, tightly-laced skates. These are all good ideas for joints young and old, currently-resilient and not-so-resilient.

    My only other bit of noob-skating wisdom is that if you make opposing s-curves with your feet, you can get going without taking either foot off the ground. Physics! It’s cool like that.

  9. Huh, Kurt’s advice about practicing falling is excellent. We all should practice that.

    I found ice skating much easier than roller skating, mostly because if you fell ice skating, and I did, at least you slid across smooth ice instead of trashing your skin on pavement. But then I never wore the proper pads either. A friend of mine was a really good roller blader, and she swore by wrist, ankle, and knee pads. She said it’s pretty tough to hurt yourself if you’ve got the right equipment.

    On the other hand, this is why I really like swimming. It’s not sweaty, and it’s hard to hurt yourself. Also, you feel weightless. But I know a lot of people find it chilly and boring. I am lucky in that my community finally built a nice indoor pool a few years ago, and now I swim 3 days a week.

  10. Skating doesn’t have to be your thing if you don’t want it to be. You mentioned that you went dancing recently. Dancing may not necessarily be an outdoor physical activity (I suppose that depends on the environment and situation) but if that’s something you enjoy doing then you could try doing more of that.

  11. It there an indoor pool near you? Water aerobics or water walking are both good exercise. Pilates or Yoga are both good. To be outdoors walking with Pokemon Go is fun too.

  12. I gave up outdoor skating on quad skates two years ago, partly due to fear of falling, so you emphaticallyn aren’t alone. I do intend to try it again next year, because A) it was good exercise, and B) it was exhilarating, possibly BECAUSE it was kind of scary. Two possible tips (since you seem to have the safety equipment covered): Make sure you have skates with decent ankle and arch support (tight lacing, as someone mentioned above), and Maybe look into an indoor skating rink? Skating on wood–even if you have to rent the skates–in a big circle with a railing to grab can be a reassuring way to get into skating.

    Finally, if skating of any sort isn’t for you–forget it! Lots of other activities out there. Bet there are some decent cycling routes around where you live, just for one example . . .

  13. You mentioned getting injured dancing. Getting injured is, of course, a possibility with any form of exercise. But I think it’s less likely with some forms of dance.

    I’d recommend giving Contra Dancing a go, if you haven’t done it before. Just make sure to wear your most comfortable flat shoes – high heels very much discouraged.

    I see there’s a monthly dance near-ish to you.

    I first went Contra Dancing in Denver (hmm.. in 2000 or so), and there was a half hour tuition/intro at those dances too, which I found very helpful.

    I hope you find a form of exercise you enjoy.

  14. I never liked to exercise, or sweat. Reading! Reading is fun. But not fitness-producing. Also pain/injury is contraindicated in my life as well. So finally I realized that there are a few activities that work within those constraints. You can ride an exercise bike while reading. That’s a win! Very few injuries, if you’re careful getting off and on. You can even, if you’re an intense reader like I am, lose yourself so thoroughly in the book you forget you’re pedaling.

    And then there’s swimming. You don’t have to thrash through the water like an Olympian. Slow and steady, breaststroke or side stroke, until you breathe deeply and sustain it. You WILL sweat, but the lovely cool water takes it away. I used to be able to swim for a solid hour without a pause, changing strokes when I got bored or tired of doing one. Gentle swimming will encourage your cardio and muscular fitness while not causing damage to your skeletal system or joints. Also, it’s really easy to start small (just one or two lengths of the pool) and ramp up to fitness-sustaining levels.

    Choosing an activity that will do what you want, promote fitness, but not promote injury is something to consider. Only you know what has been fun in the past, that might work for you. Are you an exerciser in isolation? Some people don’t like others to see them exert themselves. Or are you an exerciser in company? Others like to be in a group with others participating in the same activity. Competition can drive them, or community feeling. Which are you? Or is there a third option? Tai chi in the park, near others but not really interacting? There are soooo many options.

    But the first issue is motivation. It’s not lack of will power that prevents us from exercising. It’s that many forms of exercise are NOT fun. You chose the roller-blading because on paper it seemed like it should be fun. What seems like fun to you? Notice that above, I managed to incorporate my own preferred activity, reading, into an activity that helped fitness. If you like listening to music, there are ways to do that while you move your body, even in a pool. Every element you enjoy that you can combine with something that is, yes, physical effort, will help you gain the persistence to do Activity X on a regular basis.

    I hope you succeed in finding something that makes you feel good to do, and feel good about the results. That makes for a sustainable exercise routine in your life.

  15. One of my co-workers in a past job took a good fall in-line skating, broke her collarbone and shoulder, and had to undergo surgery. When she finally was able to come back to work she told us her orthopedic surgeon said that the two worst causes of injuries he saw were from riding morotcycles and in-line skating. In each case you can be moving at a good rate of spped when you depart from control and encounter hard pavement.

    Nonetheless, if you were in Santa Monica again you should have packed an extra suitcase with your in-line kating gear. Between Palasades Park and the Strand running from Venice Beach south for miles that part of LA has one of the best venues for skating/boarding.

  16. I broke by collarbone rollerblading when I was your age. As soon as the doctor said I could get back on the skates… I was back on the skates. You just gotta do it. I was not wearing any safety gear. I felt myself go down, so I tucked and rolled…

  17. More fun than rollerblading: ICE skating! It’s even (slightly) less dangerous, because you can slide on ice without getting road rash.

    I started figure skating in 2019 … when I was 45. After years of attending public skates in the Blue Jackets’ practice rink, I got embarrassed that I knew nothing about hockey. Which is how I came to join the (adult) women’s hockey league last year.

    Both of them are a LOT of fun, and it was a sneaky way to convince myself to exercise, because I’m actually just going out and having fun, and it happens to involve exercise.

    Taking some Aikido in my 20s seems to have been a Really Good Idea, because it taught me the basics of How To Fall Safely (i.e., don’t let the pointy bits drive into the ground, tuck the head away from the ground, roll or slide to disperse energy where possible).

  18. I’m in the roller derby circle and its imperative to practice falling so that when you do fall muscle memory kicks in. That said, in the past year, two teammates have broken ankles from the sport.

    There will always be risk of injury no matter what you do. Ive gotten involved focusing on mobility. Strengthening and increasing your range of joint mobility will decrease the chance of injury as your joints are more used to moving out of alignment because they’ve been trained and strengthened

    I do recommend giving quad skates a try — maybe find a rink thats worth the drive to give it a try. Most rinks should have training assists too (they look like walkers).

    Whatever you decide to do i hope you find something that works for you!

  19. Well, if you’re not that motivated for skating why not try walking? It’s great exercise, good for you to be in nature and you can always listen to music or podcasts. I walk 40 min/day and also walk my dog 2xday….it’s nice to hear the birds sing too.😊🐦

  20. Two possible thoughts:

    Thought 1: I get you on the sweating, but we’re just heading into autumn. Really, isn’t that a better time to pick up a new outdoor activity anyway? Maybe reframe it as a sensible time to try new things, now when it’s starting to be lovely and cool (and you’ll wear more clothes to protect against any falls anyway.)

    Thought 2: If you’re really not feeling it…maybe lean into that. The box of skates is making you feel bad, about a thing that is a sunk cost and now value neutral. You aren’t a bad person if you really just don’t want to do this any more. If the idea of trying this out the next beautiful weekend is just really unappealing – get rid of them. Sell them, give them away. Get them out of your house. There is no reason to have a guilt trap lying around ready to make you feel bad. Move them on and make someone else happy, and then feel happy about that. And then never think about it again. Be free!

  21. I hope you’re able to find a physical activity that’s fun for you! I agree with Paul above about contra dancing; it’s great fun and very social.

    Must also mention that I have sprained my ankles multiple times over decades, mostly walking down the street or stepping off curbs. Not fun, but…I recovered.

  22. if i (a fitness-averse person until my early twenties, then suddenly converted into a very-into-exercise person, with a little sister that is even more exercise-averse than i ever was) learned anything about exercise and activity, it’s that finding the right one makes all the difference. if it’s so engaging that you think about when you get to do that fun thing next, regular activity becomes much easier. trying all the things definitely is worth it!

    but i hear you loud and clear that starting is the biggest hurdle. i’m super into my current sport of choice, and when my bed is nice and warm and cozy, i’m not really feeling like getting up and packing my stuff. only once i’m out there, i realise that i’m enjoying myself.

    on inline skating specifically: ankles shouldn’t be a problem on inline skates because the boots ought to be very stabilising – not much movement left in that joint, let along enough movement to do damage. wrist pads are worth the investment, though! for one, wrists usually are the first in line to absorb a fall, and when they get banged up, they’re a real pain.

    anyways, tl;dr: try all the things, even if they seem very unlikely to be enjoyable. you never know what clicks. my sister got dragged by her coworkers into a team-building exercise at a climbing gym (for an entire week beforehand, she was grumbling), and ended up loving it to the degree of going at least once a week.

  23. 1 more vote for quad skates, because a) they are inherently cooler than inline skates, what you want to get are the beautiful ones in white leather with pink stoppers on the toe, and b) you can practice skating wherever you can find hard floors indoors, or outside if that’s where you want to go. Sell the inline skates, subjectively speaking they look dumb anyways, and enjoy yourself, sans broken ankles, because that’s the point.

  24. No indoor skating rink in town?

    When Rosie was taking ice skating classes I watched them and then pushed myself to take her to open skate times and practice what I’d seen. But I was similarly terrified of falling and hurting myself. So I swallowed my pride and wore massive knee pads and also medical wrist braces. Once I’d practiced a bit I had more confidence, but I continued to wear the safety gear. I got so I could even skate backwards a little, which I’d never learned to do as a youth.

  25. I vote for a good craigslist posting, and get them out of your sight.

    You’ve got a good long driveway, how about racewalking? It’s goofy, takes practice and a stopwatch (or your phone) is all you need.

    And congrats on the promotion!

  26. I don’t skate anymore. Bad knees, bad ankles and other old injuries complicated by 65 years on this planet.

    What I do is bike. Low impact on the legs and feet also less likely to end up falling. I’m not going to do a 100-mile day anytime soon, but I can keep my body relatively mobile. Where you live might be a good place to bike. Semi rural, and low traffic.
    Jeff S.

  27. Athena, I’m in my early 40s. I can tell you that when I’m exercising regularly, I bounce back A LOT faster from injuries than when I am not regularly exercising. (I hike and backpack, and the vast majority of impacts/trips I can shake off very quickly.)
    My mental health and immune system are also stronger with regular exercise. It doesn’t need to be anything crazy. Just 20 minutes 3x per week, like walking or pilates (fun exercises on YT). The fact is, injuries / illnesses happen whether or not you are exercising – you can prepare your body by finding something that works for you! :)

  28. First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on your promotion at work, Athena! I had not heard about that before – I am tickled by the news, and very happy for you!

    I’m sorry your plans for rollerskating as exercise didn’t pan out. It’s annoying and embarrassing to spend money on a planned exercise routine and then just never start actually doing it. I say that from personal experience, in case you wondered.

    I enjoyed rollerskating and ice-skating as a kid and into my teens, but orthopedic issues emerged in my 20s that put paid to anything that potentially damaging in a fall. For a number of decades, I got little to no exercise of any kind (and looked it, too), until a little over a year ago when a physical therapist referred me for warm-water pool therapy.

    I can honestly say it has been life-changing. The water is buoyant enough to support my creaky old limbs, and the warmth eases the constant aches, while the resistance from the water makes the muscles work just hard enough to start gradually building up strength and improving flexibility. I have become quite addicted to it, and go several times a week for 45-minute sessions, which is more than I have ever engaged in any sort of exercise in my entire life (nearly 7 decades at this point).

    If you don’t have a warm-water therapy pool nearby, I do recommend what several others have suggested, that you see if swimming is a little more to your liking. I completely get that you might have swimsuit anxiety – I sure do! – but in my experience, the other folks who are also at the pool are there to work on their own issues, not to look at and pass judgment on my fat and pasty body.

    Good luck, Athena, and congrats again on the promotion!

  29. As someone who HATES to sweat, I highly recommend Indoor skating, and (especially to begin) quad skates and, of course, ALL of the padding available (you won’t fall nearly as often as you might fear, but the extra confidence helps a lot). . Any chance that the Church of Scalzi has a large, relatively empty basement??? That might be a great place to skate with no adverse weather or potentially dangerous cracks in the pavement.
    Also, once you get even a little bit comfortable where you don’t have to use all of your attention on learning to skate, I highly recommend podcasts or audiobooks. I just finished a fantastic book that has some really smart cats in it, and is very entertaining.

  30. You’re 24 … that’s the age I was when I discovered that my knees were no longer up to kneeling on the hard tile floor of the library all day while I was prowling around looking at books.

    Like a couple of the people above, I wound up getting my exercise folk or contra dancing. That kept me happy for about three more decades.

  31. Just get out there and do it!

    I’ve been skating on the white ice for nearly 50 years, and the black ice for over 30, and at 62 I referee Flat-track Roller Derby in my in-lines.

    I’ve taught so many people to skate, on the ice, on in-lines, on quads, and, really there is no real difference between all three. (Yes, when you get to doing specific thing, like Ice/In-line/Rink/Roller Hockey or Speed-skating or Figure Skating or Roller Derby, that takes specialised training, but that’s true in many fields.)

    I taught my daughter to skate, first on in-lines, then quads, then the ice – only because a friends son gave us his old in-line skates first, it could have easily been some order – and she did Artistic Skating on quads for a few years.

    You’re young, the thought of broken bones may be scary, but if you have decent in-line boots they will protect your ankles – if you do them up correctly – so it’s really only the wrists that you have to worry about, as unless you get super-duper Demon Snow-boarding wrist guards (which I now use) they can break. I have broken both wrists, at different times, and have plates and screws in the left-one, and have been able to keep working – I am a BOFH – while recovering from both.

    Look around for a rink, or a local Roller Derby League, and look into adult classes. If the RD mob say anything derogatory about the in-lines, call them wheelist scum and walk away. :)

    And, to repeat, just get out there and do it!

  32. Actually I have my ankle on ice just now because I got up from the couch and twisted it a month ago! So even the couch isn’t safe. But I think fear of falling can be a stopping point–I don’t ride a bicycle partly for that reason, but mostly because the bicycle image brings up some really rebellious and angry stuff that the fear of falling is probably a mask for. Anyhow, I can advocate for just walking. I go out for a mile with the dog every day, regardless of the weather, because it’s essential for the dog’s health. That’s what I tell myself. I’ll do it for the dog. The weights 3x a week, that’s so I’m strong enough to haul in the big bags of dog food and bird food. It works for me. Keep looking to find what works for you. Excelsior!

  33. I started learning to skate last year, at the age of 42, so I could play roller derby. It hasn’t been easy and I’ve literally hundreds of times, but a year later I’m fitter, stronger and my balance has improved immeasurably. And I’m actually paying derby for real, despite the voice in my head telling me I was making a fool of myself the entire time. Injury wise I’ve been pretty lucky. After about a month I stacked it pretty badly trying to skate on one foot, which lead to a sprained ankle and wrist. A year on and I can still feel they’re not quite right, so I totally understand the concern about long-term injuries.

    In your shoes (or skates) I would do two things – learn the basics indoors at a rink if you can. Learning to skate as an adult is hard and it’s a lot easier if inconsistent surfaces and debris aren’t making the floor another variable. Once you’re more confident, you can brave the outdoors. The other thing is to learn to fall safely ASAP – that means going forwards, on to knees, then elbows, then wrists, taking the hits on your pads all the way. Once you’ve got that down, falling becomes much less daunting and a relaxed skater is a better skater. You’ll probably learn quite early on that it’s often better to bail in a controlled fashion than to fight gravity and end up going over backwards and risking a bash to the head or coccyx. Falling is inevitable. Falling is learning and if you aren’t falling you aren’t trying, so it makes sense to practice it early on until you’re doing it safely by reflex

  34. Really, the only exercise I don’t absolutely LOATHE is walking. And I’ve managed to fall a coupla times just doing that. But in general it was a reasonably safe exercise that I did till I was in my 60s and my knee went wonky. I was supposed to not go for walks during my knee treatment, and then I never got back to it. I definitely got … fluffier after that.

  35. I would second the idea of working with a personal trainer, to do “functional fitness”, including maybe working with weights. If you find the right match with a trainer, it adds a social element to the workout. And they will adjust to what you can and like doing.

    I find that I’m more likely to show up and I work harder when I’m scheduled to see a trainer. I look on it as “outsourcing my willpower “, and I’ve found it’s money well spent. If you have overall structured strengthening of your body, everything else becomes easier and more do-able. And most people find they will advance very quickly at first if they are working out at least twice a week.

  36. Athena, I think you are doing the right thing. Fear of falling and injury is not unreasonable. I see the folks saying that proper ankle/wrist/knee pads or braces will prevent injuries. Well, there aren’t any paddings for your butt. I tried skating. Took classes. My falls were always on my butt. After one too many, I broke my tail bone. That’s one of the worse bones to break. Can’t put it in a cast. Doing anything is torture. Takes months to heal, and still aches years later.
    Mall walking is good.

  37. Hi 48-y/o dad of 2 teenaged girls here weighing in.

    Don’t fall for sunk cost fallacy, but also, don’t write off skating out of fear of injuries that could be.

    You have done the due diligence in acquiring the proper protective gear to minimize risk, that is steps 1-3 right there! All life is risk. My kids, before they started ice skating lessons (which fell to the wayside over the years for each on their own schedule) used to roll back and forth through 40-ish feet of open-plan hardwood floored living space in our house for mere minutes up to hours each day. If only I could have directed that energy outside in the winter, but we don’t have quite the same yard (with dog!) situation available as you.

    Now, those original skates are outgrown, new larger pairs purchased sit unused 360+ days out of the year for the occasional trip to the roller rink with friends. Our local roller derby club ( has enjoyed our regular attendance for multiple seasons, because as a dad it is my DUTY to expose them to welcoming, inclusive, and supportive women’s team-based competition experiences, though they don’t want to join in with any of the youth development league opportunities. Skating never became their passion, but it is within their skillset and thus remains at least a passive interest.

    Maybe, don’t rush to clean out your closet yet and come back to revisit this concept. Until then, I will always recommend the running community, especially the trail runners. Like everything, there are extremes along the spectrum but I have found that for the most part this is an entry-level opportunity to recreate in the broadest sense of the term. Get outside, move your body, experience nature, meet new people, rinse, repeat.

    Granted, as a kid I was routinely out wandering in the fields, in the woods, riding my bike to the library or to hang out with friends. But running as a form of adult exercise and mental release didn’t come about until my 27th year, after I had graduated college, married, and started my career.

    Whatever you do or do not choose to do now should not dictate your entire future. Heck, just tossing a ball or frisbee to Charlie and then chasing after is a great start. It could get set you down the disc golf path that my youngest brother has found so much enjoyment.

  38. Two things happen when you use your body.

    You get to use your body later on and you get injuries.

    If you don’t use your body now you certainly will be less and less able to use your body in the future. Injuries, on the other hand, are random and don’t really stop you from using your body — but perhaps in different ways. Has your father’s finger affected his current life in any significant way? Did your lingering ankle injury prevent you from living your life?

    A consequence of being retired (I’m 81) is that I have plenty of free time to use my body. So I exercise every day for an hour or two. My left shoulder has been useless after a serious running accident (complete massive ruptures of supra- and infraspinatus muscles), I’ve had five lateral meniscus tears in my knees (three operated on, the last two left almost no meniscus to trim). I have arthritis in both knees and most toes. But these problems don’t prevent me from adjusting what I can do to use my body.

    Try a smart watch that prompts you to move around and allows you to build streaks of movement, as my Apple watches do. Compete with yourself to beat your previous high streak. Make a schedule of when you’ll walk or whatever (for example, every evening after dinner, rain or shine or gloom). When really pooped or depressed, tell yourself you’ll only do a few minutes. Make using your body a necessary part of using your life. There are no dei ex machina to rescue you.

  39. Apropos of nothing, a better skating song than “I’ve got a brand new pair of rollerskates”:

    Also cycling brings me joy and doesn’t hurt much (even though you can take a tumble or two). But you can always have fun indoors with Zwift!

  40. Roller skating is a completely optional hobby. If you don’t want to roller skate, don’t roller skate. Do something else that is more enjoyable.

    Many people have spend more than $200 on aspirational excercise equipment or gym memberships that they ended up not using. You could probably get back some of the money you spent by reselling the skates. Or if you do not actually need money you could give the skates to a friend or relative who will enjoy them more, or you could donate them. If you think your feelings about roller skating might change in the future you could hold on to the skates for awhile, but not if the skates are just going to make you feel guilty. Why should you feel guilty just because a totally optional hobby like skating is not your thing?

  41. canes… or skiing poles… or what I did when I tried inline skates… two repurposed broom handles with worn out socks wrapped to provide customized grip and held together with duct tape (of course)… only response of anyone was another blader who clearly had moves… “clever, can I take a closer look?” turns out she wanted to get her boyfriend rolling alongside…

    you’ll be both safer and more confident with 3-point of contact and at times you’ll be moving so fast in city traffic as to need 4-point… had to stop due to knees and back… prior injuries

    if you are looking to tone without stressing joints try yoga… you can always up the pace and add more complex moves till you are dripping with sweat… back in the 1990s I was one of four (never more than six) guys in a room of fifty women (10% to 15%)… since then the ratio had shifted towards 33-ish% male… you pick you pace and sweat intensity…

    keep writing about the aggravations of sports and with another couple dozen columns you’ll have the basis for a ten part series for Netflix… call it… “Blade Worrier”

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