March 19, 2005


Part of my doctor's recent prescription, co-equal with the diet, is the mandate to go walking for at least 30 minutes a day and to be more active in general. This is a bit difficult, as I'm sedentary by nature and don't much care for going outside and working up a sweat. I dislike jogging, running, hiking, football, basketball, and most other sports. Tennis requires a partner, and anyway I'm no good at it. Golf, well, golf is a possibility, but it's also expensive. Going out for a walk is cheaper, and I don't need to keep score.

There is, however, one kind of physical activity (other than walking) which historically I've actually enjoyed, and that's rollerskating. Forget skating rinks--what you need for good skating is a few miles of reasonably smooth, sparsely populated concrete. Rinks are too crowded, and before you can build up any speed you have to turn. But a long concrete path is heaven. Back when I was in high school I spent most summers in Long Beach, which has many suitable areas; I had a pair of rollerskates and skated all over the place just for fun.

I should point out that this was before the in-line craze; my skates were the old-fashioned kind, with four wide eurethane wheels in a rectangular pattern. I gather they call them "quads" these days. About eight years ago, during an earlier attempt to be more active, I hearkened back to those glory days of yesteryear and decided to try skating again. I wanted to get a pair of quads, but all I could find for sale were inline skates, so that's what I got.

I hated them. I practiced several times a week for several months, and never got comfortable with them. And eventually, of course, they got put away and never used again. But thanks to my doctor the issue arose once again, and this time I found that things were a bit different. I still hated my inline skates. I still couldn't locate a store in my area that sells quads. But I found any number of stores on-line that sell them, in a wide range of styles and prices. This was food for thought.

So today my family sallied forth to try an experiment--we went to a roller rink about forty minutes from our house, and rented skates for everyone in the family but the baby. Our goals were two: to see if Jane and I could still skate, and to see how well the kids did on skates. The results were mixed. Jane and I can still skate, though it took me a couple of turns around the rink to be comfortable on skates again. The kids, well, the kids need practice. Lots of practice. LOTS of practice. They need practice just to be able to practice. But if they can figure it out, we could have some outstanding family outings.

So it's likely that we'll be investing in skates, so the kids can practice in the backyard. And then, who knows--perhaps we'll take a drive down to Long Beach and explore the waterfront.

Posted by Will Duquette at March 19, 2005 06:49 PM