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Roller Skate Night at Baker a grooving success

Jan 27, 2010
By Lauren Bee

Editor's note: University Communications and Marketing student intern Lauren Bee shares her first-person account of the night the Baker University Center Ballroom was transformed into a roller-skating rink.

When I was in elementary school, all the cool kids had their birthday parties at Ohio Skate. Ohio Skate was (and still is) a roller-skating rink in my hometown, complete with disco ball and cheesy ?90s pop music. The parties were complete with typical grade school drama, the who?s who of 5th grade would be there, and every girl would cross her fingers and hope that cutie she?d been crushing on since last week would ask her to skate. It was just one part of my childhood that seemed borrowed from a different decade, like neon spandex, Care Bears and hand-me-down toys from sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles.

I will honestly admit that I was wary of reliving my days of childhood trauma (not to say that there was anything specifically traumatic about skating, but I was frequently getting stitched up as a result of my childhood endeavors). But roller skating in the Baker University Center Ballroom was a little too tempting to pass up. Forgoing the too-short ?70s gym shorts and tube socks, I went into the night feet first, praying that my days of rollerblading would save me from making a complete idiot of myself.

As I walked toward the ballroom, I instantly perked up at the sound of the music. While I waited outside for a friend, I was beckoned by ?60s soul and classic rock standards. Parents were dutifully watching small children outside as small groups of students walked in and out, smiles on their faces. I even watched some walk by with skates of their own, though those people mainly were toting rollerblades. I admit, I was slightly skeptical before I walked in -- it didn?t seem like that many people were coming and going, but I was pleasantly surprised when I went inside.

Suddenly, I was 10 again! There was a skate counter, tables and seats along the sides, snacks and drinks, and a lot of people. Party lights and a disco ball lit the room, chatter and laughter filled the air. Yes the rink was smaller than I remember and made out of blue plastic tiles, but it was filled with people and fun.  The familiar characters were there: couples, skating slower than the rest, one struggling and the other trying not to get too far ahead on the rink; gaggles of laughing girls, not the best skaters but clearly enjoying themselves; those guys that you know used to play hockey (or still do) and are showing off; and the tentative bystanders and wallflowers that look like they want to join, but choose to play it cool for a while.

Uneasy and clumsy on the carpet, I made my way to the rink, doing my best not to take a spill before I even got to the rink. My shins reminded me how long it?d been since I last skated, aching as I joined the group of people. As I said, the rink was fairly small, and it was difficult to navigate among the various speeds of skaters at first. One guy even grabbed onto me -- after nearly plowing me over -- but thankfully I was able to stay up off the floor. I started slow, then eventually worked up the courage to try to skate backwards (I failed) and do some spins and turns, and eventually worked up a little bit of sweat.

I have to admit I?ve been reluctant to participate in university-sponsored events, but there have been some definite winners (casino and game nights, just to name a couple). Roller skating at Baker was definitely one of the best and the attendance showed that. When I arrived and when I left, there were groups of people who were still hanging around. There was even a line of around 20 people waiting to get in because the rink didn?t have much more room. I?ll say it plainly, and I?m sure many who attended will agree: I had a blast.


Published: Jan 27, 2010 1:13 PM

Baker Skating

Cierra Johnson, center, skates with other students in the Baker University Center Ballroom Tuesday night.

Photographer: Kevin Riddell 

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