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Story by Sunshine LeMontree, Senior Copywriter

Background Art by David Huettner, Video and Motion Graphics Editor 

Picture this: it’s 1999.

You’ve just hit the rink at Roller City when the DJ announces a “friend skate” and cranks “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls. You lock arms with a brigade of besties six strong. Lights flash as the disco ball spins. The floor glides away beneath you. Everything smells of roll-on body glitter, commercial carpeting, and cafeteria-style pizza. Your mom isn’t coming to get you until nine p.m. 


This is absolutely the best time ever.


For me, roller skating connects to very specific feelings of freedom, community, and joy—all of which suffered during the pandemic. 


When TikTokers began to lace up their Day-Glo Moxies, I too felt the call of the quad. So, this summer, I bought myself a pair of peace-and-love patterned Impalas. Lacing up for the first time in twenty years, I felt silly and a little self-conscious. A grown woman in elbow pads and wrist guards, practicing spins to the sounds of ABBA in the parking lot of her apartment building? What a spectacle. 


But I loved the feeling of finding my groove, connecting to the music, nailing a new skill after much trial and error. There’s really something humbling about relearning an old skill, but I made it a rule to never end a skate session after a fall. Eventually, street skating took me out into my neighborhood, sparked conversations with strangers. 


I feel like 12-year-old me would definitely let grown-up me join the friend skate.

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