By Bonita James
“I wanna be a skate dancer!”
This was my epiphany while skating for the first time at Skates Roller Skating Center in Sand Springs. I want to be one of the cool kids, but first, I need to nail down this roller skating thing.
Yes, I am 35 years young and am just learning how to roller skate. I “skate” once a year at my nephew’s birthday party and really try to give it all I got. It wasn’t until this past party in May I felt like I actually “got it,” thanks to my yoga practice getting me in tune with my core.
The morning after the birthday party, I bought my first pair of roller skates! My leopard-print Moxi skates arrived a few days later and just in time for Adult Skate Night!
As the universe would have it, my new Facebook friend Penelope had posted that she bought Moxi skates too. We were immediate Moxi Girls! We can both thank this super hip Moxi video for bringing us and our purchases together. No Moxi Skate team in Tulsa yet, but don’t put it past us or other awesome Tulsa girls to start one!
Penelope has been in the skating and derby scene for a while. My long-time friend from the OKC derby scene, Stormy, busted out her derby skates too. Before we knew it, we were all lacing up. Skates’ Adult Skate Night (18+) is from 8-10 p.m. every Thursday. Skates address is 401 E. Broadway St. in Sand Springs, but don’t count on your GPS to take you directly there. This gem is tucked away behind a couple of parking lots. Following the GPS will get you to the general area, but you have to turn left into a parking lot of what looks like duplexes and wind your way to the back.
There you’ll see the momentous SKATES sign. Pay your $5, put on your own skates or rent
Brownies for $2 or Speed Skates for $3.50 more. It’s the best entertainment/ exercise session $5 can buy!
Newbies & Pros Welcome
Me being a newbie, the sheer speed of the real skaters zooming by me almost made me want to get off the rink, at first. Good thing I am determined! In my squeaky new skates, I was barely rolling on what felt like match sticks with sticky wheels. Stormy’s tools and advice lead me to loosening up my trucks and wheels. I finally loosened up my nerves and started making progress.
I have to say, this is the coolest skating rink I’ve been to. Although I was terrified of skating until this recent “facing my fears” phase in life, I’ve been to a lot of skating rinks. As an early roller derby fan, I’ve seen and heard about the good and the bad in rink floors at derby bouts.
Skates’ 165’x75’ rink is crafted from maple wood and is lacquered to a smooth finish. There is only one wall partitioning the rink from snack and party area. This forced me to be brave my first time around.
Skaters of all kinds flow around the rink. Some skate at high rates of speed, and others are more in tune with the beat. It was immediately apparent there is an unspoken comradery and etiquette among the skaters. The first person I saw fell was quickly met by two skaters who blocked him from others, while a third swooped in and helped him up. Seeing this made me feel good and safe. If I go down, instead of whizzing past me, these guys will help me. My “newbieism” is oh so apparent, but I have only been met with smiles and quick words of encouragement as people blaze by me.
Even back in my day of covering derby bouts and cheering on my favorite girls, I knew derby would never be “my thing.” But, when I saw this group of guys with matching shirts skating together, I knew I found my groove. I could feel the epiphany swarm me.
“I wanna be a skate dancer!”
I’m sure these guys would probably cringe if they heard me say that. They are a team of Jam Skaters, and they are bad-to-the-bone! They have rhythm, grace and killer moves. They know what they are doing, and Skates is where they practice their craft. On Thursday nights, the Jam Skaters just have fun, but the rink is designated for them the first Sunday of the month, 9-11:30 p.m.
My ignorance is bliss, so I will still strive to be a skate dancer! But for now, just getting around the rink is progress.
The next time I went, I noticed there were a lot of new faces from the week before. I saw some who I’m sure go every Thursday, but I was happy to see I wasn’t the only wobbly-kneed newbs on the rink. I watched a cute couple hug the wall together before one of them was brave enough to go at it alone. She kept meeting up with her man and finally encouraged him to take her hand. They both, as did I, got better as the night went on.
Adult Skate Night is just one session Skates offers. There is truly a time for everyone to skate. Family Night, 7-10 p.m. on Saturdays, blares “Mom-approved music” and is $8, including Brownie rental. Cheap Skates, 6-8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, keeps with the “Mom approved” theme and is only $3 for admission. Note: Adult Skate Night is NOT “Mom approved.” I didn’t even have to make my request before I was skating to one of my favorite jams, “Shoop” by Salt ‘n’ Pepa!
Check out all Skates has to offer on their events page. They’ve got it all spelled out for you, so planning your skating session is no biggy.
Birthdays, fundraisers, group skate, parties–Skates does it all! You can even sign up for skate lessons! Coached by two time Jr. World Artistic Skating Champion, Court Collier, anyone at any level can have private skate lessons. I may just have to do this.
If going super fast is your thing, you can join the The Tulsa Speed League through Skates. Practice and join the team to participate and compete in Inline and Quad speed skating.
Skates is the place for the The Tulsa Derby League. It’s not just a league for the ladies either. They offer roller derby for men, women and junior girls and boys (ages 9-17). Welcoming skaters of all abilities and sizes, the professional coaches of the Tulsa Derby League will push skaters to the confidence and agility needed to play roller derby.
My mission in 2016 is to move every day. Every Thursday night, and maybe some Cheap Skate nights, skating will be my platform to accomplish this goal. It’s good to mix it up. I’m so happy the stars aligned to bring my new-found courage, Moxi skates, Penelope and Stormy together at Skates in Sand Springs. Whether it’s for nostalgia, a party, or a date, Skates is a great place to lace up and roll onto the rink.
I’m creating memories as an adult at Skates. Writing this, I can’t help but wonder, what are some of your best roller skating memories? Please share with me in the comments!