“It’s not possible to be unhappy skating,” my friend Kristin said to me on her second outing to the Skating Place in Golden Gate Park.
I understand the sentiment. We’re rollerskating in a beautiful park in the city by the bay. There’s disco and funk pumping out of a boombox. People of all ages are zooming around, smiling and laughing. It is heaven on eight tiny wheels.
But I think it’s important to acknowledge that not everyone is having a great time. The more time I spend in the Skating Place, the more I get to know some of the characters who frequent the space. And some folks are struggling.
There’s the old white lady who mutters racial epithets under her breath when you roll by. The drunk dude who wanders into the circle and does a wobbly dance too close to the kids. The young woman who wears her headphones the whole time and scowls as she carves slow arcs around the circle.
Yesterday was just a gorgeous sunny day in the park. And yet some people were determined to have a bad time.
One dude stopped my friend and I and complained to us for 10 minutes about all these new skaters, and how all they care about is learning all the flashy tricks. But none of them want to “put in the work” to really understand how to control their edges and use their weight effectively. “No one is teaching advanced technique in the city,” he complained. “Everyone is just learning … choreography.”
As I was getting ready to leave the park, I sat at the end of a bench near my bike to take off my skates. There was a backpack and a water bottle about half a foot away from me.
Some dude rolled up and yelled at me for “sitting on his stuff.” I told him I was just getting ready to go and I didn’t touch any of his gear. He kept going off about how I was “leaning all over his bag.” He ranted about how people are just throw all their stuff on top of his and he’s sick of it.
I told him that I was sorry if it looked that way, and I understand if he was concerned about his stuff being taken. He kept looking away angrily.
The reality is that we’re all going through some stuff that we carry with us into the skating rink, particularly now in the middle of a global pandemic. You don’t really know what inner struggles some one is bringing with them.
The best you can do is offer your own light and friendship and see if they respond. Often they do, in my experience. And if they don’t, wish them well and hope they find the healing we all need.
16 thoughts on “Unhappy Skaters”
Thanks for your light and friendship, Riki. One day, hopefully, they’ll get to know it too.
Heres the thing, He was talking behind peoples backs ,misrepresenting what I said and posting it on the web. Thats not cool or friendly, not a good way to make friends. We at the skating place are a small sk8 fam not really down with things like this.
Who are you?
Excuse me? Regulars at 6th ave just found this and we’re pissed. Why is it that you criticize us for scowling and offloading insecure emotions yet u do same to our friends? No one likes u and your nasty snobbish attitude since u showed up.
Misss me with that ‘light and friendship’ bs. Go back to Lindy Hop and eff off if you don’t like us. We are a community and the park gets cutty, get over yourself!!!
Just to be clear, are you telling me not to come out skating anymore because I had some negative experiences with people in the Skating Place? Is that really the kind of community you want to create? To tell newcomers to go away?
Ok, obviously you are not man enough to say it to any of our faces. You hide behind social media and talks this mess. You got a problem, man up and say something instead of being a punk and blasting it online. I dare you to say this to any of our faces. If you don’t like what you see or experience, then you can take your chicken $h!t self somewhere else and skate. Everyone I know there is welcoming and loves being there and we get along just fine. You are a weak sorry excuse for a man that wrote this, man up and say something in person or shut up and roll out!!!
Hi L. This is my personal site where I share my personal experiences. I was have a particularly rough set of interactions in the Skating Place , and I this was how I was processing those feelings. I don’t know why this is causing you to be so angry at me? But maybe you should look at where that is coming from.
I’m just here to skate and find some light in this difficult world. I think we all are. Peace.
Id just like to say your misrepresenting the conversation. Was I complaining no. I was presenting a perspective that’s all. Friendly conversation with food for thought. Its called sharing, you guys were getting stuck on body positioning and foot work which jams you up during your grapevines and all I did was point out a missing piece. Edgework. Ok Riki, Ill give you a lil im really direct, sure that can come off the wrong way, but im not your definition of an unhappy skater. If you ask anyone about me who has been coming to the skating place long before you started joined us if im an angry/unhappy skater they’d laugh at you for being ridiculous. And being someone who understands skate theory and proper technique, i presented something you never heard before.
Your reaction made that clear to me. When ever a good skater has come up to me and given me advise , i listen and see if there’s any value in there perspective i can use. Be open minded. This is the kinda post that just blasts people you don’t even know. All I see here is you complaining about other people, why do you get to judge. What make your opinion the right one. Blogging doesn’t make you any kind of authority . Your probably a nice guy with good intentions, but I think you need to be a bit more mindful of how your actions/writing effect others as well. You judged 3-5 people that have been coming to 6 ave for a longtime and you have know idea who they are.
Or what their situations are. I dont care if you single me out, I found this post and can defend myself well enough. I’m not saying racist drunks angry people are right in there actions , but who made you judge and jury. If you don’t like them walk away, don’t write BS like this so you validate your feelings or POV. We have been walking away from those folks for years and so should you without blogging BS. Everyone is welcome in the park. If you had an issue with me why didn’t you say something to me first. Writing a post like this is not cool. You also should know a lot of people in our crew have seen or heard this post and you should rethink talking about behind other people. Specially so out in the open like this. Its not a good way to make friends. Sorry you felt i came across as complaining, welp i wasn’t. Hopefully we can talk some time and clear things up and i can show you some things. Id appreciate it if others can read my post, its only right.
So i have given you an opportunity to respond and as I predicted you feel your ok with hiding behind a curtain. Well that’s fine, just don’t expect people in our sk8 fam with being comfortable with you. The fact that you decided to write something about me and thought its would never get back to you, just shows who you really are. If your naive to think it wouldn’t get back to me or anyone, just shows how self centered you are. I/we do not appreciate people who pull shit like this. I am not the only person who has issues with you and your post. Women don’t feel comfortable at the skating place it because of really bad sexist/abusive men. If people/women are not friendly to you should realize that your new and we have learned to be protective of ourselves and our friends. We can be nice cordial but that doesn’t /shouldn’t let you think your part of our crew. Do you think your actions represent what good people do. I dont. I am absolutely not perfect and strive to look at feedback when presented.
But you didnt come to me about it, you wrote a post. So you lose the right to complain about me or give me feedback because of your poor choice. As I mentioned the other day , if you had problem with me or what I said you should have manned up and said something to me. A social post in my view is cowardly and doesn’t help you make friends or make people feel comfortable with you. Do you really think that just because you have been coming out to the skating place for the last 10 months watched a bunch of Debra’s videos and you tubevids, your an authority on skating, product and social Psychology, nope. Yes you can dance and have great talent, but thats were it ends. Your post was not cool. Its simple people have come and gone in/out of our sk8 fam and its been around for over 40 years. You started off on the wrong foot. You still have an opportunity to respond and give feedback but if you don’t realize your actions have consequences.
Hrm. You didn’t mention that the folks that were drunk and grumbling were Not on skates. Those folks are just drawn to the happy skaters.
Hi Ari and others. Wow, I’m surprised my little blog got noticed by all of you alls. Clearly you alls had a strong response to it.
My intention, if that wasn’t clear, was to highlight that not everyone is happy when they are skating, which I suppose is a self-evident statement. At the end, it’s you that are responsible for your own energy, even if someone is giving out energy that hits you as negative or hostile. That’s a life lesson that I’ve learned (and keep learning) in a lot of different social and artistic spaces. So I’m grateful for the skate circle as another place to practice this.
My apologies if my message was heard as some kind of attack. As you can see I didn’t call out anyone in particular. Hell, I don’t know any body’s name, so I couldn’t even if I wanted to.
To Ari, who seems to think that he is the one who my post is directed to, is to think about how your message was received by my friend and me. Your intention was probably to be helpful. But that is not how it was heard by us. So consider that communication is a two way street.
I’m genuinely happy for you and what you have discovered through your hard work in skating. That is truly inspiring.
Ari, if we are in the same place at the same time, I’m happy to chat more about this. I don’t want to cause beef. Certainly not in this space that has given me so much over these past months.
With love and respect to all. – RIKI
As I reflect on this, I am reminded again that people are all going through some rough shit right now. The Skating Place is a source of comfort and joy. It’s natural that we would feel protective of it.
But I reject all of your anger at me for daring to share my own personal experiences and feelings on my own blog. You came here to start a fight with me. I’m not having that. That isn’t my purpose. That’s why I didn’t call people out on Facebook, mention names, or describe folks in more detail.
So chill the eff out. I’m not here to cause beef. I’m here, like you are, to find joy and healing. Let’s make that together in the magical skating place, and elsewhere.
If you aren’t down with that, I’m sorry for you.
Good lord really? Written by the biggest cheese bucket around. You are so full of yourself. It was a pandemic fool. Way to enter the skate community.