I’m a Skate Junkie. I can quit anytime I want.

But why would I want to?

I first skated back in the early 80’s as a kid growing up in Calgary’s southwest suburban sprawl.  Birthday parties, school field trips, and sometimes just because.  And generally at the venerable Lloyd’s Recreation.

But then I just didn’t.  For a long time.  And oh, how I regret that now.

A few years ago, my daughter got invited to a birthday party at Lloyd’s.  Like a lot of people my age who grew up in Calgary, my first thought was: “Wait, wut?  Lloyd’s is still open?  Old school rollerskating is still a thing?”

My wife dropped my daughter off for the birthday party, but all through the week my daughter kept asking “Can I go skating after school on Friday?  Please, please, pleeeeeeease?”

So, of course I was going to take her, and a friend.

And when we got there…  The memories came back to me.  The Disco lights, the painted walls, the hardwood rink floor…  It was a time capsule of my youth.

As my daughter took off onto the rink with her friend, I looked around and thought to myself, “I’m not going to be THAT guy, that dad that sits in the cafeteria all night slurping coffee and fiddling with my phone, while my kid is out there skating.”

So I did it.  I signed out a pair of rental skates, rolled out onto the rink with visions of Xanadu in my head (you remember that movie, right?)…

And avoided breaking any bones. Although I did fall a lot.

Give me a break, it had been over 30 years.

But I didn’t give up.  And in spite of the falls, and general awkwardness, I had fun.  And kept at it.

And went again, with my daughter, the next week.  And the week after, and my wife started joining us.  And then it became a family thing.  And we were there at least once, sometimes two or three times a week.

And then the word came down…  The property had been sold, and after 50+ years, Lloyd’s was to close in February, 2018.

We were devastated.  It was such a fun place for us to hang out as a family, and we had made some good friends there.

But all was not lost.  Before the rink closed, my wife and I set up a Facebook Page, for us to keep in touch with some of those people, and pass on information about places to get together and skate.  At first, there were only a few people on that page, but in the final weeks before the rink closed, it blew up and took on a life of its own.

As I write this, there are over 360 members on that page.  And people are sharing skating events all over, and around, the city.

The community has banded together to skate on, rink or no rink. Virtually every week since there has been an event or place to skate, often multiple events per week.

And it’s a beautiful thing.

So now, I’m taking this old website that I haven’t done anything with for years.  I’ve torn it down and am rebuilding it.  The event calendar in Facebook, well…  It sucks.  It’s become hard to keep track of all the events.

For now, the primary purpose of this site will be the calendar of events, a way for people to quickly look up what’s up in skateville.

But who knows?  Maybe it will become something more.

But if it makes it easy for just one local skater to find a place or event to get their skate on, then I’m happy.

Roll on people.  Keep the skate alive in Calgary.

  • John

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