They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. They also say it doesn’t matter how you fall down, only how you get back up. In rollerblading, both are true.
Junior Dana Franken can testify. An avid rollerblader for years, she is no stranger to the bumps and bruises that come from the sport.
She remembers her first years on skates fondly: “I have three older sisters and growing up, my dad owned a mechanic shop. When he didn’t have cars in the shop, we’d clear and sweep the floors so we could skate. We’d go around and around forever. I rollerbladed a lot in elementary school but eventually fell out of it.”
As Dana moved on to other things, most Midwest middle schoolers were picking up skates for the first time.
“I started skating when I was old enough to go to the skating rink at the end of elementary school, beginning of middle school,” said sophomore Morgan Stahl. “They had overnight skate nights, but my parents never let me go. You had to skate all night. I think you could rest, but no sleeping.”
Sophomore Bryant Slagter recalls another early skating experience. “They had a couples skate the first time I went in the second grade. I remember holding Renee Vreeman’s hand and then never talking to her again,” he said laughing.
“I never really skated in middle school,” recalls Franken. “But I got back into it when I lived in Germany for a year during high school.
In Germany, everything is paved, and there was this beautiful field path. I would rollerblade everywhere. It was being in Germany that really started my love for rollerblading.”
Coming back stateside to her native Sioux County, Franken didn’t give up the passion. Moving from Sioux Center to attend Northwestern, Franken’s passion strengthened as she started rollerblading regularly again with a friend from high school.
“My friend, Kari Wallinga, and I began to go roller blading more often to catch up. We have the same path that we roller blade,” said Franken. “We head out towards Unity Christian High School, then to the north edge of town, along the golf course bike path, then out toward the hospital, where we work out way back to campus.”
“If the roads are dry, we’ll go out. It can be sunny or cloudy. We’ve gone out in hats, gloves and heavy sweatshirts before,” recalls Franken, smiling. “It’s become a time for us to really bond. She doesn’t go to school here, so it’s become a time for us to talk and share our lives. I love rollerblading for giving us that.”
Interested in making your own rollerblading memories?
This Saturday night, SAC is converting the RSC Mini-gym for a night of roller skating. Beginning at 10 p.m., the night is 80s themed, meaning pull out those neon colors, leg warmers and headbands, NW! The event is free to students. Bring $3 dollars if you need to rent skates.