Bring ’em back: roller blades

I was born in Kentucky. However, a good portion of my childhood was spent in Las Vegas. When we first moved to Las Vegas, I quickly learned that if you didn’t own a pair of roller blades, you didn’t exist; kind of the same way chewing tobacco validated your existence in Kentucky. For 3 years in the dry heat, I wore my roller blades everywhere.

I’m 27 now and back in Kentucky. A couple of years ago I got the itch again. The chewing tobacco roller blades itch. So I went to my local big-box sporting goods retailer to purchase a bit of my childhood back. I roamed and roamed, hoping to catch a glimpse of some wheels all lined up in a row. To my surprise, I found nothing. Feeling slightly worried, I asked an employee who we’ll call “Dick” for some help. “Umm, excuse me sir…where might I find your roller blade aisle?” Richard looked confused by my question. It was strangely worded, I admit. “What are you looking for, son?” “Roller blades”, I said, “you know, like roller skates…only much, much cooler.” I didn’t actually say that. “Oh yeah”, said Dick with sort of a sarcastic chuckle, “we don’t have those…actually, I don’t think they even make those things anymore.” I was shocked. After a few more lines of dialogue, I was told that my best bet was a used sporting goods store.

But I didn’t go to a used sporting goods store. I gave up. I’m sure I could have found them somewhere, but if Dick’s Sporting Goods didn’t carry them and Dick himself laughed at me for asking about them, I figured I should just give up on my dream and forget all that crap about my childhood. So I did.

Now, I’m certainly not saying (or willing to do the research) that roller blades no longer exist. I’m sure there’s a manufacturer somewhere pumping out those glorious boots with wheels. But it’s not like it used to be. Other than 90210 re-runs, I can’t remember the last time I saw a person wearing roller blades. This needs to change. It’s time to bring ‘em back. Here’s why:

1)      They’re Eco-Friendly: If you haven’t heard, we are destroying the earth. Not only that, apparently we’re making it warmer too, with all of our gasoline engines and fancy motorbikes. Some alternatives are available such as carpooling, public transportation, and bicycles. But carpooling and public transportation involve sitting next to other people, which isn’t ideal, and bikes are expensive and you have to wear tight-fitting clothing. But you can save the planet one pair at a time with roller blades. I’m looking at you, Al Gore.

2)      They look fantastic: If you’re anything like me, at least once a day you look down at your boring pair of everyday footwear and think say out-loud, “man I wish these had wheels”, or “you know what would make these look so much cooler?…wheels.” When you’re wearing a pair of roller blades, you’re not thinking any of those thoughts because they already have wheels and they couldn’t look cooler.

3)      They make you taller: I’m about 6 feet tall on most days. In my boring everyday footwear, that is. But in a pair of roller blades, I’m more like 6’2” or 6’3”, like an NBA player. When I strap on those plastic transportation devices, I can see the world from a different perspective. Insects look so much smaller, like I could just crush them with my fingers.

4)      You can do cool tricks on them: When you spend 3 years in the dry heat on nothing but a pair of roller blades, you learn lots of things. Things like tricks. Skating backwards took me about a week and a half to master. After that, I hardly ever skated straight-ahead. Before too long I had mastered spins and jumps, skating on one leg, even cool tricks that involved curbs and ramps. Shortly after, I took my brakes off, and finally earned that Las Vegas street cred I’d been so desperately craving. And let’s face it, you need street cred.

5)      They’re good for your health: I know that bowl of Cheerios every morning has done wonders for your cholesterol, and I’m happy for you, I really am. But it’s time to take it up a notch. That gym membership isn’t working. I know it and you know it. That treadmill you bought? It’s lonely. All those Turbo Jam DVDs? They’re for girls. The best prescription for your overall health is a pair of roller blades. You’re working your leg muscles with each stride, swinging your arms which has to do something, and sweating a lot – which I hear is good for your heart. Your children need your guidance. Your future grandchildren need your money/presents. Stay with us. Bring ‘em back.


If you have any other fantastic reasons why roller blades are awesome, let us hear about them in the comment section. If you hate roller blades with all of your heart and are angry that this post wasted so much of your time, we’d love to hear some of that as well.

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