King’s last roll
Some things never change. This past Sunday, for instance, I made my way over to King’s Skate Country on Bradshaw Road to engage in some rejuvenile delinquency with a couple of girlfriends. And everything was just as I remembered.
The same black carpet bespeckled with Day Glo confetti climbing the walls from the floor, the same mural of camping cowboys adorning the west side of the rink. The same rules posted about clothing—no bare feet or backs, no exposed midriffs, no fishnet shirts (it’s necessary to tell people that?).
The same gummed-up brick wall when waiting to pay and be buzzed in the door. The state of the restroom implies the same plumbing. I think the only modification in the last 30 years may be the price of admission, which, at a mere $6.50, is questionable.
I don the iconic beige rental skates with the orange wheels—they had newer pairs, but I protested to keep it old school—and slip onto the rink, in a literal fashion. It’s a bit like riding a bike, if the cyclist were Bambi. On the interstate.
But once I perfect the merge and find my footing, it’s not too bad. I get my groove enough to make some song requests from the same playlist of yore. I do my best Travolta.
I eat the same snack-bar nachos, likely culled from some never-ending bags of round, stale tortilla chips bought at Price Club in the early ’80s. I order a Coke to wash them down, with a piece of licorice to sub for a real straw.
As I avoid the same speedy showoffs and dodge the landmines ages 8 and under that litter the rink, I remember drama from 9-year-olds’ birthday parties, and cheating during games of “Red Light, Green Light.” I remember nerves from couple skates in junior high to Madonna’s “Crazy for You.” I think of friends who fell on their asses for me when I dragged them all out here for my 25th birthday not so long ago, or how I so wanted to do it again, roller-disco style, for my 30th coming up in a few months.
OK, so some things do change. And this rink full of reliable memories will soon, too.
At the end of this month, after 39 years in business, King’s Skate will face its greatest overhaul since its opening—by closing its doors for good.
Ladies and gentleman, the King has left the building.
My friends and I have snuck in one last glimpse of familiar, and I’m glad we did. Before I know it, it’s the last song, and time to go.
Sure, there are other rinks in the area. It just won’t be the same.