Competitive Sport vs. Casual Pastime
For many people, inline skating is a fondly remembered hobby from earlier on in life; perhaps you attended roller discos or enjoyed skating along the sidewalk with friends when you were young before eventually hanging up your skates in favour of different pursuits. For plenty of regular skaters, this is the aim of their hobby – to have fun, stay active and be social. However, for others it’s a way of life. Professional skaters can begin training from a very young age and treat the sport much like any other athlete would. From hockey to roller soccer to figure skating, athletes from all disciplines train hard, take part in competitions, and win prestigious titles thanks to their speed and skill.
So, how does inline skating as a hobby match up with that done competitively? Much like any other practice, there is some crossover between the two. There is even some movement between different sports, like ice hockey and figure skating on ice, and inline skating due to the similarity of movement and skills required. Inline skating is a great opportunity for winter sports athletes to keep practicing during their off season, as well as being a fun way to get out of the house and stay active in your downtime. So, let’s take a closer look at the ups and downs of this fascinating discipline, whether you’re competing professionally or just having fun.
As with any competitive sport, those conducted on inline skates have varying levels of popularity, sizes of following behind them and types of skill needed in order to be successful. For example, modern roller derby remains most popular with female athletes and the majority of teams hail from the United States. It is still an amateur level sport with no recognition at major sporting events such as the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games, but it follows its own careful rules and requires its own particular brand of expertise. People take part because they enjoy it, because they love the sport and because they find community within its tightknit group of followers. It may not be the biggest sport on the global scene, but it’s certainly a well loved one.
This trend for grassroots movements in sport has been enabled in the 21st century by the widespread accessibility of the internet. Other fringe disciplines, like e-sports, traditional gaming and mixed martial arts, have all benefitted from the boost that only the worldwide web can provide. Playing professional-grade table games is now only a click away at sites like PokerStarsCasino and all the latest e-sports tournaments can be easily accessed via Twitch or other streaming services. Mixed martial arts would not have reached the heights that it enjoys today were it not for the widespread exposure made possible by the internet, and the modern rules of roller derby would not have spread beyond the USA’s borders were it not for online connections. There is also a strong online following for aggressive inline skating; this sport combines speed, agility and creativity to entertain audiences and participants alike with displays of nailbiting drama and impressive skill.
In contrast to these grassroots sporting movements are disciplines like artistic or figure skating, inline hockey, speed skating, X skating and Alpine skating.
Get Your Skates On!
However, if you have no interest in skating competitively or you’ve discovered the sport later on in life, then the good news is that skating still makes the perfect casual hobby. Whether you want to get involved with a more defined sport like roller soccer or simply want to strap on a pair of skates and take to the road, there’s room for everybody. Skates can be bought for a reasonable price and you can even practice in your own backyard before building up to skating in public – any flat surface will do. Make sure to buy from a reputable brand though as cheap or badly made skates have a tendency to jam which promotes bad technique in beginners.
There may even be local skating groups that you can join, with enthusiasts from all walks of life gathering together to enjoy this simple pastime. Whether you’re reliving your rollerblading youth or are a complete newcomer, you’ll find that skaters are a welcoming bunch always willing to try new things and help out those who are struggling to master a skill. It’s a good idea to locate your local skatepark as this is an area specifically built for those who wish to improve their skating skills; your mind may immediately jump to skateboarders, but many inline skaters frequent these places too in order to make use of the specialist facilities. Plus, it means there’s a greater chance of somebody being there who can answer any questions you might have or help you to overcome any problems you’re experiencing when learning how to skate.