Roller skating offers some simple pleasures

December 28, 1997

Roller skating offers some simple pleasures


Staff Writer

HALFWAY - With new ice rinks popping up all over, one would think that all anyone could talk about was gliding along on blades. But not everybody has ice fever.

Every Saturday at 11:30 a.m., about 20 area kids and adults learn how to twirl, jump and glide on roller skates at the Family Skating Center in Halfway.

Members of the Antietam Skate Club practice regularly and compete regionally in competitions including freestyle, figure skating and dancing.

For some, the simple pleasures of roller skates beat out their colder cousin.

"It's just my thing," said Deborah Keyser, 15, who travels with her parents from Braddock Heights, Md., to Halfway. She has been skating for two years. "I really get into it."


Keyser received her big Christmas wish - a pair of $600 handmade skating boots from the same firm that makes boots for Kristi Yamaguchi and Brian Boitano. The wheels come separately.

Keyser said she'd like to have a few more sequin-covered outfits for competitions, and said she'd like roller skating to be an Olympic sport.

"I think we should be on TV," she said, grinning.

She said skating is a great opportunity to meet other people with the same interests.

"We're all like one big family," she said.

Storm Burns, 5, of Williamsport, also was practicing his moves Saturday, including "shoot the duck," where he grabs his feet while gliding along.

He was going to birthday parties at roller rinks and standing on the rail and pulling other people down, so mother Cherie Burns, 37, figured it was time to get him some lessons.

Burns said the lessons were cheaper than ice skating and safe.

"I don't worry when we're here unlike some places," she said.

The club practices three or four times a week.

"It's just like any sport. It takes a lot of practice to get proficient at it," said Linda Conn, 49, of Middletown, Md.

Conn said she's really enjoyed skating since she and her daughter Sarah, 11, started taking lessons together about a year and a half ago.

"It's good exercise and it's something that the whole family can do together," she said.

"For older people it's really a great sport." She said it helps get her in shape without the jarring impacts on her joints from running.

The youngsters earn merit badges whenever they learn new skills, said teacher Wally Swanbeck, 34, of Frederick, Md.

Swanbeck teaches the class in his spare time. He's also the pastry chef at the Tortuga Restaurant and at Barracuda's.

Lessons cost as little as $3. For more information, call 1-301-582-2020.

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