Beyond the rink

Friends find a home in a pastime of skating together


The original roller skating group consisted of 20 elementary school kids walking into the doors of The Fun Factory with each other by their side. That was 10 years ago.
While the number had dropped to five or eight people, currently it’s been around 15 kids every weekend.
“We all grew up on it, so it’s like a second nature to us,” sophomore Malachi Kennedy said.
Since elementary school, Kennedy has created a group consisting of different grade levels and teens with different personalities. Every weekend, kids make their appearance at the skate rink and set everything aside for the hobby of roller skating.
“If you miss a weekend, you miss something,” Kennedy said. “Something happens … very tremendously every single weekend that is so cool.”
Since new management brought new life to the rink, hours on the weekends have gotten shorter and became afternoon and evening increments. This has led the group to resort to their old schedule and attend from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, while Sundays are the times to skate all day.
The friend group has expanded and now includes boys and girls. It is not only a tiny, tight group of friends but has friends of friends as well.
“(My favorite thing about the group) is just hanging out and having fun,” sophomore Jakob Hope said. “I love to make memories, and that’s what we do the most.”
Hope started skating with Kennedy around three years ago. He was never a stranger to roller skating as it was something family members made sure to introduce him to at a young age.
Skating and spending his weekends at the rink led Kennedy and Hope to create a strong bond together, especially being able to connect outside of school and share common interests.
A favorite amongst the group is the “Jam Skate” that the rink holds.
This allows for new moves to be created as well as letting loose to music favorites.
During the “Jam Skate,” line skate occurs that has the skaters mimic the moves back to back around the rink as 90s to early 2000s music plays in the background.

Sophomore Taylor Holt connected with the group when she was 12. The clique of 10 grabbed her attention and gave her a new escape that she had never thought of before.
“It’s my peace,” Holt said. “It helps me get a lot of stuff off my mind.”
Outside of the rink, sleepovers and game nights take place at some of the members’ houses. A bond that started with roller skating finds itself going strong and appearing outside of the tiny, wooden-floor rink.
To the skaters, roller-skating is so much more than meets the eye. Their bonds go beyond the rink. It may be their place, but they’ve found a home in each other.
During the school day, the members can’t help but find themselves talking about skating, strengthening their bond through something they can look forward to at the end of a stressful week.
“It’s not just through the skate rink. It’s through the school hallways, it’s through classes, it’s through everything outside the school,” Kennedy said. “We know each other like family.”