Everybody has struggles and everybody will find some way to overcome them. Despite how hard it is to roll out of bed each morning and paint a smile on it will all be worth it. For many people, they have discovered a ‘saving grace’ or something that has kept them sane throughout their struggles; for a lot of jam skaters, jam skating has saved them in one way or another. Not everyone’s hardships are the same nor are they easy, but it helps knowing that there is a community of people who do the same thing for some reason or another.
Jam skating is a sport that is so team oriented and within all the teams lies a family. The art of jam skating has been a good fall back and positive environment to a lot of skaters. Danie Morgan from Sure Grip expresses: “Jam skating has saved me in many ways. I’m not the most popular girl in school- I’m the geek. I feel that jam skating is the way that I am able to express myself and let out all of the emotions. I get to be me when I skate. This sport has also helped me get through all of the hard times in my life, and I’ve been through a lot. Going to the rink is the highlight of my week, and I’ve met some pretty amazing people from skating. I honestly don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have jam skating and the community that it brings. It just always manages to cheer me up and make my day better!”
Jam skating has provided an outlet to all who participate. Maybe it was a bad day, maybe something is happening at home, or maybe you just want to get away. This sport can be considered a saving grace for many people, especially VNLAs own Butler family. Ryan Butler said: Jam skating has helped me through many very stressful times; I could go skate and everything would just go away. Jam skating was what I turned after I quit baseball after I lost my father at such a young age. I could turn to skating to clear my mind. I have met so many amazing people through skating and it did save me. I was homeschooled so I didn’t have many friends, but jam skating sure made up for it. Without skating I wouldn’t have met the person who made the biggest impact on my life. It’s led me to many great places and show off what I love. Jam skating saved my life.” Jan Butler (Ryan’s mom) said: “We needed those new friendships and distractions while we were getting ready for all the events. VNLA, Kounterfit, and everything/everyone that comes with Ryan’s skating has been a blessing to us.”
The art of this sport has the power to unite anybody and create a family. For Fred Mays and Damien Harrison skating literally created their family. Fred explains: “In October of 2006 I moved from Atlanta, GA to Dallas, TX. I started skating at the Arlington Skatium on a JB team on roller blades. I created my own team called the G-Force a few months later, then one month after that I met Damien at the rink. Damien was six years old at the time and he asked me to teach him how to skate in blades, so I did. As time went on Damien and I created a bond that grew from being friends to brothers. As years went on Damien and I became closer and we started to skate in the regular roller skates. We practiced three times a week and we made a promise that one day we would go pro in the skating world together. As time went on I started to see Damien as my son and at twenty six and him being thirteen we had a love for each other that wouldn’t ever go away. Damien means the world to me and I would never let that change for anyone.” Damien said: “If I was to be offered a spot on VNLA, I wouldn’t take it without Fred. We have become so close!”
Any sport is a saving grace to a family or an individual who needs to find happiness. Finding a saving grace is hard, but the great thing about it is that it will never leave you. It’s important to have an outlet from the stress and let your mind run free for a time. Jam skating is one of the many ways people can be free for a while.