Howard Magazine - Page 36 - Still Rolling

Howard Magazine
- Page 36
Still Rolling

By Mike Klingaman Howard Magazine

 

By day, Lisa Rosado works as an elementary school principal. Come evening, the Ellicott City resident harks back to her own youth, lacing up her roller skates and gliding gracefully around a maple rink in Laurel as organ music booms from ceiling speakers.

 

“Skating is a good way for me to decompress,” said Rosado, 39. “It keeps me grounded. It’s my outlet so that when I go to work, I’m happy.”

 

At 56, Megan Larko has weathered the good-natured jibes about her passion for roller skating. “I’ll hear ‘Grow up’ or ‘You’re how old and you do this?’ ” said Larko, of Laurel. Her response?

 

“I’m not dead yet — and it’s a lot of fun out there.” Moreover, there are trophies to be won. Competitive skaters both, Rosado and Larko have medaled in roller figure skating in national events. A technical whiz, Rosado’s forte is tracing, with her skates, a series of circles painted on the floor, while the free-wheeling Larko excels at the flashier jumps and spins.

 

And you thought roller skating was just sidewalk folly for 5-year-olds.

 

All told, 15 skaters of both sexes, ranging in age from 8 to 80, train at the Laurel Roller Skating Center under the four coaches there. Nationally, there are 2,500 competitive figure roller skaters, of whom 60 percent are female and half are over the age of 18, said Eric Steele, executive director of USA Roller Sports. All compete in age groups.

 

Both Rosado and Larko train with Ron Fitzgerald, 81, of Jessup, a world-class skater 60 years ago and a member of the U.S. Amateur Roller Skating Association Coaches Hall of Fame. All are hooked on a low-profile sport whose popularity peaked in the mid-1900s. Despite its similarity to ice skating — or, perhaps, because of it — roller skating has never crashed the Olympics, or put one of its own on a Wheaties box.

 

More’s the pity, said Rosado, who practices twice a week at Laurel.

 

“You’re working your arms, legs and abs, tightening your glutes and burning calories all the time,” she said. “When you wake up the next day, you really feel it.”

 

Last year, her first as principal of Savoy Elementary in Southeast Washington, Rosado greeted students and their parents on back-to-school night while wearing her skates.

 

“I did some turns, a few circles and spins, and skated down the halls. The kids were laughing hysterically and cheering me on,” she said. “It was a nice way to break the ice — and they got to see me as a person.”

 

Among the 70 medals hanging in Rosado’s den is the silver she won in figure skating at the 2016 USA Roller Sports National Championships in Lincoln, Neb. Her goal? Get the gold.

 

“Every little girl wants to win the nationals,” she said. “I dream about skating; I go to bed with dance routines playing in my head. My skates [$300 to $500 a pair] are my babies. When I’m out there competing, I’m tapping into my childhood. It’s the little girl dream of putting on a pretty dress, wearing makeup and feeling feel free and graceful, like a dancing ballerina.”

 

Though she toyed with roller skating as a child, Rosado was 33 when she gave it her all. “When my two kids were young, they went ice skating while I sat and watched,” she said. “Now, I roller skate and they come to see.”

 

Married 22 years, she said her husband is “my biggest supporter. Plus, he zippers up my outfits.” That wardrobe includes a half-dozen sequined