Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Washington Area Roadskaters . Wednesday Night Skate

For many years, at least, since 1992 one of my many ongoing sports photography themes has been Roller Hockey in front of the White House. An interesting note that I should make, and one that my friends know, about me, is that I am really not into sports or non of that competative stuff. However, I am into photography, and as such, sportsman in action, like men at work or skateboarders are amongst my ongoing documentary projects.

Some months back I would learn from one of the White House roller hockey players of the Washington Area Roadskaters which many of the White House Roller Hockey Players are members of.

The Washington Area Roadskaters ("WAR") is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote safe and enjoyable in-line skating in the Washington, D.C. area. One of the oldest in-line skate clubs on the east coast, WAR was founded in 1987 and has had thousands of men and women join its ranks.

WAR is also a social organization where many strong and lasting friendships are formed. It's members have very diverse career, social, and educational backgrounds who all share a passion for in-line skating. If you are new to the area, and are seeking a new form of exercise, or are simply looking to meet new and interesting people, you are encouraged to try one of their group skates, where you'll meet others, and see D.C. in a whole new way.

Every Wednesday night, year-round, members of WAR meet in front of the White House, by 6:45 pm for a 7pm step-off, weather permitting.

The Wednesday Night Skate meets on Pennsylvania Ave in front of The White House. This skate is moderatly fast. It varies depending on a variety of factors, but a skater should be able to maintain a moderatly fast pace of 10-15 miles per hour. Because of Washington's moderately hilly terrain, one should have mastered at least two kinds of braking (e.g., heel braking, T-stopping, power slides, snowplowing, etc.) and be able to brake on a hill of at least 30-degrees before participating. Some skates will go down very long, windy hills with leading skaters reaching speeds of 30 mph or more.

Manueverability on hills and control at all times is very important as the skate travels on roadways which contain innumerable hazards, such as cars, bad pavement, pedestrians and other skaters. The ability to stop or avoid obstacles is critical to the ability to skate on Wed Nights.

Fun is what you can expect from the Wed night skate. If you are an advanced skater, you will enjoy skating with DC's regulars (and fair-weather regulars) in the advanced skater scene. The Wed night skate is the most popular weekly event, with a diverse medely of routes selected by devoted skate leaders every week. Boisterious conversation and rascious laughter can break out at any rest stop or apres-skating destination.

I may very well stop by The White House this evening. Not to skate, of course, but to capture the sportsman in action, just before step-off. And while there, it would afford me the perfect opportunity to visit with Diane Wilson and the others folks holding vigil at the Troops Home Fast Hunger Strike.

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