Skating and rollerblading are relatively uncommon in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador. It is becoming more common thanks to one man. Matthew Meinzer, a former semi-professional hockey player, has introduced Puerto Lopez kids to the joys of skating with a kids skating club.
Kids flock to his practices and the participation level increases weekly. I have watched many girls transform from unsure on their wheels to beaming, confident skaters. The following 2:10 video is from March 9, 2018. (You can watch on YouTube here.)
With more than 10 years of coaching experience in New York City, Matthew is able to adapt practices to the skill level of the participants. Each skater receives individual tips and instruction throughout practice.
Practices often attract more than 20 girls and occasionally a boy or two.
Practicing without the professor
I took the following picture an hour and a half before practice. The girls said they were practicing on their own until Professor Matthew arrived, when organized practice would begin.
Global Roller Day
A highlight so far was participating in Global Roller Day on April 14, 2018. The afternoon was filled with laughter, wheels on pavement, and team tshirts.
It was a busy day! Sequence of activities:
- Skaters, parents, and spectators gathered at the practice rink
- Skaters received tshirts with their first official team sponsor, the Victor Hugo Hotel, printed across the front
- Team photo
- The team skated the malecon and back to the rink (they added a new team member as one girl came running out of her house, skates in hand, to join them)
- A short exhibition practice for parents and spectators, some of whom normally can’t attend practice
- Pot luck
Here is a small portion of their malecon skate (33 seconds). You can see how improved they are since the March 9 video. (You can watch on YouTube here.)
The kids loved displaying their skills during the exhibition practice in front of friends and family.
When I first began attending practices in February, a few of the skate’s wheels hardly turned (or did not turn). Some were missing ball bearings and others were misshapen. Have you ever had a shopping cart with a wheel that would not turn? It sounded like you were pushing that cart through the parking lot.
People visiting from other countries have brought ball bearings and other hard to find equipment. Matthew even melted down plastic bottle caps and forged washers from the plastic. (Why not ship them here? See my post about mail.) Kids show up early or stay late to have their equipment repaired.
Stop by or follow the kids skating club progress on Facebook
If you are in Puerto Lopez on a Tuesday night, stop by the fútbol field they use as a rink at the base of the pier to watch practice and cheer on the kids!
Follow the kids skating club progress on their Facebook page, Puerto Lopez club de patinaje, where Matthew shares photos as well as practice and event information.
Today is the first time a post on Emily in Ecuador covered two blog hops.
#AtoZChallenge and #WATWB
- X in the A to Z Challenge, where we write the alphabet every non-Sunday in April. 26 posts in 26 days. I am a second year participant and I love it. Please check out What is blogging from A to Z for more information.
- We Are the World Blogfest, spreading positive news stories from around the world on the last Friday of every month. Find out more and join this blogfest on co-founder Damyanti’s post Would You Join We Are The World Blogfest? #WATWB. Thank you to this month’s #WATWB co-hosts Shilpa Garg, Dan Antion, Simon Falk, Michelle Wallace, Mary Giese. Please check out their blogs for more positive stories!
A look back
Last year for the A to Z Challenge I wrote Xanthophobia, Xenoepist, Xyzlacatosis.