Saturday, May 16, 2009

In-Line Skating Meet-up

In researching some inline skating info, I recently stumbled across a web-based "social facilitator" called www.Meetup.Com It's organized to connect people of similar interests and provide venues and opportunities for their mutual pursuit. Because my particular interest did not have an organized group, I quickly and easily became the organizer. The following is a description of our first meet.

Meetup 1 – Was it “Worth the Drive to Acton?”

Our inaugural meet up saw an intrepid trio cruise the burbs of Acton last evening. Many thanks are extended to Paul and Diane who ventured out. These meetings are essentially leaps of faith. Without knowing each other above the scant bio details in our profiles we hope and trust that the one common element that brought us together will help us to “gel” and ensure the event’s success. While I don’t think that any of us will be re-writing our wills I can certainly state that it was a fun evening!

We all met at the appointed spot at about 6:50, made our tentative intros and skated nearby for about 20 minutes while we waited for Anne-Marie who did not make it (but will next time, right?) We skated on the wide, smooth streets of Acton’s new subdivisions. There was very little traffic to contend with – Acton “rolls up the sidewalks” at about dinner time! I warned Paul and Diane that the sight of 3 skaters of “mature years” rolling down the streets together might draw a few raised eyebrows but even I was surprised when one younger man laughed and shouted out, “where’s my camera when I need it!”

In what was the first or second skate for all 3 of us, we put in a solid hour without calamity! I think that’s an excellent start to the season. A comfortable cruising speed allowed for some exploratory conversation during which we discovered additional common interests – Diane and I are both avid gardeners, Paul and I are both sailors and, obviously, all 3 of us like to enjoy active, healthy lifestyles. On one particular street a good hill provided a challenge to our skate as we tested our stamina on the way up and practiced our “decent techniques” on the way down – a successful exercise that didn’t require opening the first aid kit!

With our skate over, we decided to head “downtown” (Actonites actually refer to it as such!) We had hoped for a meander through the Old Hyde House but it was closed at the time (Acton – surprise? I think not!) Instead, we went for a “cool down” walk around the track of Acton’s very picturesque lakeside park – the sight of its annual Fall Fair in mid-September (small plug for the home town!) After only one lap of the track though, my growing thirst put an end to the sight-seeing excursion.

We bestowed our patronage on “Tanner’s Restaurant” (it’s all about the leather in this berg). There, we settled in with our “assorted libations” and a few less healthy offerings from the kitchen and furthered our acquaintance. We were joined by some local colour in the persons of Janis and Arlene. Arlene has become a group member with the intention of taking up the sport. “Good for you, Arlene.” I did that with skiing many moons ago and it worked out beautifully. Although the feminine presence might have been a tad too dominant, Paul bore it gracefully and did not seem to mind – AT ALL!

Now, Diane is from Brampton, Paul is from Etobicoke and I am from Acton. Do you think that there could be an underlying connection besides our mutual sporting interest? Do you think that this world is so vast and diverse that there is but a miniscule possibility of encountering deeper similarities? Under normal circumstances, perhaps not but the proverbial “beans” were spilled after a couple of the previously-mentioned libations were consumed and it came out that we are all members (to various extents of commitment and lapse) of the “subversive sect of seven sibling, Catholic families!” Paul even attends the church where Janis and I worshipped/were dragged to as children! When I found that out I was torn between an urge to clasp hands in a circle of solidarity for a resounding chorus of “koom-by-yah” or run straight to the Casino and put my money on the “Lucky 7”!

Sitting here with my coffee on the morning after, dignity in tact, I can happily report that I did neither! At one point in my life I would describe a good day as one in which nothing bad happened. My standards are considerably higher now and last night’s meeting; my very first experience with www.Meetup.Com , did not disappoint:) As the weather warms up I hope more and more “groupees” will find their way to our meetups!