BYU senior Victoria Lopez spends 2–3 days a week at Classic Skating practicing her roller skating. However, she wasn’t always a roller skater.
Lopez was an ice skater first. When her family lived in Chicago, they decided they needed to learn how to ice skate because of the cold weather. Marie Lopez, Victoria’s mother, said Victoria was so scared of getting hurt that she ended up quitting ice skating lessons early.
“She took one year off, came back and she got it. She started learning and got her confidence,” Marie said.
When Victoria was 10 years old, a community production of Footloose needed someone who had vintage roller skates. Victoria used Marie’s skates to practice in their garage so she could get a cameo part in the play.
Even though Victoria practiced roller skating for Footloose, she didn’t “truly get into” roller skating until she moved to Provo.
“I heard the skating rink was a cool place to go to from a friend who had been at BYU a year before,” Victoria said. “So I decided to go and I brought my mom’s old roller skates from the ’80s with me.”
Victoria said when she first walked into the skating rink she was “awestruck” by how the lights looked and the music that was playing. She felt like she was in a movie. During Victoria’s freshman and sophomore year of college, she tried to make it to the skating rink once or twice a month.
“She skated so much one time that she got huge blisters all over her feet with skates. She couldn’t walk for a week,” Marie said.
In 2020, Victoria retired her roller skates to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, because of COVID-19, she returned to roller skating much quicker than she anticipated. She used a lot of her free time to practice skating with Marie.
Marie has roller skated since third grade and bought her own pair of roller skates in college. Marie said roller skating came naturally for her.
“I knew my mom was good at roller skating, but I didn’t know how good she was until I talked to her after I got into skating,” Victoria said.
Marie said she and Victoria practiced every day during quarantine. She gave Victoria all the tips she knew to help boost her confidence and Victoria picked up the new skills quickly.
“That gave her the confidence to go back to school and learn more, be courageous and try risky things. And wow, now she’s better than me!” Marie said.
Once Victoria returned to BYU, she got a membership to Classic Skating. Victoria said Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights are the normal nights she goes to practice and she said it’s a perfect time to learn from other people.
For Victoria, roller skating has been a journey of self-confidence. She said for some people, roller skating is something that people are naturally good at. For her, skating is not a natural talent.
“The cool thing about roller skating, I just continued putting in a lot of time and hours and asking people for help. It’s been cool to reach a point where I am one of the regulars,” Victoria said. “I reached the point that I am the person I used to want to be or admire, that I used to think was out of reach.”
Nathaniel Hatch, a BYU sophomore, met Victoria during their freshman year of college. When Hatch went roller skating with Victoria, “she was flying across the rink.”
“She was really good and I was not. Victoria is a super hard working and passionate person. She’s not afraid to be unique,” Hatch said.
Hatch said Victoria loves to share her passion with others. “I think it’s super cool and unique, because it’s not something that is super common. She talks about it often and you can tell how much she loves it and how it brings her joy,” he said.
Victoria said anyone who wants to learn how to skate needs to have patience with their progress, put in the work and not be afraid to ask people for help. She said comparing yourself to others more skilled than you can be easy but to remember that roller skating takes time to learn.
Even though Victoria will be graduating at the end of April and moving to Texas, she said she hopes to keep up with roller skating: Houston and Dallas are widely known for being large roller skating hubs.
“There is a skating rink 20 minutes away from where I’ll be in Dallas. I joined a Dallas Facebook roller skating group. I think I’ll keep going with it honestly,” Victoria said.