Galaxy's owner, Joyce Ritter, acknowledges that the rink uses country-western music as a tool to get rowdy clientele to settle down. But she emphasizes that Galaxy targets rule-breakers, not skaters of any particular race. "ALL Americans and Foreigners alike are welcome," she wrote in an email to New Times.

Jack is thinking about giving Galaxy another chance. After all, it's close to his home in Miramar. But he isn't crazy about all that fast music they play. The mellow and melodic tunes at Gold Coast set a slower pace. On "jam skate" night, which features new and old tunes for an all-ages crowd, we hear New Edition's "Cool It Now" and Sheila E's "The Glamorous Life," both of which scaled the pop charts in 1984.

Jack loves '80s music. It reminds him of those lighthearted days when he was a teenager, practically living at Tropical North Roller Rink in Hialeah. "I had blue vinyl skates with yellow stripes. They were like the Kmart special. For somebody with crappy skates, I did pretty good. I used to skate so hard — no water breaks! — I'd cramp up and practically have to crawl off the floor. The weekend would come, and I'd be there the whole time."

Wendi Koontz
Miguel Carver demonstrates his signature rolling split.
Photos by C. Stiles
Miguel Carver demonstrates his signature rolling split.


Click on the photo to view the Roller Jam slideshow.

After high school, Jack became a professional jai-alai player. His only night off from jai alai was Sunday, when none of the local roller rinks had adult sessions he liked. So he'd drive to a rink in Tampa. "People would think I was nuts. 'You're going where? To do what?' But if you have something that, for you, is a passion, it's worth it. Some people would go to clubs; I'd go skate. The way some people express themselves dancing, I express myself through skating."

Life sometimes interferes with skating. Jack says he's struggling to get his "legs back" after a recent absence. If he can hit the rink at least once a week, though, he thinks he can sustain the groove.

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