Article by Daniela Sechen, group photos by Alina Saratova
Thanks to the revival of HMC Skate Society, the Mudd “roller skates from hell,” as a 2019 DataMatch survey affectionately dubbed them, have made their return.
Jawahar Madan ’21 ran Skate Club in 2018 and planned to bring back the club in his senior year. Those plans fell through due to the pandemic, but last spring, Jawahar encouraged junior Amani Maina-Kilaas to take over as president.
“I was learning freeskate tricks and going to Jawahar for tips, so we would talk fairly often,” Amani said. “One day, he said that Dean Chris found some skates around campus and wanted to make sure Skate Club got them, so I should definitely talk to him when I got back.”
To help restart the club, Amani recruited juniors Trenton Wesley, who he occasionally skated with during freshman year, and Eugene Gao, who he had taught to skate over spring break. “I knew they were good riders and would be interested in helping others,” Amani said. “Also, this way, we could still skate together even if no one showed up!”
But Mudders did show up — there are 95 members on the HMC Skate Society email list, an estimated 40 to 50 people came out to skate during the club’s first four sessions, and 38 Mudders participated in the club’s bulk freeskates order from JMKRIDE, which drove the price down from $140 to $85 per pair. (Keep reading to learn more about JMKRIDE!)
“The goal of the club is pretty simple: to provide a nice and supportive community for people who want to skate. We want to facilitate their growth in whichever form of wheels they prefer, and make it easy for people to skate with others,” Amani said. “I try to take a pretty hands-on teaching approach. I’ll run alongside the beginners so they can use my arm for support, and for others, I’ll make sure to observe them and give them tips.”
Amani especially aims to reverse the “skill drain at Mudd,” where skaters graduate without passing on their knowledge to the younger classes.
To Trenton, the most rewarding part of the club is watching the new skaters improve. “It brings me mini tears of joy every time I see a member learn how to ride in a straight line or go uphill.”
Interested in learning how to ride? Join their mailing list, skate-society-l or the Discord server.
What is JMKRIDE?
Despite the daunting price tag, Amani recommends that skaters of all levels buy from JMKRIDE, since the difference in quality between a pair of JMKRIDE freeskates and a $30 pair off Amazon is “very noticeable.”
Even more, by ordering your skates from JMKRIDE, you directly support a Mudd alum! The freeskate company is co-owned by Jeff Milling ’17. After delivering Skate Society’s bulk order to campus in September, Jeff hung around to help members assemble their new skates and learn to ride.
Check out the YouTube video from JMKRIDE’s visit to campus!