If you want to watch a game of the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup in person, tickets will set you back a minimum of $700. How about Super Bowl 52 in 2018? Plan for a road trip to Minneapolis and budget an astronomical $2,500 to $5,000 for tickets. The NBA finals? Your options range from standing-room-only tickets for $400 to VIP courtside access for a whopping $120,000.
However, the USA Roller Sports National Championships, right here in Lincoln, is a mere $10 a night.
From July 7 to Aug. 5, the best skaters in the country, many fresh from their regional championships, will gather to compete at Speedway Sporting Village, 345 Speedway Circle, here in Lincoln. The very best are hoping for a spot on the national team, which will travel to Nanjing, China, this fall for the World Roller Games.
Ricci Porter-Kmetz, sports and operations director at USA Roller Sports (USARS), grew up on roller skates. Her family owned a skating rink in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and she earned more than 20 medals, mostly in speed skating, at the national championship that she now helps organize.
“With the diversity of sports that will be here this summer, there’s something for everybody,” Porter-Kmetz said. “Slalom is art and science, and a lot of fun. If you are into the full contact with derby, or the strategy behind hockey or the high speeds, or just the artistry combined with athletic excellence of figure and dance, our events cover the full spectrum.”
Porter-Kmetz emphasized the dedication required to reach this level. She once trained six days a week, both on and off of skates. Some skaters practice both before and after school. Others get their time in at 3 or 4 in the morning because that is the only time the rink is available.
“The people at the national championships, at all ages, are high-level athletes,” Porter-Kmetz said. “People don’t realize the amount of work that goes into that. But another huge part of what we do at the home-team level is just being a family-friendly sport for all ages, all fitness levels. The whole family can do it together! That is one of the things that I love most about roller sports.”
Ricci’s picks: The best events for new fans
Roller Derby (July 7-9) – Two teams of five circle around a short track while the designated “jammers” score points by breaking through the opposition and lapping the other team. USARS Roller Derby brings its fast, athletic and fan-centric version of the sport to center stage, as the top teams in the nation compete during the sixth annual national championship, looking to take home the Seltzer Cup.
Inline Freestyle, Formerly called “Slalom” (July 10-13) – Skaters race, slide, jump or present tricks with incredible precision and creativity.
Speed (July 15-22) – Skaters regularly reach up to 30 miles an hour and all ages compete. The best night is Sprint Night, where the distances are short and the speeds are fast.
Rink Hockey (July 15-22) – None of the ice and all of the excitement. Rink hockey is a non-contact skill sport played with a stick and a ball.
Figure (July 23-August 5) – Of the eight categories of figure skating, try Dance, Free Skating and Pairs. (The Figures subcategory of figure skating consists of adherence to a painted line doing a series of edges and/or turns, which isn’t much fun to watch unless you know the nuances of the competition.)
When to go
Schedules will be posted on http://www.teamusa.org/usa-roller-sports/events as the regional championships are decided. Tentative schedules are already available.