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What it's like to be a skate guard at Funway

Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST
Caption
(Mary Beth Nolan for Shaw Media)
Chris Carroll works as a DJ and skate guard at Funway in Batavia.

BATAVIA – As Top 40 pop music pulsated in the background, Chris Carroll skated to the middle of the roller skating rink at Funway Ultimate Entertainment Center, which was filled with youngsters enjoying the afternoon.

As a skate guard at Funway, it is Carroll’s job to ensure safety on the rink, and to help anyone who needs an extra hand.

A few minutes later, Carroll reached his hand out to a youngster who had taken a tumble. He then took another spin around the rink to make sure no one else needed help.

Sure enough, his help was required again. He spotted a youngster whose skate had fallen off, and quickly helped him put it back on. It’s all in a day’s work.

“It’s never dull, unless you only have two people out on the rink,” Carroll said. “You have to constantly pay attention. You are constantly watching everybody.”

And while he tries to help as many people as he can, sometimes that’s just not possible.

“A woman once twisted her ankle after falling down,” Carroll said. “I had tried to help her, but I’m not Superman. I try to save everybody I can.”

His efforts have not gone unnoticed. Jodi Foland, a manager at Funway, said Carroll is “an excellent skater.”

“He started out as a mascot and worked his way up to being a guard and DJ,” Foland said. “He really loves his job, and that shows. He is on a first-name basis with a lot of our regulars. He’s definitely one of our best.”

Carroll, 19, of Batavia, has been a skating guard at Funway since 2011. The job is fitting because he learned how to skate at Funway.

“I’ve been going here since I was 9,” he said. “I loved going here as a kid, and I thought it would be a good job to have.”

For Carroll, skating was a natural fit, and being a strong skater is a necessary part of the job.

He is able to show off some of his skills as he weaves around the rink, pivoting effortlessly as he scans the scene.

“I love being out on the floor,” Carroll said. “You have to be a good skater. I’ve played two years of hockey and skating since I was 9.”

In his job, Carroll wears a referee shirt, an appropriate form of dress because he is also required to make sure people are abiding by the rules while skating. One rule that he strictly enforces is the no-hat policy.

“You’re not supposed to wear hats because they could fall off and become a tripping hazard,” he said.

Besides helping others who find themselves in trouble on the rink, Carroll also doles out advice to make them better skaters.

“I tell them never to lean back when they are skating,” he said. “I’ll show them how to skate out, and to take their time, and not go too fast.”

Carroll said he loves his job at Funway.

“It all pretty much started for me right here,” he said.

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