The 1996 Skate Against Domestic Violence
What follows is a representation of what happened on the 1996 Skate Against
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Domestic violence isn't an issue. Domestic violence is a life experience.
Some families life experience includes physical violence, emotional violence
or both. It is surely most horrible for the children.
Talking about domestic violence isn't like living it. A beating teaches only
the horror of love turned into pain. It doesn't teach anything about why.
To understand why you have to observe the patterns which lead to domestic
violence. To observe these patterns you have to be present in a threatening,
psychologically and emotionally challenging situation. You have to
experience your own personal limits being broken again and again at the
same time as people you are depending on are having their limits broken.
Then you have to keep your wits about you and look at what is happening
to see what the patterns are.
Seventeen women accepted the challenge and the risk of having their limits
tested in order to raise awareness of domestic violence. They prepared for
and skated a 700-mile in-line skating relay marathon from San Francisco to
San Diego in just four days and three nights. Their goal was to
raise funds for the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium.
They lived through an
experience which would show them all how domestic violence
even though no violence actually occurred on the trip. People's limits
were exceeded though and it was enlightening for all.
The Roller Divas, a women's skating club in San Francisco, worked with
Southern California Rollerskating / In-Line Promotions (SCRIP) to produce
the event. SCRIP had promises of support and sponsorship from a primary
source, the "Friends of Russell Lattimer Foundation", to provide
fundraising services for the event. SCRIP was responsible for coordinating
the event, renting and driving the RVs, providing food and arranging for
media events along the way. The Roller Divas were responsible for supplying
skaters and training them for the marathon event. They were to be "treated
In fact, neither SCRIP nor the "Friends of Russell Lattimer Foundation"
raised any money at
all and a few weeks before the event was to begin no money was available
to pay for anything. The Roller Divas could have simply given up, but they
had committed themselves to the skate and they began actively fundraising.
They raised in two weeks about enough to cover half the $3200
budget for the event. However,
the funds were available so late in the process of preparation that some
necessary items were not purchased before the event. There wasn't enough
food and what was provided was not suitable for marathon athletes. There
was no CB radio in one of the recreational vehicles which provided support
even though I had personally purchased one for the RV that I would be driving.
The funds (contribution checks) were turned over to SCRIP but were not
accessible easily because there was no ATM card for the account and the
SCRIP organizers didn't have cash with them because the checks had not
cleared before the trip began. They also had no credit cards. As a
result, personal cash contributions were required during the trip to pay
for gasoline and other incidental costs until the SCRIP
organizers could visit a bank during business hours somewhere during
the event. The lack of money made a very difficult event just that
much harder and more frustrating to the Roller Divas who had worked
hard raising those funds even though it had never been part of the
original plans for the event.
Everyone involved with the event from San Francisco was relieved when the
two RVs showed up at Justin Herman Plaza about an hour before speakers would
begin the event with information on domestic violence and the skate to
San Diego. Before and during the presentations of the speakers the skaters
handed out informational cards to the crowd which read:
Skate Against Domestic Violence
Every 9 seconds a woman is battered in the US.
S.F. to San Diego -- 700 Miles
30% of all homicide victims in the US are victims
of domestic violence.
An estimated 23% of women seeking prenatal care
in CA are battered.
There are three times as many animal shelters as
shelters for battered women.
If you are being abused at home:|
for the domestic violence program near you.
To sponsor skaters: Roller Divas, Anna Stubbs (415) 664-4957
For more info: SCRIP, David Freeman (619) 229-1166 firstname.lastname@example.org
After the speakers, the event began when all the women skated out of Justin
Herman Plaza, along Stuart, and then down Mission. After a few miles,
all the skaters but the first team got back into the RV to wait for their
team's turn to skate. There were five teams. Each team skated for an hour
and then had four hours off to recover.
Spirits were high in my RV as we listened to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the
Moon, watched a team of skaters in graceful motion ahead, and felt relieved
that the weeks of intensive preparation were finally over and the event
had begun. The skaters took their shifts and settled into the RVs wondering
what the next few days would bring.
Before the first rotation of teams was completed there was a dispute over
how many teams there were supposed to be. The Roller Divas had four teams
and there was a team from San Diego as well. The SCRIP organizers had
wanted four teams total. The misunderstanding created friction: SCRIP
suggested reorganizing the teams to have only four, but the Roller Divas
had trained together in teams and wanted to remain so. It would have been
more of a sore point if people didn't mock the conflict with humor later.
The skating was glorious. Hour after hour teams of women took the road in
a rolling, coordinated wave of motion that captured the eyes of anyone who
saw. Rolling past a school in the central valley drew a crowd of cheering
children to the fence to watch the skaters. They clenched their fingers in
the fence. They were old enough to read the signs on our RVs and realize
that these women were skating from San Francisco to San Diego. I think
somewhere in that crowd at least one little girl was realizing that she
could do that too if she wanted.
The teams skated past cotton fields and corn fields and sheep fields and
oil fields and town fields and home fields with kids playing baseball. They
skated in daylight and midnight on good pavement and bad, on narrow shoulders
and on roads strewn with gravel. They skated and skated and then tried to
sleep, but sleeping is hard in the jostling RV with the voices of friends
and the noise of the passing cars and the wildly flapping banners tied to
the sides of the RVs.
We had to drive on highway 198 to Coalinga after the highway patrol stopped
the skate at 4:30 am for traveling too slowly on a two-lane road which
doesn't permit passing. The officers were very polite and sympathetic with
the domestic violence cause, but they refused to accept the SCRIP organizers'
word that their skate had been approved along the entire route. They had no
documentation to prove the route had been sanctioned for the event.
After hours more skating we stopped at a truck stop in Buttonwillow. We
filled the fuel tanks of the RVs and emptied their septic tanks. All the
women shared a single shower room with only five towels, but the showers
refreshed everyone. Then the skaters got on the road and the other RV
took off to follow them. One of the women in my RV checked the fluid levels
and found that our RV had no potable water (which is used for cooking and
for flushing the toilet). We quickly decided to spend a few minutes to fill
the potable water tank even though we would have to catch up to the skaters
as a result. I was amazed at the spontaneous and effective team work I
observed. One woman jumped out to ask where the potable water was. Another
jumped out to help me back the RV out of its position. I drove to where
the first woman directed and someone else jumped out to get the water hose
into position. Within minutes the RV was full of potable water and we were
on the road. A few minutes later we caught up with the other RV and the
Suddenly, someone inside my RV shouted that the toilet was overflowing.
I honked repeatedly at the other RV to get them to stop but they did not
hear. I stopped the RV and ran back to check out the scene. I examined
the flodding toilet and realized that it had
been left in "flush" mode after the septic tanks had been drained and rinsed
out, and that
the fresh, potable water had been cycled into the septic tank, filling it
completely. I first took the toilet out of its perpetual flush mode and
turned off the water pump as well. But the toilet was full of water and the
floor was soaked. Two women jumped to the task of
removing the excess
water using a towel (I sacrificed my only towel). They wore surgical gloves
which the SCRIP organizers had thoughtfully placed on our RV for use while
dealing with the
septic system. Everyone was glad we had gloves because while the water was
no longer potable even if it wasn't full of raw sewage.
We couldn't drive without spilling the water that was already in the toilet
so I went outside and opened the septic flush valve briefly to evacuate a few
gallons of water. The trucks and cars were whizzing by within a foot of me
as I stood next to the RV on the side of the road. I closed the valve and
ran back into the RV where I flushed the toilet. To the relief of everyone
there was room in the tank and it flushed. Unfortunately almost all of our
fresh water was gone and the septic tank was full again. There was no time
to go back to the truck stop, so we pressed on without water or a functional
toilet. We were all very thankful that the water that entered the RV from
the toilet was clean. It would have been a horrible trip if raw sewage had
entered the RV. We were all very frustrated to discovered that our cellular
phone could not reach the cellular phone in the other RV, so we could not
contact them. We caught up with them at the next point where teams traded
off. We were glad we'd avoided a much more serious disaster.
The skate then proceeded down the central valley and we all stopped in
Bakersfield for supplies and to service the RVs. Wherever we went we
told people about what we were doing and why. Most people were astonished,
but the farther along in our trip the more astonished they were. In
Bakersfield people were still just amazed. The woman who ran the RV park
we stopped at in Bakersfield was so impressed and pleased with our cause
that she invited everyone to stop at her park next year for a big Mexican
dinner! People fell in love with the skaters and their cause wherever
they went because they were strong, heroic women standing up to a
Later, on another road, we were stopped by the highway patrol again. They
stopped the RV that was following the skaters and I pulled the other RV
off the road ahead. I could see the officers speaking with the SCRIP
organizers driving the other RV. After about 10 minutes the officer
drove forward to speak with us. At first he said "I'm afraid I'm going
to have to shut you down." I kind of expected that and replied "Yea,
we know." Then he smiled and said, "Unless you all sign this here." He
held out one of the contact sheets with the head-shots of the skaters.
It already bore the autographs of all the skaters in the first RV.
He smiled widely as we all realized he just wanted the autographs. He'd
helped the other RV play a prank on us. It was all taken in good fun
and the skate continued.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
After Bakersfield we proceeded toward the mountains that separate the
central valley from the L.A. basin. The city of the Angels lay on the other
side of a four thousand foot climb which would happen at night, as fate
would have it. The temperature dropped and the wind picked up. We skated
along a four-lane divided highway up into the mountains and the conditions
got harder and harder. I could see the mist blowing sideways through the
windows. The skaters were all very tired from two days of skating and
waiting. Less than two miles from the summit the highway patrol stopped
the RVs and demanded that the skaters get in them and ride. It was
anticlimactic to be robbed of reaching the summit after hours of climbing
which saw a full shift by each of the teams.
At the top the skate continued again, past a town called Tehachapi, and
onto a two-lane road with a howling, 50 mile-per-hour tailwind.
The skaters came over a crest and found themselves on a steep down hill.
The tailwind thrust them forward and suddenly it was impossible to stop.
Two semi trucks sped toward the skaters from ahead. There were three women
on the hill: Amy Rasmussen, Patricia Romero and Heidi Zimmerman. Amy
tucked and began to skate the hill -- her speed rose quickly and she shot
toward the front RV. Heidi was out of control and began to call out for
help. The driver of the rear RV instinctively wanted to remain behind
her to provide light and to be sure not to hit her if she fell, but she
yelled for the RV to maneuver toward her so she could try to grab it.
Patricia Romero was between the RVs and saw the oncoming semis. She decided
to take a controlled fall. She crouched down and rolled forward at about
30 miles per hour on the downhill road. Despite the fact she had no knee
or elbow pads. Pat knows how to fall and she emerged from the maneuver
with only two tiny scrapes on her knees. She quickly dragged herself off
the road because her legs were trembling and shaky.
Five people screamed five different things at the driver of the RV, but
Heidi wanted the RV to come closer and that's what was done. She tried to
grab the RV but fell in the process. To the complete horror of everyone
inside and outside, the RV ran over her legs. The sound, the unmistakable
double bump, the fact that it was someone you knew and had skated with
for days: this was not a movie and everyone was in shock. People screamed
for the RV to stop, and it did. The front RV stopped too because it
wasn't clear which was being asked to stop. Amy Rasmussen shot past at
over 40 miles-per-hour into the darkness beyond the lights of the front RV.
She looked stable and under control before she disappeared from view.
The trucks passed. Pat Romero struggled her way back up the hill, into the
wind to reach the rear RV. People from the front RV ran back to the
scene of the accident where Heidi lay on the ground motionless but
conscious. Everyone from the first RV was surrounding her and bringing
sleeping bags and blankets to keep her warm in the freezing wind. Amy
Rasmussen had begun to skate back up the hill to rejoin everyone, and
was picked up a few minutes later by the front RV. She had
not fallen but had taken a terrifying high-speed skate in midnight darkness
on an unknown road. It was about 1:30 am in the middle of the mountains,
more than 10 miles from any town.
Everyone came together to help Heidi. One of the San Diego skaters was
a registered nurse and she determined that there was no neck or spine
injury. Heidi was carefully moved onto a sleeping bag and then people
carried the bag and her into the RV. As the RVs were turning around
a fire truck, ambulance highway patrol officer arrived on the scene.
They were waved off and the RVs drove back to Tehachapi where there was
a 24-hour emergency hospital. On the way Heidi talked with people and
explained to them that the RV had run over her calves and knees. She
had some blood on her legs and was in shock, but she didn't seem to be
in excruciating pain.
We waited in the emergency room in Tehachapi from about 2:00 am until after
3:00 am while an X-ray technician drove there to help Heidi. The doctor
could probably have operated the X-ray machine but chose to wait instead.
Everyone else was in their own states of shock and we consoled each other
and hoped Heidi would come through this as best as possible. I mentioned
to people that Heidi's chances were very good because the RV was traveling
downhill very fast at the point it rolled over her legs. That meant she was
not exposed to the full weight of the RV (only a component of the force was
"down" because of the slope), and the exposure was for a very brief time.
Also, the calves are probably one of the best places to take the wheels
compared to all other parts of her body, and after skating for three days
Heidi's calves were like steel.
The X-rays showed no broken bones. The doctor was very uncooperative,
seeming to be too annoyed or busy to be bothered to show Heidi's X-rays to
her or even explain how she should take care of herself after the injury.
Before she left she shouted at the doctor,:
You are the
worst doctor I have ever had in my entire life!
The lack of emotion in his face made it
seem to those who saw that he had probably heard those words more than once
in the past.
Heidi "Roadkill" Zimmerman (as she was affectionately called thereafter) was
helped out of the emergency hospital and
over to her RV at about 3:30 am. While people debated briefly how to carry
her up the steps into the RV she simply walked up them under her own power.
She remained positive-minded throughout the entire ordeal. Nothing was
more joyous than finding out Heidi was going to be OK. She had a bruise
and a clear imprint of the the tires across the back of her legs. Her
knees had been protected by the knee-pads she was wearing.
We all slept the rest of the night and the next day we met in a restaurant
to talk about what happened, revel in the good fortune that Heidi survived
what could easily have been a life-altering or life-ending experience. We
talked it out and people's spirits rose. Patt Romero showed everyone how
she performed her controlled fall maneuver and everyone watched in rapt
attention. It was great to see people laughing again. The night's sleep
and the large breakfast recharged people's energy reserves and helped to
relieve the feelings of shock from the night before.
Then Anna Stubbs, who coordinated the Roller Divas participation,
called a meeting for the skaters, exclusive of everyone else. They
decided amongst themselves what their conditions were for continuing the
skate. They demanded that the SCRIP organizers withdraw money from their
accounts to pay back the personal contributions which had covered
gasoline and other expenses. They demanded that it be confirmed that the
airline tickets which would bring them all back to San Francisco were
paid for and collected from the travel agency that booked them. They
demanded that SCRIP purchase a CB radio so the RVs could communicate
without relying on cellular phones. Up until that point every time one
RV needed to contact another cellular phones were used. Unfortunately,
we were never able to get the phones to work in the Bakersfield area,
which included Tehachapi and the site of Heidi's accident. Thus we were
completely without inter-RV communication during the most critical moments
of the skate.
There was little debate once the skaters had made up their collective minds
because the event was over if the conditions were not met.
Take a moment now to consider the parallels with domestic violence. The
skaters had reached their tolerance limits with the SCRIP organizers who
had actually assured the skaters that the entire route was flat.
The skaters were
furious at the sequence of let-downs which turned an event where they were
only supposed to skate into one which they had to take control for their
own-well being. The SCRIP organizers were also frustrated because they
had been powerless without liquid funds to make the trip what they had
However, instead of the women backing down or playing a passive role, they
laid down the law. They clearly stated their condition for continuation
and were ready to end the event if the conditions were not met.
This is exactly what
a person needs to do in an abusive situation. They have to insist on
the conditions that lead to their safety and well-being, and if they cannot
be met they must leave the situation.
They cannot back down and simply
accept what happens to them. They have to be willing to risk losing something
they might love in order to protect themselves. Individuals tried to excuse
the SCRIP organizers because their hearts were in the right place even if
promises had fallen through. But that plays into the domestic violence
cycle because it doesn't create an incentive to avoid future incidents.
Instead it sends the message that abuse will be accommodated. To be fair,
the SCRIP organizers were not abusing the women. But the pattern of
offense and forgiveness is similar. This was different though and the women
broke that pattern. They insisted on accountability.
These women wanted nothing
more than to finish the skate; however, they were unified in their stand that
the conditions be met or the event was over.
The conditions were met and the event proceeded.
All I Wanna Do Is Have Some Fun
We drove in the RVs through the worst part of the mountains and then the
skating resumed. The skating continued all the way into Santa Monica and
people's spirits were elevated now that they were skating again. Heidi
acted as navigator for her RV and her voice on the CB was a constant
reminder of how lucky we were to still have her with us. When we got to
Santa Monica early in the morning it was determined that one of the RVs had
a serious problem with its brakes. We decided to sleep in Santa Monica
for the rest of the night and contact the RV rental company in the morning.
One of the SCRIP organizers took the opportunity to purchase 18 beers
despite the fact that the event
had been defined as drug and alcohol free. Several of the women complained
but it was too late. Something had been destroyed with the act of
consuming the alcohol. The person who drank the beers drove the RV over a
curb on the way to a parking lot three blocks away where we would spend
the night. They had said it was their right to drink if they wanted to
as long as they were under the legal limit.
Until the Sun Comes Up Over Santa Monica Boulevard
The alcohol incident did more than annoy the skaters -- it divided them.
Some of the women didn't mind about the alcohol and thought the other women
were making a big deal about nothing. Then the skaters who were opposed to
the alcohol had hard feelings back toward those who didn't. It was about
3:00 am and everyone was very tired in every way. The incident polarized
everyone in the event, dividing people based on whether they were willing to
complete the event without alcohol. The skaters' lack of unity prevented
them from asserting their rights. Some of the sakters were simply too tired
to try to hold people accountable for what had been previously agreed: that
the event was to be drug and alcohol free.
Many of the women were very disappointed, but they didn't give up.
The next day people took showers at a public shower facility. They passed
out Stoker bars (BTU Stoker was one of the sponsors and provided cases of
free bars). They handed out flyers with information on domestic violence
and connected with men who were in awe of these incredible women who had
skated hundreds of miles to give them a message. The women handed out
stoker bars and information cards to young boys who had gathered to play
soccer. They asked the boys to repeat "hitting is not OK" before they
received their Stoker bars.
Meanwhile the SCRIP organizers contacted the RV rental company which
agreed to provide a new RV for use in the rest of the event. All the
equipment was loaded into the one operational RV and after a breakfast
the skate resumed with almost all skaters on the road. Now the route
followed the Pacific Ocean on a beach pathway. The RV could not follow
that route and made its way on city streets to a series of meeting points
along the route. At each new meeting point some skaters would return to
the RV and others would begin skating, but it wasn't based on teams. People
skated when they wanted.
That night, after many hours of skating, the replacement RV finally caught
up with us
to the joy of everyone. The new RV was bigger and more luxurious than either
of the other two had been. Half the women transferred their belongings over
to the new RV and the skate continued with the original teams taking shifts
The women skated shift after shift after shift and San Diego loomed closer.
Many of the women had sustained injuries during the course of the event.
Not only were the road conditions extreme at times, walking around inside
a moving RV entitles one to an assortment of bumps and bruises. The women
draft in tight formation while skating and there was one incident where
a pile-up occurred. One woman received a minor concussion during that
pile-up, but all other skaters with injuries (except Heidi) continued
skating anyway. There were several women who suffered no injuries from
the road (but nobody was really safe from jostling within the RV).
They were all sore and tired from skating so
much and sleeping poorly. They were emotionally stressed out over the
incidents that had occurred, as well as many smaller confrontations I haven't
written about in order to keep this account as short as possible.
You learn a lot about someone when they reach their limits. Some people
become passive and give up their power. Some people internalize their
anger and frustration. This is dangerous because it invalidates one's
own feelings. A person who internalizes these negative feelings feeds
into the domestic violence cycle by convincing themselves that they deserved
what they got or aren't entitled to better treatment. Young women
learn not to express their discontent when they are only given positive
feedback when they are a "quiet, good little girls". It is healthier to
express negative feelings than to try to dissipate them internally.
If it isn't
physically safe to express them, then there is no good reason to stay with
the person making it unsafe. Get a clue! Staying with them invites
Some people become angry or abusive when their limits are exceeded. They
have no right to do so but they do anyway because they believe
self-control is beyond them, is inconvenient, or isn't as enjoyable.
It is impossible to break their pattern of anger until they believe it is
worth their effort to change their behavior. It's worth their while when
the unacceptable behavior affects them negatively as well. This is why it
is so important for
people to stand firm when asserting their right not to be abused, and why
it is critical that perpetrators of domestic violence be punished under
the law so that there is a real deterrent. Police are part of the
executive branch of government, not the judicial branch.
It is absolutely not their prerogative to choose which incidents to
investigate based on how many of those incidents come to trial. They must
agressivly pursue reports of domestic violence without regard to whether
the case might come to trial. The other side of that coin is that people
who report being battered must not drop charges of abuse simply because
their batterer is being nice for a while. Once the batterer is released
from the legal system they will repeat the pattern of abuse, having learned
in no uncertain terms that they can get away with it again. It must become
worth their while to change and only their own salvation means enough to
them to motivate them. It is, after all, more painful to take the abuse
time and again than to stand tough in a criminal proceeding and not give
up the charges.
Some people retain a sense of control even if their heart rate doubles.
I was impressed that these women remained engaged and in control of
themselves. When the pavement was unsafe they returned to the RV until it
was safe again. Time and again they had the chance to buckle under but
they remained resolute and more determined than ever to complete what they
had undertaken what seemed like months before but was in reality only a
I was also impressed with the SCRIP organizers who were never violent and
even when angry were still struggling to communicate. They had certainly
not planned for the event to go as it had, although there could be no denying
that they had not followed through on most of their promises regardless of
There were many differences of opinion and
misunderstandings, but there were also a few uncivil interactions. There
was clearly a power struggle occurring between the Roller Divas and the
SCRIP coordinators. Despite everything that occurred, the SCRIP organizers
remained committed to completing the event.
The skate continued and people's spirits rose again with each mile that
passed. Suddenly there was only 78 miles to go to reach San Diego. The
shifts continued through the night and into the morning. At about 9:00 am
there were about 12 miles to go and almost all the skaters got out to skate.
There were only two skaters not on the road -- one with a minor concussion
from a fall, and one who had come down with food poisoning the night before.
Among the skaters on the road was one woman who had ruptured her hamstring
only days before the event but chose to go along for support anyway. At
10:00 am there were only about two miles remaining and Heidi "Roadkill"
Zimmerman strapped on her skates and skated to the end with everyone else.
Now all skaters were on the road and they followed one another in a flowing
line into Balboa Park and to the conclusion of the skate. There was no
press, no media events. Someone said they had heard something on the radio
but it could only have been pre-recorded because nobody was interviewed
during the event.
Then there were tears and laughter and hugs and hoots and many, many
photographs were taken of smiling, tired, but not beaten people. The
skaters were given their plane tickets and certificates acknowledging
their participation in the skate. Then everyone packed up and was dropped
off at the San Diego Airport a few miles away. By 4:30 pm on Sunday 11/17
the skaters who didn't live in Southern California were back in
Everyone got a taste of how it feels to be in conflict with those
upon whom you depend when something that matters is in jeopardy. Many
people were angry enough at various points to be violent themselves, but
all of them showed restraint. The women came through it all stronger and
more confident that if they could succeed here they could succeed elsewhere
too. The SCRIP organizers had their event even though many of the promises
and committments they had made were not realized. There certainly would not
have been a 1996 Skate Against Domestic Violence without the original vision
and planning of the SCRIP organizers and later the sudden and
intense support of the Roller Divas. After the event was over
the SCRIP organizers would have to clean and return the RVs, one of which
had been damaged
in a minor accident with a classic Thunderbird in Tehachapi the morning after
the Heidi was injured.
One of the organizers would end up having a "point" on their driving record
as a result even though they were not the person driving at the time. The
event hadn't gone as anyone had hoped. Instead of the focus being on
skating and raising awareness of domestic violence in others, it was
about living an experience which echoed the patterns of domestic violence
and having that awareness raised in ourselves. Thankfully, it was not about
mourning the loss of a remarkable woman, Heidi Zimmerman.
These women completed something incredible despite everything that went
wrong and they stood tough when it mattered without losing perspective.
It is easy to be proud of heroines like these. I'm grateful I could share
this experience with them and offer my support. I know they will never
forget those few days and neither will I. I know the momentum of skating
700 miles together will stay with these women as they continue their
mission to raise awareness of and reduce instances of domestic violence.
If they can do something like this, then the sky is the limit on what they
It is important to recognize that only a few of the women have ever
competed professionally in in-line skating. The rest were skaters
from all walks of life ranging in ages from 25 to 50. One of the skaters
was a grandmother.
I have certainly left out many details of both positive and negative events,
but I've tried to write about the whole event fairly and accurately. I
understood how the skaters felt at many points because I completed a skate
from S.F. to L.A. only a few weeks earlier in the 1996 CORA Skate Against
This entire write-up of the event is dedicated to Heidi Zimmerman.
Nothing in recent memory has
made me feel better than watching her climb under her own power into the RV
that only a few hours earlier had run over her legs. She demonstrated a kind
of indomitable strength that I shall always admire, which was perhaps
matched but not exceeded by the rest of the women in the event.
Do you realize that these women skated as a team across about 700 miles of
California backroads from San Francisco to San Diego? What are you going
to try to tell them they cannot accomplish? I can only imagine what comes
Written with love and admiration for these modern heroines,
For the record, here are the names of the participants:
- Heather Bostian, Actress, mother of two
- Alice Churchwell, Registered Dental Assistant, grandmother.
- Sam Conlon, 13-time World Footbag Champion (ruptured hamstring)
- Barbara Fitterer, Assistant for Holistic Health Practitioner,
Professional Roller Hockey player, S.F. Easton-Tremors.
- Wendy Holbert, Travel Agent, Professional In-Line Speedskater
- Anne McKaskle, Model, mother of one
- Kelly McCown, Attorney, co-founder of Roller Divas,
Professional In-Line Speedskater
- Mo McGee, Student at The Academy of Art College
- Liz Miller, Writer and Certified In-line Skate Instructor
- Christine Pavalasky, Paralegal
- Debbie Rangel, Registered Nurse, mother of two.
- Amy Rasmussen, Editor & Notary Public of her own Translating Co.
- Patricia Romero, Director of Operations for "The Adventurous Woman -
Sports Classes for Women"
- Anna Stubbs, Sports Massage Therapist, co-founder of
Roller Divas, Professional In-Line Speedskater
- Cherie Turner, Sponsorship Coordinator for BTU Stoker
- Janna York, Dental Lab Technician
- Heidi Zimmerman, Sales Representative for K2 Corporation and GU
The SCRIP Organizers were:
- Steve Howe, Computer Technician
- David Freeman, Plumbing contractor
Other Support Personnel:
- Bill Ledent, Silent Tears Foundation
- Howard Cohen, Software Engineer