For the 62nd daily installment of Big Wheel Blading’s Inline Skating and Life During COVID-19 series we talk to Keegan Smith. Keegan is a 33-year-old inline skater and civil engineer technician living in Portland, Maine.
What steps did Maine take to battle COVID-19?
Portland issued a mandatory stay-at-home order towards the end of March, when COVID-19 first started getting bad, then other more populated areas of Maine did the same thing. All bars and restaurants closed but we were still allowed to go outside and exercise. All of the schools closed for the rest of the school year, which is great for skating.
Were you skating during the COVID-19 lockdown?
When the stay-at-home order was given I didn’t skate for a week or two, but started skating again when I noticed more people were out running, biking, and rollerblading. During the pandemic I’ve witnessed more people on skates in my area then I’ve ever seen before. Since I have less things to do now that ice rinks, bars, and health clubs are closed, I’ve been skating more than I did before COVID-19.
Where have you been going out to skate?
I am skating spots that I haven’t been able to skate in years or ever. There is a private school next to my condo that always kicks me out within five minutes. Now I’ve been able to skate their perfect ledges for an hour without getting busted. During the shutdown I’ve mainly been street skating since public places are not busy right now and schools are closed.
Is there anything that would make you stop skating?
I would only stop if I could not physically skate anymore. I did stop skating for the first week or so of the stay-at-home order and was cautious when I began skating again. I did not want to spread something to an at-risk person not knowing wether or not I had the virus. I still am very cautious about that.
Are you doing any cross training?
Unfortunately not as much as I’d like to, I usually play a lot of hockey and racquetball, however all the rinks and health clubs are closed. Now I’ve transitioned to playing outdoor racquetball, which I have never done before, as well as doing some mountain biking and playing golf.
How has COVID-19 affected your normal everyday life?
Portland is a city with many great bars and restaurants and I haven’t been able to visit my favorite places, other than getting take out food. I was competing in racquetball tournaments around the Northeast and all of those events have stopped. For a couple of weeks my work schedule slowed down to 32 hours per week. Now that construction season has started we are back to a 40 hour work week.
What are your major concerns right now and looking into the future?
I hope things will be able to get back to the positive normal aspects of the way things were before COVID-19. I also hope they are able to develop a vaccine for the people that need it, so that people can meet up again in larger groups. I hope that the New England Blade & Camp in Vermont will be able to happen again this summer!
How has the skate community in Portland responded to the pandemic?
We had planned to get together for a session, but it hasn’t happened yet. There isn’t a huge rollerblade scene in Portland, but we will hopefully be able to get together soon. However, some other skaters in Maine have been getting together to skate.
Do you have anything you’d like to add?
- Follow Keegan Smith on Instagram.
- Go to Inline Skating and Life During COVID-19 to read more interviews from skaters from around the world.
- Go to Essential Workers – Inline Skaters on the Front Lines of COVID-19 to read about inline skaters from around the world who are considered Essential Workers.
- For our full COVID-19 coverage go here.
- Contact Big Wheel Blading for and questions, suggestions or ideas.
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