Skaters flock to Pattison's

Some inline speedskaters come away from the track with more than medals and trophies.

Jeremy Anderson met his wife.

Anderson, 26, and his family joined more than 250 inline speedskaters from three states at Federal Way’s Pattison’s West Skating Center last weekend for the 2002 Battle in Seattle.

Anderson, his wife, Stephanie, and their 5-year-old son Bailey all raced during the three-day event.

Jeremy and Stephanie met in 1990 while skating. Both have enjoyed success on the track, including Jeremy’s national championship in 1998. Now the two are watching their son compete. Bailey placed first in the Tiny Tots division.

“It’s a sport for the whole family,” said Mike Pattison, the rink’s owner and coach of the Pattison’s team. “We have everything from the 5-and-under Tiny Tots to the 45-and-older Veteran Men’s division.”

While Pattison’s hosts the event every year, this weekend’s event was one of the largest in recent memory. Speedskating has seen a rise in popularity after the Winter Olympics and Apolo Ohno’s success on the ice track.

“Since then, a lot more people come and want to do speedskating,” Anderson said. “I haven’t seen a meet this big in almost four years. It’s twice the amount as last year.”

While Ohno got his start at Pattison’s before switching to ice, Anderson has also made the switch to the ice.

“I like roller skating better,” Anderson said. “There’s more people at a higher level in roller skating. Rather than competing against one or two people on ice, I can go against 10 people in roller skating. Also, it hurts more when you fall on ice — you don’t slow down.”

Other national-caliber speedskaters from Pattison’s include Miguel Jose, Bob Celski and J.R. Celski.

J.R. won nationals last year and is looking to repeat this season.

“He’s a natural,” Anderson said. “If he sticks with it, he could definitely be a world champion if he puts his mind to it.”

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