Surfing Laguna: Showtime on the skating rink

As a young man I used to get fired up listening to Michael Jackson before the big junior high skate party.

His music played an important role in my awkward yet strangely exciting junior high school years.

I remember the rush of adrenaline pulsing through my veins when the lights dimmed at the roller rink. The voice over the microphone rang out, “Guys, grab a girl ’cause it’s time for couples skate!” I was a bit nervous about asking the reigning school starlet to skate dance, but when the deejay cranked up “Billie Jean” it was at that very moment I realized my entire life (13 1/2 years) was simply a dress rehearsal for what was next.

As I shoved my skinny arms hurriedly into my black Members Only jacket I could feel the rink’s powerful overhead fans (designed to mask the odors of 200 sweaty teens) whipping my hair into a perfectly feathered frenzy.


It was showtime.

As the music blared I could feel the rhythm and beat of “Billie Jean” magically sync into my very being. Without further delay I grabbed that young starlet by the hand and whisked her gracefully onto the center of the rink, where only the beautiful kids dare skate.

Even as the security staff led me forcibly out of the rink and through the starlet’s loud and rather pointed rebuke, I could still hear M.J. in the background singing his heart out, “Billie Jean is not my lover, she’s just a girl...”

Not sure what those lyrics meant, but they sure felt good to sing back then.


God bless you M.J., I hope you’re skate dancing with the angels.

CHRIS WILLIAMS is a surfing coach and Laguna Beach resident, and father of four surf-crazy sons. He can be reached at or (949) 497-5918.