Aug 13, 2014 at 9:46 AM
As a young boy living in Michigan, Ron Matthews played hockey atop frozen waters, effortlessly skating and maneuvering before slapping a puck with his stick into the net.
Now, several decades later, he still finds time each day around his Perkins Township home to glide around — albeit in a different, yet equally impressive, way.
Those living in or driving around the Plum Brook Estates probably noticed Ron, 77, rollerblading around the neighborhood.
Everyday Ron laces up his inline skates and coasts around Woodridge Drive’s smoothly paved perimeter.
After weaving through side streets, such as Greenfield and Huntfield drives, his entire daily 4.2-mile trek takes about 35 minutes.
“He is something else,” said Ron’s wife, Myrna Matthews, as she and their King Charles Spaniel dog, Taffy, watched him zip by while standing outside their Woodridge Drive home. “He just loves it.”
Ron, however, didn’t always rollerblade.
“My daughter and her husband came to Michigan in 1994 and wanted to go rollerblading,” Ron said. “So I tried it out and just loved it. That is the way to go."
Ron’s even up for racing people on bicycles or outpacing furry creatures.
“I’ve gone up to 25 mph in Michigan down some big hills,” he said. “Deer would come up to me, and I’d skate right alongside them. I also raced a skunk one time from culvert to culvert. I didn’t want him to get ahead of me.”
Anyone can rollerblade, Ron said, especially those who have ice skated before.
“It’s a good cardio workout that doesn’t beat up your ankles or legs,” he said. “You are just gliding. Rollerblading is like ice skating. The only problem can be stopping.”
Ron’s rollerblading serves as inspiration for the elder population to get active, considering one out of every five Erie County residents is at least 60 years old — a rate exceeding state and federal levels.
“People underestimate how important it is to be physically active and socially engaged like Ron,” Serving Our Seniors executive director Sue Daugherty said. “Those are the two primary things, when research is done on aging, that people 60 and older could do better on, and I think Ron is a great example of that.”