CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- David Roy learned to skate not long after learning to walk and eventually found a way to make it his calling.
Roy, 42, has owned and operated Skateland of Campbells Creek for 10 years at the old Midway Elementary School.
He spends his days working on the building. In the evenings, he watches as kids take their first turn around the wooden floor and old-timers get back into their groove.
His skating memories go back to his childhood, when he would shuffle around in skates strapped to his shoes.
Roy, who learned to skate when he was just 3 years old, worked at the Skateland in Kanawha City, which once boasted a 14,000-square-foot rink in the space where Nautilus now operates. He worked there from 1983 till 1992.
He worked his way up from skate boy to general manager at Skateland. He then worked at a roller rink in Fayetteville from 1992 until 1996.
He also spent time on the competitive skating circuit, where he won the gold medal for mixed pairs when he was 19 years old. His partner that year was a 62-year-old woman.
He has skated all over the country and seen the world on eight wheels, he said.
Roy bought the old elementary school in 2002 when the Kanawha County school board put it up for auction.
The Cleveland native had a plan for the building.
"Truly it's all I ever wanted to do," Roy said. "I know it wasn't a skating rink to begin with but what we've built here is a nice mom-and-pop skating rink that's affordable.
"You don't have to refinance your house to skate here."
He runs a tight ship, preferring to buy used items and doing most of the maintenance work himself. He spent $30,000 on 400 new pairs of rental skates in November and was "blessed to pay cash" for them. He said those skates and a computer he purchased for the office are the only things he has bought new.
"Everything else here is used," Roy said. "And 99 percent of the time if there's a job needed to be done around here, I'm doing it."
He has been installing televisions throughout the building to play music videos to match the songs being played on the rink and on the dance floor tucked away in an upstairs alcove called Club Skateland.
He also recently installed a new laser lighting system to go with the rink's space theme. Another addition is a game room just off the skating rink to be filled with arcade-style games.
Roy does it all, from handing out skates and repairing them to painting. He also gets help from friends. One man hands out skates just to get some free time on the floor, he said.
He also teaches others, mostly children, how to skate.
The skates can be "locked" so the wheels don't move, allowing the skater to get used to the weight, Roy said. He prefers that method to walker-like devices called skate-trainers, which he says are dangerous.
Roy said many roller-skating games, such as the Hokey Pokey, Red Light Green Light and Wipeout, actually are used to teach children to skate and to hone their skills.