Skating makes a difference at W.D. Hill Rec Center


Durham County Sherrifs Deputy John Shelton assists a young skater around the rink. (Staff photo by Claire Queally)

Durham County Sheriff’s Deputy John Shelton assists a young skater around the rink. (Staff photo by Claire Queally)

Looking for a better way to spend your Friday nights?

Well, you may just be in luck – and the whole family is invited.

Until Oct. 18, the W.D. Hill Recreation Center will host Family Roller Skating every Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. The outdoor rink is located behind the Center at 1308 Fayetteville St., and is covered by a soft rubberlike substance that is safe for kids. Admission is $2 for ages four to 17 and $3 for adults. Participants are encouraged to bring their own skates, as only a limited number are available for use.

The W.D. Hill Recreation Center is a Durham Parks and Recreation facility. Charisse Lovett, a recreation specialist for the city, says the event is a unique opportunity for local families to get together.

“We’re really excited about the event because it is an opportunity for families to come out and do roller skating,” she says. “It gives us a chance to show off our roller rink because it is the only one like this in the city.”

The event features music from Patricia Murray – otherwise known as “DJ Piddipat.” Over the past three years, DJ Piddipat has become a staple of the event. Although she gravitates toward pop, hip-hop and soul, she also likes to play music from around the world.

No matter what the genre is, however, the music is always family-friendly.

“I never play any songs with bad language or bad connotations,” says Murray. “It’s always supposed to be fun. I also play based on my specific audience and am open to requests.”

Murray loves covering Family Roller Skating and says her nickname is popular with the crowd.

DaShon Johnson, 8, takes a quick break from skating.

DaShon Johnson, 8, takes a quick break from skating.

“My dad always called me Piddipat,” she says. “It kind of just stuck.”

Although attendance was low last Friday, she isn’t discouraged.

“We’ve had big turnouts in the past,” she says. “It’d be great to see more youth groups or schools come out. One time we had the School of Science and Math come, which was great. We just need more people to know about it.”

For 8-year-old DaShon Johnson, low turnout meant an open rink. As DJ Piddipat shuffled through tunes, he spun freely around the rink – leaving the youngest participants in awe. He says he loves DJ Piddipat’s music, and looks forward to this event every week.

“Lots of people haven’t been coming,” says Johnson. “I skate other places, too, but I like the music here. It’s fun. I hope more people will come.”

Additionally, the event will always be supervised by local law enforcement.

Durham County Sheriff‘s Deputy John Shelton attended last Friday. He says he likes coming to the event because he gets to know some younger faces in the community. After attempting to skate around the rink, he took a much-needed water break.

“I look at it as an opportunity to interact with kids on a more personal level,” he says. “It’s nice to see the kids come out and have something to do. But we need a higher level of participation – particularly with families. It will certainly work toward community building.”

Shelton says Friday night football may be the reason for low turnout, as high school seasons are now underway. Regardless, he hopes to see more youngsters attend.

Like Shelton, Murray hopes for a better turnout in the coming weeks.

“People don’t really know about it yet,” she says. “But you can’t beat the deal.”

For more information, contact the W.D. Hill Recreation Center at 919-560-4292. Free parking is available off of Linwood Ave., behind the Center.