The High Cost of Roller-Skating
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The sum can reach three digits in CUCs (1 cuc = 1 U.S. dollar), and there are those who say that it takes a minimal investment of 200 CUCs.)
Skill might not suffice. There are sports in which technology is foremost, and financial backing is absolutely necessary. We may call them elite sports, and roller-skating, in any of its variants, is among them.
Unlike other sports in Cuba, it is the parents who shoulder ALL the costs, because the National Institute for Sports and Recreation (INDER) does not have the money or, in case it could eke out something from its budget, the amount would be insufficient for frequent or even sporadic outlays. We, of course, are not talking here of just any kind of roller skates because competition requires that they be of professional quality. And the skates vary according to the level of training, the size of the athlete and the type of competition. Obviously, there is no other way out of the dilemma if the goal is to train in a serious way.
No matter how unlikely it may seem to us, the fact is that there are some families that will pay any price in order to satisfy the wishes of their little ones kids. The sum can reach three digits in CUCs (1cuc = 1 U.S. dollar), and there are those who say that it takes a minimal investment of 200 CUCs. Even having them purchased abroad, the cost is still high. In case of secondary sales or “repurchases”, the figures can skyrocket.
Brand names, degree of specialization, materials used, fashions, tear and wear, etc. will make them more or less expensive. But the problem does not end here, because its useful life will depend on the quality of the track, the number of spills by the athlete, as well as other variables. Then, the count comes back to the beginning, or else to the solutions that you find in Cienfuegos: boots from one brand, a pair of wheels from one kind and the other pair from another, and so on…and the cash register is ticking.
Safety is another issue, and we have to add the cost of the helmet, knee pads, elbow patches, wrist bands and adequate clothing. The economics of it should also take in consideration working hours lost, trips, food, and even transportation. And all of this in a sport discipline that is not prioritized in Cuba.
Roller skating as a hobby is a luxury, but converting it into a competitive sport is a titanic mission. Yes, it is definitely expensive. The high cost of roller skating!
COMMENT FROM THE TRANSLATOR, who lives in Santiago de Cuba
I found the piece suggestive. I interpreted it mostly as an indirect and intelligent way of pointing out how Cuban society is changing, with some people now having enough money for what are (compared with the near past) luxuries. However, I had someone who was visiting me read the piece and she thought that it looked more like criticism of INDER (Cuba´s National Institute for Sports and Physical Recreation) for not helping roller skaters. What do you think American readers will see in it?