Teenage life moves fast. The rollerblade helps him slow down

The 317 Project tells stories of life in all of Indianapolis’ bustling neighborhoods – 317 words at a time.

Terrence Hackett II demonstrates a pirouette style move and falls to the hardwood floor at Skateland Roller Skating.

“We’re all falling,” he said nonchalantly as he got up.

He used to be nervous about looking silly when trying new moves. But today, he is not afraid of anything.

“You just have to chase the fear away,” Terrence said. “You just have to say, ‘You’re just going to do it.'”

When he’s not at Ben Davis High School, the 17-year-old works or skates at the west side rink, where neon colors blare as loud as the music. It is his place of peace.

“When you get on the floor, it’s just easy to clear your head,” Terrence said. “To get out everything that went wrong in your day, push everything.”

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With skating, he escapes the stress of school. Anxiety about the future. The grief of losing two friends, one shot, the other killed in a car accident.

Being a teenager today is “different and difficult,” says Terrence, “because everyone has (their) doubts and hopes” against their generation. He wants to graduate early, study business in college, and one day open a shoe store.

At the rink, sliding long distances, spinning in circles, skating backwards (he loves skating backwards, a friend says), the movement helps him take a break.

He remembers enjoying being a teenager who laughs with friends and wears his favorite color, red, and owns a dozen Nike Air Jordan shoes.

Terrence Hackett II, a junior from Ben Davis High School, takes a lesson in art criticism during art teacher Justin Allison's class on Wednesday, February 16, 2022.

Although he sprained his wrist several times, he says he learned from his mistakes.

“(You) just have to be patient and not try to rush everything,” Terrence said. “Keep your foot one step ahead of you… Just take one step at a time.”

Contact Rashika Jaipuriar at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @rashikajpr.

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