New Groups Seeks to Fill Vacuum Left By IISA's Departure
When officials announced in late December that the International Inline Skating Association was being "right-sized," which essentially meant "shut-down," it was unclear who was going to take over its various functions.
IISA officials named USA Fit as the group that would take over certification and training of inline instructors. It said USA Fit would also arrange their liability insurance.
But nothing was said about who would do the work of promoting and spreading the word about inline skating.
USA Fit Steps In
Now it appears that the answer is USA Fit and its new sibling, USA Inline Fit.
In a message today to inline instructors, USA Fit's founder, Denis Calabrese, said he believes the organization has addressed most -- although not all -- of the needs of inline instructors. Now, he said, it's time to start putting together a plan for how to promote the sport of inline skating.
And then he handed an olive branch to inline instructors, some of whom have been unhappy with the abrupt transition from IISA to USA Fit:
The Olive Branch
He said USA FIT had "no intention" of trying to draft a plan for the future without input from inline instructors.
"On the contrary, we believe that those who know the sport the best and who have worked in it for many years, should essentially develop the plan for the future of the sport."
In coming up with ideas, he said, instructors should "think creatively and without artificial limits." He even told them not to worry about the cost, at least not "in the brainstorming phase."
Grow Inline Meeting?
He also asked instructors if they would be interested in attending, at their own expense, a meeting to help come up with ideas.
He gave no indication on when the plan would be ready. But just the idea of it is likely to be greeted as good news in the inline world.
And the inline world could use some good news, especially after the "right-sizing" of IISA.
Although officials tried to play up the positive, the "right-sizing" meant the closing of IISA's headquarters in Wilmington, North Carolina, and the loss of its only paid staff member, Kalinda Mathis, who took a job with the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association.
Is There an IISA Anymore?
The question has persisted over whether IISA still exists at all.
"Technically, it still exists, but functionally, it's in mothballs," IISA's chairman, Keith D'Entremont, told the Inline Planet today.
D'Entremont says the group plans to continue to maintain the IISA web site. But no future IISA meetings are planned, "and IISA as we knew it, no longer functions."
D'Entremont, the president of Roces-USA, says IISA's board decided to disband because it perceived that the group had fulfilled its three original goals: growing the sport, creating a structure for instructor certification, and ensuring skaters access to public roads and trails.
"Over the years, the association pretty much accomplished those goals," D'Entremont said.
Why USA Fit?
IISA's board choose USA Fit as its successor because "the sport of inline skating dovetails well with their model," he said.
USA FIT is a 15-year-old organization that provides training for runners and walkers who are preparing for marathons. It was founded in Houston but now has branches in 40 cities in the United States and Canada.
In his note to inline instructors, Calabrese tried to define USA Fit's new role in the world of inline skating. He said the organization is committed to doing "the best we can to grow and improve the sport."
"So in a sense, this is what we represent: the sport of inline."
Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson