I should have started this blog when I started the Fresh Meat program but it’s too late to dwell on that now. I’ll review each ‘block’ (four weeks) in a post and then attempt to do (regular) updates of my Pre Mins life.
There was an initial taster session a few weeks before Fresh Meat started but there weren’t enough skates so I didn’t get a chance to try it out and I’m probably fortunate that I didn’t since two people collided and broke their legs! So I turned up to the first Fresh Meat session ready to get on the skates and go and I was awful. I missed most of the first session since I couldn’t even stand up on my own and one of the team skaters was with me the whole time, trying to get me used to being on skates. At one point I had two team skaters with me making sure I didn’t fall over (but I did and wow did it hurt). My accomplishment that week was going across the gym we practise in without falling over.
I felt like I was terrible (and I was) but I’d already signed up for the rest of the sessions so I wasn’t going to give up. I was going to make it to the end of Fresh Meat if it killed me (which it fortunately didn’t).
The second session was slightly better, I joined in with the main session this time and managed to do a few laps and sort of get the hang of actually moving (albeit not quickly). We also started practising falls (one knee and two knees then knees, elbows) which I was fairly decent at (falling is one of my talents…). We did our first pace line drill too which I was nervous about, mostly because I wasn’t skating very fast and thought I wouldn’t be able to keep up but everyone was really nice and slowed down for me. Weaving in and out of the pace line was difficult too despite there being quite a bit of room for me to move, I’m putting it down to still being quite unbalanced at that point.
The third session introduced glides. My right foot was ten times better than my left foot, I could almost make it around 1/4 of the track on my right foot but barely a few feet on my left but I was told that it’s normal to have a dominant leg and that I just have to work on strengthening my left leg. We did more pace line drills and the weight shifting we’d been taught earlier in the session really helped with leaning around people when they were quite close together and there wasn’t enough room to actually skate around them.
The fourth session was the final one in the first block of Fresh Meat and introduced crossovers. Crossovers are my current skating nemesis. At the time we were just practising the movement whilst standing still but I couldn’t even do that without rolling forward/to the side. Some of the others picked it up really quickly and it made me feel kinda terrible. I know it’s not their fault that they know what they’re doing but I was annoyed that I couldn’t do it. Even by watching the team skaters I still couldn’t quite get the hang of what the hell I was supposed to do (I still can’t do crossovers but hopefully that’ll change).
My first block was fun though, despite being so terrible at everything. There were 15 of us in my group of Fresh Meat (which was a lot since the one before only had 6 which is now down to 2) so I think we developed a good community between us? One thing that made me feel less terrible about everything was the people that I skated with. The team skaters stop and break something down if you’re not getting it and all the freshies motivate each other to do better and keep going and it feels really good to be part of a team. I’d just moved to the town about 4 months before I started Fresh Meat so I didn’t know many people but roller derby introduced me to loads of new people who are all so different but no less amazing. I would have never met them without roller derby, and even if I didn’t make it through Fresh Meat, I would have still enjoyed it because of the people I met.