Firstly, everyone would like me to amend league structure yet again. Apparently B Team wear scary-looking face paint all the time, and when I arrived for assessment this morning, many of my Fresh Meat friends were adorning themselves with mascara and far too much fake blood. I don’t really know why, but I’m not going to argue.
I have also been informed that as well as A Team and B Team, Main League includes “unrostered players.” I don’t know how someone goes from unrostered to a team, but I’m 99% sure it involves some kind of fight to the death.
Yet again, neither Wreck nor Meat care. So:
Fresh meat: Sunday morning training group, where we fall over for two hours then go to the pub. Will wear face paint and fake blood on special occasions.
A Team: If you have a problem, if no-one else can help, and you can find them, maybe you can hire them. Luckily, it’s quite easy to find them. Don’t wander onto the track in front of them as they are quite fast and sometimes bounce violently off each other. Occasionally, A team wear upsetting face paint just in case the violent bouncing wasn’t traumatic enough for you (guys, is that a scary skeleton or a terminator? Either way, that’s scary). They may also throw themselves in front of you to see what you do, or put a shoe on the track. A Team members may also be on B Team. I don’t know what their hire rates are, but they are definitely up for the following:
Putting shoes on the track
Wearing scary face paint
Bouncing off each other while going fast
Branding Fresh Meat and judging them while holding clipboards
It turns out you can also sit on A Team. More about that later.
B Team: B Team definitely exist. If you have a problem, if no-one else can help, and you can find them, then go find A Team because B are not for hire. When B Team throw themselves in front of you to see whether you’re going to die, put a shoe on the track to traumatise you or blow whistles, it’s for the sheer joy of it. B Team members may also be on A Team, at which point they are presumably for hire though. B Team are perfectly capable of wearing scary face paint if and when they choose to do so. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SIT ON B TEAM.
Unrostered Main League: These guys will train with A or B team or possibly both, I don’t actually know. I have only heard rumours of their existence, but I don’t want to give the impression I’m doubting it because we all know how much B Team enjoyed that. I don’t think they have scary face paint, however, and if they judge Fresh Meat, they choose to do so silently, and without any clipboards.
Wreck league: The guys who eventually turn up to the pub if we keep drinking for long enough.
We had assessment day one today. I wasn’t particularly stressed about it last week, so today I turned up feeling like I was ready to throw up. Considering I found my buddies outside the sports centre listening to Prodigy, covering themselves in fake blood and twitching slightly, I don’t think I was the only one experiencing some anxiety.
I’m pretty sure that different leagues will run their assessments differently, but this is how we did it.
We all gathered in the middle of the track looking terrified, and were told to chill out. We were then split into groups of 3-4, each with an assessor, who branded us with a number to indicate their ownership of us.
Okay, that may not be the exact rationale behind it.
As well as our regular coaches, we had a bunch of A Team helping to assess us (they wouldn’t confirm their hire rates. Sorry, guys). To distinguish “their” Fresh Meat from the rest of the crowd, they wrote numbers on our arms in pen. Our assessor decided to number us according to helmet colour – I was 3R for my red helmet, and the rest of my team were 3B (for blue) and 3G (for black. Black is goth). I’m pretty sure the 3 came from the assessor’s own roster number.
Once we had been labelled, we pretty much carried on with a normal session, going in circles and performing our various tricks on cue – even transitions. The only difference was that people were watching us while holding clipboards.
If there is one thing I hate more than shoes, it’s clipboards. The sight of someone holding a clipboard and looking at me expectantly is enough to send me into a frenzy of terror. What’s on their checklist? What are they writing? WHY ARE THEY JUDGING ME?
Still, things went pretty well for me until we got to pack work.
I’ve worked really hard on not freaking out when skating so close to people. I’ve asked people for help with it at open skate, I’ve deliberately steered myself through groups to desensitise myself and practice avoidance, and when we’ve done the whole “coach diving sadistically in front of you” thing on Sundays, it’s been working out okay for me. Today, one of our assessors dived in front of me in a fall-small position.
What I was meant to do:
Skate around the human obstruction, demonstrating awareness and control. If a fall occurs, fall into a safe fall-small position, remain in place until the pack has passed, then get up and rejoin.
What I actually did:
Panicked, crashed into the assessor, tried to go over her and ended up sitting on her. Apparently I managed to get directly onto her head, which is either awful or awfully impressive. I then fell off, tried to adopt the correct fall-small position directly next to her and proceeded to have a hysterical freakout despite the fact she was completely unhurt and was strangely unconcerned by the fact I had just basically mounted her like a horse.
As you can imagine, this is a bit of a deviation from standard skating protocol as described above. Everyone seems to have been wildly entertained by it, although I’m not exactly sure how it will affect my assessment results.
If you are reading this, brave assessor, sorry about that, and also about apparently nearly kicking you in the face when I finally moved myself off your head.
I bet that wasn’t on those clipboards, though, was it?