Fresh Meat: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love the Transitions

League structure update!

A Team have confirmed that if you have a problem and don’t know how to solve it, they actually are for hire. They’d like to point out that they can be found coaching Fresh Meat, at that massive social event we all went to together a few weeks ago and, well, training right after Fresh Meat on Sundays. So not really that difficult to locate.

B Team seem to have no specific objections to my revised description, but as clarified above, if someone throws themselves in front of you in a pack or puts a shoe on the track, it may actually be A Team. Some of A Team helpfully distinguish themselves by occasionally wearing terrifying face paint. This is very helpful and intimidating – thanks, guys. Other than that, B Team have not explicitly stated that they are for hire.

Fresh Meat and Wreck are still happy to be classified according to their pub attendance.

Updated structure, in order of Sunday training times, is therefore as follows:

Fresh meat: Sunday morning training group, where we fall over for two hours then go to the pub.

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. 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 so good luck telling everyone apart.

B Team: If you have a problem, if no-one else can help, and you can find them, you’re still out of luck because you can’t afford to hire them. If someone has just thrown themselves in front of you to see if you can avoid them without either of you dying or put a shoe on the track it may have been someone from B Team. They are 100% proven to exist. I’ve had several of them tell me so, and some helpful photographic evidence sent to me. B Team members may also be on A Team, at which point they are presumably for hire.

Wreck league: The guys who eventually turn up to the pub if we keep drinking for long enough.

I had a rebellion last week.

Before I started Fresh Meat, I started going to Dalston Open Skate. Open skates are great. They are basically free-training sessions where anyone of any level can turn up (provided they have full safety kit) and work on anything from basic skating to violent bouncing. Violent bouncing is usually kept to the second half of the session, and although there is no formal coaching, there are plenty of people around who are happy to help beginners.

On my first night at Dalston, I was shuffling around slowly. A few weeks later, I had learned to knee-fall, jump and had even started something resembling crossovers. I was deliriously happy. Every week, I would turn up, go aimlessly in joyful circles, attempt to stop, accidentally spin around on the spot and fall over, and spend the next several minutes telling everyone about it. If I saw someone doing something I liked, I would enthusiastically attempt to copy it (which is, incidentally, how I started jumping). If I saw someone going fast, I’d futilely but happily attempt to race them (without telling them, obviously. I’d have no chance then). I felt like my ability to learn had reached the giddy heights of “basically normal”.

Then Fresh Meat started. And by week two, I was an emotional wreck.

I’d like to be really clear here that this was not due to pressure from anyone involved with Fresh Meat, LRR, or Dalston. Nobody put pressure on me. Everybody told me that I was doing fine and there was nothing to worry about, and that comparing myself to everyone else was extremely unhelpful and not at all the way to go.

So of course, being me, I panicked. Did someone accidentally trip me over while doing a knee fall? Clearly it was because I was incapable of staying on my feet and inherently inferior to my fresh meat comrades. Did I accidentally skip a person while weaving in a paceline? Terrible. That’s probably never happened before in the entire history of rollerskates. Am I really uncomfortable skating in a pack? Jesus Christ, why was I even born?

It’s not like I was having no fun at all. Most of the time on skates I was still pretty happy going in circles and making dinosaur sounds, but the pressure I was putting on myself was definitely taking a toll. At my worst, I spent a few days walking around with a massive face bruise because I had become overly frustrated with myself over something silly and tried to slap sense into myself. Pro tip: do not slap yourself in the face while wearing wrist guards. They have hard plastic on them.

It was probably a good thing that I took off for over a week to juggle in Italy at this point. When I came back, I turned up at Dalston as normal on a Thursday and I snapped.

I was done with transitions. I was done with different types of stop, and most of all I was done with assessments. I was furious at my own stress, and all I wanted was to go back to pre Fresh Meat days and go in circles and race people at random.

Just in case I wasn’t clear enough earlier, nobody made me stressed about this stuff but me. I take full responsibility and most people doing Fresh Meat probably don’t do this.

My rage lasted for about five minutes, and when it was over the stress didn’t come back – but the fun did. Suddenly, I quite liked transitions after all. Hell, even going sideways wasn’t such a bad thing. And it turned out I could still attempt to race people who go approximately twice as fast as me (I’ll win one day, I swear).

Assessment day one is this Sunday. Let’s see if my stress-free state lasts. And let’s all hope they don’t test us on league structure, eh?


2 thoughts on “Fresh Meat: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love the Transitions

  1. You’ll be fine! And all of those things you described.. everyone has felt like that at some point during fresh meat. All the things you stress about are our advanced skills and you can still get to Wreck without them 🙂 And hey, maybe I’ll even let you hit me at the Open skate tomorrow 🙂


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