From Fresh to Crustymeat


freshies post-assessment drinks

freshies enjoying post-assessment drinks

And just like that, all 10 weeks of freshmeat training are over. I didn’t report back on weeks 8 and 9 simply because we used those two weeks to practise all our skills in preparation for week 10’s minimum skills assessment. So there wasn’t much new and exciting to report from week 8 and I had nothing at all to report from week 9 because I missed it.  So I’ll just jump ahead to week 10 – Minimum assessment skills day.

In order to advance from freshmeat, freshies need to pass a minimum skills test. We must be able to stop (t-stops on both sides and plow stop – a complete stop) and we must show proficiency in the other skills which are graded on a 0-4 points scale. To advance, the freshie must reach a minimum score (I think 93/124 points) including full pass for each stop. If you don’t pass, you stay in freshmeat training for another full 10-week session and take the assessment again, repeating freshmeat is common. Everyone’s different and everyone progresses at her or his own pace. Some never skated before while others are doing their second freshmeat course.  If you do pass, then you move on to more advance skills sessions which also include contact.

I went in without any expectations on Sunday, well with some expectation to not pass this time around and I am more than happy to re-do freshmeat training and improve my basic skills.  The nice thing about not expecting much, is that there is no stress or pressure, and I think no disappointment in the end result (even though I know there is always a wee glimmer of hope deep down in all of us).   Now you’re dying to know if I passed or not, aren’t you? Well, you’re going to have to keep reading and waiting… (Psst! There’s no point skipping to the end of the post.)

Here’s how it all went down. First we were each assigned an assessor. I got two assessors/coaches: Gabbi and Lauren. I call them coaches because they also gave us tips and pointers and loads of encouragement to help us do our very best. On that note, I’m extremely grateful for all the support, smiles and cheers I received from Gabbi and Lauren. In fact, the entire team was full of encouragement, we could tell they all wanted us to do well. The entire experience was very positive and fun, unlike what you might expect from an assessment. Overall, it felt like any other freshmeat week.

For nearly all skills, we had enough time to perform the skills several times; so enough time to do a practice one or two if needed and to get feedback and tips to help us improve where needed.  I must give a huge thanks to Lauren for giving me the key pointed I needed to be able to do a transition “stagger your feet” she said and tada! There wasn’t really anything we’d never done, a few exceptions: the obstacle we had to jump over was higher than we’d previously attempted (I cleared it!); we had to do a sprint lap, which we’d sort of done but never timed it before;  a 5-minute endurance trial (as many laps as possible) which we’d never done. Fortunately, my job keeps me fit and strong which made it easy for me to skate five minutes, as fast as my poor crossover skills allow. With better skills, I think I could’ve done several more laps. I was aiming for 20 laps and I made it. I tried for a 21st but wiped out around a corner.  Luckily, I landed on the soft part of my butt (my glutes got tenderised again).

How did I do? I have no clue; I think I did better than I expected too but I don’t know if I did well enough to advance. I’ll find out later this week by email.  Do I mind re-doing freshmeat? Not at all. Do I feel ready to advance? I’m not sure. Regardless of my results, I need to decide if I want to pursue this further, if’ it’s right for me or if I need to try something else. If I do pursue it, I also need to decide if I want to be a roller girl or a referee. I’ll write more about this soon. In the meantime, if you have thoughts or advice about it and what you might do in my place, I’m listening.

If you are interested in trying freshmeat, the next one will be starting in a few weeks. Check the Rollerbillies website and Facebook page for news and information. It’s lots of fun and worth a try for sure!