Guest poster Hanna Solo shares her experience of graduating fresh meat status to her first time playing in a bout.
Hanna Solo graduated from being a
fresh meat in mid May. Two
months later she was rostered
for her first bout.
It feels like just yesterday I was known as “Slim Jim”, skating as fresh meat under the tutelage of Ida Feltersnatch. She was an excellent coach, and before I knew it, I had passed minimums and graduated to the “big track”. I still remember the words of my fellow fresh meat, Drumstick: “Congratulations, Slim Jim; you worked really hard so that you can work even harder!” Boy, was she right. There was a lot more to learn once I moved to the big track and a lot of skilled veterans skaters to try to keep up with. The best part was, each of those vets was willing to give advice and walk me through anything I needed help with. When I made the bout roster I was surprised but really excited…and I’ll admit, pretty darn nervous. Was I really ready for this? Well, I was going to have to get ready. We scrimmaged a lot in the weeks leading up to the bout in order to prepare. Some nights were better than others, but my teammates were always there to help me fix what I was doing wrong, and to commend me when I did things right. Finally, it was bout day. I didn’t just have butterflies in my stomach; it felt like a had bats flapping around in there. I was battling nerves through the warm-up, the locker room pep-talk, and the national anthem; right up to the moment the whistle blew during my first jam. I came off the line and I realized that I had done this plenty of times before. I knew what I had to do and I trusted that my teammates were going to be there to do their job as well. My trust was not misplaced; we worked like a well-oiled machine and came out victorious in our first home bout of the season! It was an incredible experience and I am so thrilled to have been a part of it. I even got to jam – twice!