We had our first round of freshmeat cuts this Wed and we lost three wonderful skaters. While none of them were part of my particular skater family (congrats Anna Ellen, Amanda, and Marisa) it didn't make it easy to say goodbye to the three women who didn't make it. I hope they try out again next season because we're definitely losing out on their awesomeness. :(
I'm so lucky my freshmeat experience didn't include cuts. That system was created the year after I joined in order to solve the problem of the freshies who fell behind those who had already passed [insert assessment here] and could do [insert advanced drill here]. While it helps keep training on track by making sure the pace of practice stays consistent, it sacrifices the skaters who take longer to mature. Skaters like me.
I was far from the best in my year. In fact, I was the second-to-last in my freshie class to be teamed, and spent over a year as an unteamed skater. If we had had cuts, I surely would have been gone in the first round. I remember how hard it was to skate on my own at the side of the rink while watching everyone else get teamed. By the end of that year I had cried myself to sleep more often than I like to remember. That long process has left some pretty big "skating self image" scars that will never fade.
I see myself in the skaters who got cut. As a freshie, I wanted to play derby as badly as they did, and I know exactly how it feels to look at the rest of the freshies and think "is this really how I rate?" I wouldn't wish my year of being one of the unwanted children of the BDD family on any of them, though. Still, I wouldn't wish on any of these ladies the "derby breakup" they're going through right now.