The freshie who didn't get teamed for over a year. This is a picture of me getting the only track time I could make for myself - after the bout was over, before they swept up the last of the popcorn. After every bout, I'd skate alone, avoiding beer spills and discarded programs. I'd pretend that there was a crowd cheering for me.
I knew I'd never quit, but sometimes it got so hard that I wished I had it in me to just give up. I couldn't, though. I stuck out every injury, every failed assessment, and every practice where I had to skate around the outside of the track because I couldn't do contact drills like everyone else.
Any time I don't feel up to skating, I remember that girl. Back then, I would have given almost anything to be on the track with the rest of the league. I skate every bout for her.
Happy (belated) birthday, Freshmeat Jessie. You did it, and I'm so proud of you.