Rafael Solari: A Team Player

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The loose puck is retrieved from behind the net, a defender shoots it to the center, it is received by sophomore Rafael Solari, he blades down the street, dodging defenders left and right, he shoots, and scores! This winning goal ends the game with the final score of five to four. The member’s of Solari’s winning team throw their arms up and raise their voices in loud cheers.

This is a common occurrence for 15-year-old Solari, a dedicated member of Palo Alto High School’s Roller Hockey Club. After spending many summers playing on the streets, as well as attending camps to refine his abilities, Solari is an asset to each team he plays on.

Solari’s interest in roller hockey began five years ago when he watched his neighbor playing in the street. "I was inspired by my neighbor who was [an avid] roller hockey player," Solari said. Since then Solari has played many games as well as been a part of many league teams.

His summers were often spent at various camps, including Skyhawks camp, based in Palo Alto at the Mitchell Park Community Center. Throughout the six-hour days Solari learned skating, stick handling, shooting, and passing. Roller hockey players focus on one skill at a time so that when a game comes around they will be strong in every area necessary, and can tie it all together and play a great game, according to Solari.

Throughout the school year Solari plays games with the other members of Paly’s Roller Hockey Club. It was started by a friend of his and meets once a week on Paly’s own blacktop.

Solari plays both competitively and for fun. The most common position he plays is defender. "My strong point is stealing the ball and passing it," Solari said. This could explain why defender is a perfect position for him.

Solari prefers roller hockey to other sports because of the "fast and continuous action." He finds hockey a lot more fun to watch than other sports. "It’s more physical and exciting," Solari said.

Solari also finds team sports much more enjoyable than individual sports. He likes working together with the other members of his team to achieve a certain goal. Solari also uses his sharp mind to his advantage during games. "I like making strategies," Solari said. "My favorite thing is watching a team who starts out not so strong, grow and unite throughout the season."

All these aspects combined contribute to Solari’s genuine love of roller hockey. His upbeat personality and commitment to roller hockey makes him a spectacular team player. Whether it be a friendly game with the neighbors in the street, or a tough game for a championship title, Solari is always out there doing his best to support his team, and of course, having a great time. "It’s fun to work toward a goal, using skill, strength, and strategy," Solari said.