I thought a great deal about making this post in my journal on my long drive back from Richmond. I have not looked forward to it.
I knew I was going to get beat badly going in to this NAC. The rational Jim knew this. The romantic Jim thought that maybe a miracle could happen. It was the most demoralizing tournament I have ever fenced in. My head was not right going in and I did fence badly, but it would have made little difference.
There were around 53 guys in my age bracket. There were that many registered, I do not remember how many showed up. There were 17 "A" fencers and then down to 28 were "B" fencers.
I fenced at Nationals once. I had been fencing six months and I did not even understand what a rating was exactly. I never fenced in a tournament like this. Half way through pools, I just wanted it to be over. I did not win a single pool 5-1 5-3 5-1 5-4 5-4 5-1 I think it was this, but perhaps the order was different. I did tiny bit better in my DE. I was ranked 46th and I fenced the 19th or 17th guy. I do not remember. That bout went 10-7. I really did not want to post those numbers. But that is the way it went down.
I went for a learning experience. Sadly, I do not think I learned anything. All the things I am working on trying to master are things that the young and old DIV 1 fencers do not do. I am technically a poor fencer in epee. What I am working on mostly, is becoming better technically. Even at my age, I count a lot on my strength, hand speed and reaction time to help me through a bout. When I meet people who are better or equal in those regards I have nothing to fall back on.
Watching the young Div 1 fencers play, I cannot see what makes them Div 1. ( Division 1 is were the best....the A and B fencers play.) I do not see what A and B fencers are doing that is so different from what I am doing. This does not include "bouncing" foot work. I would say that 98% of the epee people at this level use that sort of foot work I would say that 99% of men in my age bracket do not. I saw two guys start fencing in pools this way. By touch 2 one had stopped and by touch 3 both had. I thought it was worth a smile. It is a very energetic method of foot work. I assume that one of the functions is to mask when you are going to make an attack. I know nothing about it. It must work, because the good fencers are doing it. It just seems wrong somehow. I guess it is because of the books I have read on economy of movement in fencing. That seemed so very logical.
Here is were I try to end on a positive note. Well,......I don't have one. I will just write about some of the good things. I had some really good Chinese food Saturday night. I drove through the area of the Fan I use to live in. I went to VCU. I had forgotten how cool an area that was. I learned that the Atlanta Div has Vet events broken down into Div 1;2 and 3. Who knew? I bought a new foil and got one of my old ones fixed. I could have gotten my best one fixed, but did not figure that out until I drove home. I got to hang out with Henri a lot. That is always fun. We have serious grown up conversations sometimes....but mostly...when we are together I feel like we both are 10 years old and we are on a play ground. We might explore the play ground or we might fight, but we have some fun. It is good to have a buddy your age.
I also got this cool T-shirt that I can put on when I don't want to have any self esteem at all.
I thought a lot about a number of pessimistic things on my loooonnng drive home. I will not go into them. I have only of lately started going to UNC and looking for ways to improve my epee game other than fencing it one night a week. The things I am doing take time to pay off. ( If they ever pay off.) I will give it a year and take another look at were I am then.
I decided on my drive home what my goal is. I want to move what people think when they see me in my Division. I want to move from, " Well...at least that old guy is out there trying" to "Yeah...He has some gray hair...but you have to watch him." That is my goal for this year.
I had to use the "old" word. I did not mean it.