Monday, December 11, 2006

North American Cup

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, " 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.
Editors Note:


I had to use the "old" word. I did not mean it.



shazna02 said...

I'm sorry it didn't turn out the way you hoped.  I admire and look up to your for the way you put yourself out there physically and emotionally in fencing.  I hope this experience won't change that.


fencerkath said...

At least you went and perhaps something you saw or experienced will suddenly seem to make sense in the next weeks and lead you to a new strategy.  Some of the pool scores and the D.E. suggest you got some decent hits.