Thursday, March 8, 2007

Henri's Blog

This is a strange entry into my journal. It is not mine. It is from my friend Henri, who does not have a journal. She felt compelled to write down some of her thoughts after a recent tournament. ( Okay...I might have helped compel her.) She mentions me as being a coach. I do not see myself as one. I do not know enough. I am just a helper. I am honored that she sees me like that though. Here are her thoughts:


Random thoughts, firing at will, BEYOND all control~~~

The best part of last weekend’s tournament, "Spring is in the Air-2007" was spending time with my fencing family--big brothers who give hugs for encouragement---little sisters for sharing girl secrets---supportive cousins who cheer for all of us!!! The worst part is driving back without benefit of a shower!!!

Peter, Gilbert (out sick last weekend with pneumonia), Keith, Bryan and others in the Touche Club always make me feel welcome!!! Their club is a favorite of mine!!! I hope that the young fencers and parents from the Touche Club will feel as welcome at our club’s sponsored RYC this weekend!!

Being the only DFC fencer at last Saturday’s E and under Foil event, I was adopted for the day by members from other clubs who offered suggestions, support and even repaired weapons for me!!! And, forced me to learn how to reassemble a foil tip---Kathy and Trevor would be proud!! "It'll be good foryou"---WHATEVER----that is why I chose a predominantly guy sport---I'm NOT supposed to have to do that!!!

The only thing that I did, to become the "new best friend" to some members of the ASU Fencing Club, was to offer medical assistance---something that comes easy for me!!! In helping them, I gained new friends, receiving more than I gave--how cool is that???!!! Please note: Several members of that club shared that they are working hard to overcome the "bad name" that has been associated with their club---I so admire their determination and wish them the best!!!

It was great to renew friendships with people I have fenced in the past several months!!!

And, such an unexpected surprise when Hunter Yeaton and Ryan Bean advised me and hoped I would win my first (and only) DE bout in Sunday’s E and Under Mixed Epee!!!

Lucien Stevens should be advised---I plan to beat him yet! Actually, I did beat him 5-3 in pools in Touche’s "Lunge into ‘07". However, he won our DE bout in that tournament, 15-11. As luck would have it, on Sunday my DE bout was also against Lucien. However, although Lucien won, the score was only 14-11 at the end of the third bout. If I continue to narrow the score, soon I’ll win!!!

When I first started fencing, I didn’t have any goals or expectations and, other than the Olympics, wasn’t aware that competitions were available. I didn’t even know any fencers!! After my very first foil class, I knew that I loved fencing!!!

Jim has a saying, "Anything worth doing is worth doing to obsession." Well, I must be obsessed!!! I have been fencing foil for almost 18 months, and epee for five months, have been taking private lessons with Coach Miller for five or six months, group lessons with Coach Miller for two months, am in three different clubs, and fence three nights a week!!! And, I have benefited from instruction from two fencing maestros!!!

My favorite coaches, however, are still the ones from my very own club---Sally, Cameron, Woody, Jim and Mario. They share their love for fencing in so many ways. They volunteer unselfishly, giving of time and personal resources, too often without the appreciation they deserve. They encourage, correct, tease, laugh with me, cry with me, and even loan me their personal gear!!! They’ve seen me at my best and at my worst, and seem to love me in spite of "me being me"!!! Ya’ll are the best EVER---I love all of you!!!

DFC doesn’t just happen spontaneously!!! On club nights, coaches are the first to arrive and the last to leave. However, that’s not all that they do!!! They take home equipment needing repair, answer club e-mail, work with the Y staff, plan and staff club sponsored tournaments, etc. DFC coaches and fencers have become my fencing family, and I have fencer friends from Wilmington to Boone!!!

Reminder for all of us: Say "thank you" in both words and actions!!! Look for practical ways to demonstrate appreciation for our coaches by helping them whenever and wherever you see a need. In doing this, we can help them andhelp each other!!!

Goals and expectations are in my thoughts, on my mind, and fill my heart. I recently achieved a small goal that I had set for myself nearly a year ago--that I would beat all the "big guys" in our club at least once. Well, within the past two weeks, I finally beat the last of the "big guys" in practice bouts!!! It will probably never happen again, but it was sweet!!! Two of them were beat in their primary weapon--epee!!! One of you I have yet to beat in your primary weapon, but someday it willhappen!!! I continue to work toward other goals. For example, no longer do I always attack, attack, attack, attack, ATTACK!!! As, I reflect back on last weekend’s tournament, I have identified several mistakes and some slight improvements, realized some goals accomplished and some expectations changed, and continue with hope. I’m certain that still others will come to mind.

I listen for these words from encouraging voices in my thoughts and while on piste: "Henri, RELAX!!!", "Don’t forget to BREATHE!!!", "Take your time---be PATIENT!!!, "Henri, go PSYCHO!!!, "Nice touché!!!" I look for familiar faces in my mind and through my mask, showing me expressions and gestures of instruction, encouragement, scolding, exasperation, and, sometimes, pride.

I am ever challenged by this sport that I love so much. Perhaps my goals and expectations are still way beyond my abilities--perhaps they will always be. Regardless, I continue the challenge to give my best, with motivation to improve as much as possible--as soon as possible, preferably, NOW!!!!

So, I hold tightly to FENCING, for me a passion, as it holds tightly to me~~~




fencerkath said...

Well done, Henri - it sounds like you're making great progress.  

Welcome to the blogosphere - and please post some more to let everyone know how you're getting on!

epee77 said...

And just a quick note, we don't love you in spite of "you being you"  We love you because you are YOU.

shazna02 said...

This is a great entry - shows a lot of personality, definatly want to meet Henri.  Have to totally agree - didn't learn fencing so I could learn how to do wiring and soldering and stuff - you know, like, I use a toilet every day but they don't try to convince me I have to take a plumbing course.  

Also, very much want to belong to a club where someone yelling ("insert your name" Go Psycho!") is encouragement - I so want that, no one ever wants me to be MORE pyscho.  Yes, improve now, now, now - and beat them all - go Henri!