Sunday, July 22, 2007

Coach Jim Ponders the Future

Friday night I coached epee at the "Y". In this particular case, coaching = " I can pass for a responsible adult".

As usual during the summer, attendance was low. There were only eight of us. That was fine. We did about five minutes of footwork and then set up the strips and fenced. It was very "laid back". I used just enough of the "Daddy voice" to keep things under loose control. I enjoyed it.

A friend of mine from work stopped by. He lives downtown. I felt cool being the coach. While I am certified as a low level foil coach, I feel that should I ever coach for real, that it should be epee. I do not know if that will ever happen. I could see myself as an assistant coach in the future...perhaps. But that is a ways down the road and I have not met my self imposed goals of ratings on strip and reffing that I must have before I think about such things. Right now, I need to BE coached.

My world of fencing is North Carolina. Depending on who you are, you could say a lot of things about our Division....both pro and con. I do not get into those types of debates. I am a realist and this Division IS my world...for good or bad. There are some good things here. There are some good coaches...even excellent coaches. There are some high powered winning clubs and then there are some clubs with a strong sense of "family". I cannot express my views on the nation, but I can on the Division. There are not many people that fenced in more tournaments in our state last year than me. I do not mean anything great about me fencing in a lot of NC tournaments last year...it is just a fact. One of the reasons I fenced in so many Divisional tournaments was that I thought it would help me improve. Perhaps it did.....perhaps it just reinforced bad habits. It is a lot like taking vitamins....some say it is good for you.....but when you take them you don't really see any difference. Perhaps you might feel a difference if you stopped taking them.

I just decided to start a whole new paragraph because the previous one was just rambling around and I had a point to be made.

~ clears his throat and begins again ~  I think....no matter what anyone says...that the number of fencers is diminishing. I base that solely on observation in my Division and occasional poking around on Ask Fred. I will assume for a moment that I am correct. Hey...It could happen!

Do I care?: Yes...I do care. I want the sport to grow a bit and continue. More importantly....I hope to be one of the people in the Division that has been fencing a long time....someday. When you start as late in life as I have , that is a goal unto itself.

What can I do about it?: I have no idea. Other than to help some of the kids in the club to have fun doing this, I can't think of much. I wear my ever growing collection of fencing T-shirts, but I am not so sure that I am a good bill board for the sport. I really can't think of much our Division can do to promote the sport either.

Trust to fate?: I read somewhere of late that in the future less known sports would become more popular. I have no idea why they thought that, but it makes sense that things will not stay they same. They never have. 2008 is the time of the Olympics. That may generate some interest. If I/we just had an idea to incorporate with 2008 and the Olympics, we could piggy back off the interest it would generate to help the sport. Sadly, nothing is coming to mind.

I think this fall I will borrow a box and fence some in the park. That is not only fun, people get to see it. It is lame...I know....but I would be doing something to help and having a good time doing it.

Sadly, this is not the most poorly written post I have ever put in my journal. I am going to leave it the way I wrote it. It was taking up valuable wrinkle space in my brain and must have been of some importance to me.

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