Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Moving On

Sally was at the "Y" on Monday night. She will be in town for three weeks or so and then she returns to the west coast for good.

I think we all knew that this is the way it would play out.

She has family there. Her hands are so arthritic she could barely hold a blade.

She shared with me why she felt is was time to make a change.  I will not share all that here.

I will miss her guidance and conversations. And though I will miss her, I know that the move is for the best.

When is it time to hang up the blades and quit fencing? I have a set of abstract
ideas about that, but I have never put them down on paper and looked at them.

1. When it is no longer fun.

For me it is still fun, though not as much as it once was.

2. When you can no longer give a good account of yourself.

For me to admit that I could no longer do this would be paramount to saying that
I am harmless. I hope I never live long enough to be "harmless".

Can I still give good account of myself? I think within the limits of certain
parameters, the answer is yes. Though it is not constant.

3.When health issues will no longer allow it.

I am not there yet. I am overweight, but except for some problems with my
ankles, I think I can hang.

So, going by my answers, it is not time for me to unplug and leave the strip.

Another question though might be, " When you fail to see improvement." I do not
think I am getting any better.

You have to look at things realistically. Just because you try hard and make an
extra effort, does not mean you will succeed in this or any other sport. ( Or life for that matter.) Not
everyone has the ability to be an "A" fencer. I don't. I never will. If I ever
became a "C" fencer it would be beyond my wildest dreams. Don't get me wrong, I
think when you start fencing in your 50's and you mostly fence against younger
people, then perhaps an "E" is like a "D" and a "D" is like "C". Perhaps that is
not exactly accurate, but it reflects some of my feelings in the matter. On the
other hand, I don't believe in cutting myself any slack.

I think I have improved over the last year ( to a small degree ) technically.
However, thisisnot translating into victories on strip.

I think perhaps that I have spent to much time trying to figure things out about
fencing epee on my own. I am going to start asking questions.

If this does not help me, then on January 12th, 2008 I am going to give some
thought to moving on. I most likely would not move on, but I have to think about it. On that date, I will have been fencing four years.
The only problem would be that I have come to think of myself as a "fencer".
Despite my low level of ability, I think that word defines who I am these days.
If I was not a fencer....................what would I be? Who would I be?


jdobbinsjd said...

Hi Jim,  How lucky you were to spend time with Sally.  Please send her our best.  It would be lovely to see her.  We will always remember her guidance and miss her wise counsel.  


epeeallday said...

is sally going to b in town for JO quals?? and also, we arent fencers...we are people who fence. we all have lives and fencing is just one part of it. so to end life as a fencer is to end part of urself....i dont plan on killing myself for anything or anyone but until i am forced to remain off strip...and even then i will fence in the wheelchair events.

kentjamesr said...

Tommy: I think Sally said she was leaving Nov. 15th. Do not hold me to that, but I think that is what she said.

fencerkath said...

I also think about how long I can keep fencing.  For me the key question is, Would I feel happier if I were not fencing?

There will be a time when I can't improve.  There will also be a time when my fencing will deteriorate.  That must be what it's like for veterans who have been among the best in the world.  They keep going and they learn new techniques to help compensate for less speed, etc.  Dumas kept writing about d'Artagnan and the rest, taking them into old age.  They didn't stop being fencers.  But I never fenced at a high level.

If I stopped fencing I would simply become worse and less fit quite quickly.  When my children stopped swimming every week, they didn't stay the same, even though they were young and fit.  They became slower and less agile in the water.

In the end I shall stop.  Perhaps I'll move away one day - I can't imagine joining a new club.  If the club moves to another leisure centre, I'll probably have to stop.  I may just decide that I'm not good enough and in the way of better fencers.  I'll miss it.