This was a different kind of week in fencing for me, though they all seem to have a unique flavor of late. Work/travel caused me to miss a couple of nights. I did not go to UNC and fence yet again.
Wednesday, I had a good group lesson with Coach Miller. His girl friend came and watched. She seems really nice.
Saturday evening, I went to the grand opening of Mid-South fencing in Durham. They had sabre finals from a tournament that day. There was a brief dedication of the facility. They (all involved) had worked hard and were rightfully proud of their efforts. There were “kickin’” munchies and drinks. I had a new beer for me, which I think was called “Santa Fe”. It sure hit the spot. Nice tables, nice music….nice people. The art work around the place added a uptown flavor to the salle. I thought it was a class act.
A broad spectrum of people showed up for the celebration. Many did not have to be there. People are often quick to point out flaws in our Division. However, there were representatives from many clubs there. It should not go unnoticed when we as a Division are supportive and do the right thing. So, I am pointing it out.
Brian Toomey had some encouraging words for me that evening. I want go into it, but it meant a lot. He did not have to say those things, but he went out of his way to do so. He referred to me as a “new coach”. I tend never to think of myself that way. I don’t know enough yet. I am a helper.
It was a nice evening.
Sunday (today) I fenced in the open epee event of the tournament. I did not do very well, but I had a good time. That is my objective these days. An added bonus is that I am getting time on strip with different fencers. So, I am looking at the next couple of tournaments as training for one later in the season. There are not many people that fence in Greensboro any more. Most of our students are 10 to 12, with the odd adult beginner thrown in. We have lost a lot of our teenagers of late, due to them heading to college or pursuing other interest. We do not have many people that compete regularly and we are going to have to rebuild. Oddly enough, when we brought in some higher level coaching, it sort of changed the social element of the club and we lost some of our more recreational members. It is my hope that our small band of volunteers can some how build a decent fencing community in the Triad. I hope we can.
Back to the Mid-South tournament. Yeah....I ramble.
In my pool of seven, I won three and lost three. (Pretty mediocre.) It was interesting though. I lost my first bout to a young guy I did not take seriously enough and I did not warm up enough. Or…he could have just gotten a lot better sense the last time I fenced him. (Who knows?) I lost 5-4. I fenced an “A” fencer and got waxed 5-1. I was feeling a bit low, but then I won my next three bouts. One of these fencers always seemed a bit scary to me. It felt good to win that one. I then got beat by a State fencer. There was a screw up and one of my pool bouts was over looked, so I had to fence the last two pool bouts back to back. Hey...those things happen. I had fenced this kid from State before in DE's and beat him just a couple of months ago. I think two things contributed to this loss. (Okay…it could be a lot of things, but here are two that come to mind.) I should have taken two minutes to rest and not tried to be all macho and not slow down the event. If this happens again, I will not make that mistake. Another thing is the strip. It is narrow and has a brick wall beside it. Matt was the ref and he was constantly trying to get people to fence in the center of the strip. There was the odd brick wall touch now and then and I guess he was trying to avoid that. I don’t have a problem with the brick wall. I think it ads character. In a club in Wilmington, there is a beam that runs across the strips and is a bit low. That was the last tournament I fenced in we had to ref out of pools. I watched the strip mostly and for floor and toe touches. It did not occur to me there would be floor hits on a beam. After one touch like that, it added a element of interest to reffing the bouts. But…….I digress. The last time I beat this kid from State, I used the strip. He is left handed and I would suck up against my left hand side of the strip. This puts us at the same distance as a right hander versus a right hander. Left handers have a distance advantage because they do not have to deal with the lesser distance caused by right handers angle of attack. This young man would also try to correct the fighting line and I would sometimes nail him when he tried to make the change to my fighting line. I should mention at this point that what I just wrote is some low level thinking and does not hold any value against more experienced people. It just worked on this kid. I should also mention that I doubt any decent coach would buy into my thinking here. You close one door, you open another. All I know is it worked on this guy before, but I could not use it on him this time.
To recap: I lost to a U and a A and E. I beat two Ds and a U. I don't see a real pattern there.
After my lack luster pool, I was ranked 19th out of 33 fencers. (I think. I need to double check the results when they come out.)
On to DEs.
I wasfacing the guy ranked 14th. Esteban? I had fenced him before at a tournament at State and he ate my lunch that day. It was a really good bout. In the first three minutes, he lead….I lead….we caught up…I took the lead by one…he took the lead by one. It was nip and tuck. I like those kinds of bouts. Of course I like it when I just beat the tar out of some one as well. So in the first three minutes the score ended 12-11. At this point there was a one minute break and things went south after my opponent had coaching. And...... I was done for the day. His coach came by (Gerhard) and told me that he had coached him and told him that when I lifted my blade to wait for me to lower it and take it in four. It was nice of him to come by and tell me that. My coach told me, that I was doing well against a young guy and that my hair looked good…. even sweaty. That was nice, but not nearly as effective advice as my opponent got. ( I should mention, I was hot as hell, but my endurance was better. So…Yay!)
And...... I am done for the day.
The Mid-South people have done a good job fixing up their space. It is not yet complete, but is a work in progress. I know this. I suspect after having their tournament they will have noticed several things that they might want to address.
If Matt reads this, I am going to put out two little things that no one else will mention.
Remember the brick wall strip I wrote about? I had a weapon that failed a shim test. It was confiscated and placed up against the brick wall and the tip dropped down between thegap in the wood floor and the brick wall. It was wedged there when I went to retrieve it and my tip was sand papered with brick. Not a good look. There needs to be some quarter round molding there. A shim will fall there or something someday. Sometimes I get this stuff for free. If I do I will snag some for the project.
Also, there needs to be hooks in the changing rooms and bath rooms. Okay…not many places do that, but would be a nice cheap touch. If I find some of those for free and I might have some….I will send them down.
Nice club…good weekend.
Gray Epee …over and out. Well...maybe not. This might be continued.