Friday, December 26, 2008

Felt Like I Should Post

It has been a bit sense I posted.

I will use the standard "holidays" excuse. It's an old trick.....but it just might work. Not as well known is the " find something on You Tube and slap it on the blog " trick. You can do that when you feel like you should have posted.

Last Time I Fenced

The last time I fenced was over a week ago. It was Coach Miller's last group lesson of the year. As usual, it was a good lesson. We only had five people that night. Coach ended by noting how we had grasped the idea of small tight actions. ( Words to that effect.) I will not go into it, but it was complimentary. But what was more interesting to me was the comment he made about the ages of fencers. He noted the difference between young and adult ( He used the word adult rather than vet to be kind.) fencers and the time and way in which they learn. As you can imagine, it is a subject of interest for me.

I have often wondered about Coach and the way he teaches. Coach is in a very unique position. He has spent over forty years working with ( primarily) one age group. And while he works with children and vets as well, the main focus of his life is on the college age fencer. That is his primary job.

I had wondered if he took a "one size fits all" approach to teaching. Just a couple of sentences that Wednesday night let me know that he recognized the differences and most likely makes some adjustments. However, as becoming technically proficient and autonomic memory are a big part of the base for his instruction and something everyone needs regardless of IS also a "one size fits all" approach. It seems simple, but it is something I had thought often about. I think I understand now.

Sadly, The Lady of the Lake Did Not Hand It to Me.

I got a new epee for Christmas. It is an expensive one. The thing about it is, I am honest enough with myself to know that I somehow think that by getting a more expensive epee, I am going to magically fence better because of it. I know that is not true. I know it and yet I do it any way. Fencers do goofy things like this. I know people that if they did well in a tournament and they had a hot dog before they fenced, would swear by eating hot dogs before a tournament. It is not logical, but it is the way things often are.

One at a Time?

I had hoped that some of my fencing family could get together for lunch or dinner prior to the holidays, but it seemed impossible to get everyone together at one time. Maybe we can do something prior to New Years Day.

Not Trying to Fight with Matt......But I Don't Buy it

Over the holidays I read a post by Matt Cox concerning the state of the Division. (I am all but positive Matt wrote this. There was no name on the post.) There were things that I agree with wholeheartedly, like having fencer parents as Division officers. There were things I did not agree with. For example, those fencer parents being able to count on help to make up for their lack of knowledge....or help in general. I have seen nothing to make me think that is true. Just the opposite.

I think that the best Division officers would be a bunch of worker bees that know that they can count on each other to be worker bees. Where these people come from could be any where as far as I am concerned, but that would be the best prerequisite. I do not think there will not be much in the way of help forthcoming. Criticism... so much. Why someone would want to be a Divisional officer is beyond my understanding. On the other hand, I can't understand what makes a person want to be a ref either.

I also do not see it as a Divisional role to " create a sense of community". I think a sense of community is a a good goal, but if it can happen through a Divisional effort, I do not see how.
The Division is separated by a number of things, like all divisions. (Weapons, ability; age;gender and on and on.) There are people that compete on a National level and those that never compete outside of their own club. As an example, there are clubs that do not fence sabre or offer it in their club sponsored tournaments. It would be difficult for saberist to develop a sense of community with that club. There is nothing wrong with that. It is what it is.

My point is that a sense of community does not come from the Division. While there is hopefully a sense of community within every club, that does not help make a sense of community within the Division.

A fencer/fencer parent creates that " sense of community" within the Division for his/her self. You work a attend help with Divisional do your best to be courteous.... and no one can do it but you.

Quit Looking at Me!

There is a small pile of club epee body cords and a club weapon laying next to me as I write. They have been there a while and they are pleading with me to get off my lazy butt and work on them. I see images of small children having to stop bouting, while we change out their body cords and test ancient club weapons. They look up at me with big Japanamation eyes and I take the body cord over to my kit and tell myself I will quickly repair it and bring it back to club.

I have sworn to myself I will have it done before club starts back. Maybe if I write it here it will be more like an oath and thus more binding.

The only down side to epee is keeping your equipment working. I know that these things could be better engineered to not require so much constant attention. My son, Sam , is a mechanical engineer student ( junior) at UNC-C. Perhaps I can press him into service.

I am a really poor armorer.

I suspect it is like like the blues. You have to suffer to be able to sing the have to fix equipment ( suffer) to fence epee.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Heading Toward More Holidays

Tuesday: I did well in my private lesson with Coach Miller, getting through twelve drills in 13 minutes. Of course, when I play the " What was Coach REALLY thinking game " on the ride home it could be that he just wanted to end the year with a positive note. He will build you up sometimes. None the less, I felt pretty good about it Guess it worked.

Wednesday: Good group lesson. Next week Coach is in Florida, so it will be open fencing.

Friday: I went to the "Y" to do battle in getting Coach's money. I had a plan. I got conformation that my company had cut a check to the "Y" for $500.00 ( a grant for me to use because I volunteer there) I beat the check there and asked if they had gotten the check. They had not. They like talking to people who give money, so they came down and talked to me.( In fencing terms, I offered an invitation.) That is when I requested they use that check to pay Coach. What could they say? I think we have this ironed out now.

Saturday: I fenced at a CFFA tournament in Wilmington. I finished second in pools. I missed being first by one indicator. I should point out that it was an easy pool. So no big deal there.

There were 20 people in the epee event and I was seed 6th after pools. Slightly higher than the original seed.

In my first and last DE I fenced a tall kid with long arms from SNB. I would guess by the hair cut that he is in the militarily. John F. who was seeded 11th. Shortly in to the bout I was down by seven points. I rallied a bit, but could not catch up. He was ahead and I had to attack. He liked to step back and counter ( my game) and I just could not reach him. (Nice work Meridith.)

Looking at the field, I would have guessed that anyone in the top eight original seed had a shot at medalling. I thought I was one of those with a shot. Oh well! As Sharon ( Nicole's mom) would say....." Sucks for you". That always makes me smile. You would just have to see her say it to understand. ( While I am thinking about Sharon. I would like to point out that often when I am at tournaments, I am in the company of three dark haired beauties and I just feel WAY or loose. Where the heck was my support?!)

In my last tournament I thought something clicked and I might be leveling up. After my bad showing perhaps this is not the case. On the other hand I am going to look at the next 2 or 3 events and see how I do. Then I will try to come to some sort of conclusion.

On my way back to our beach house from the tournament, I stopped at the ocean to reflect on the day. ( Read reflect as sulk.) I think I got it out of my system. I thought I was over that sort of thing. I should try to " man up" a little myself.

I talked to my wife ( Anne) about my mediocre showing at the event. She said I should be proud at my age to be out there competing. I thought about that for a long time. I know she meant it to be supportive, even though to me it sounds a little left handed.

I still think I have some fight in me. I hope I am not fooling myself.

Guess I will see what the tournaments in 2009 bring. Hey....I am having fun. That should be the primary goal. Anything else is gravy.