Sunday, October 4, 2009


(Former North Carolina governor's mansion in New Bern, NC)

Joseph Cadole Memorial Fencing Tournament

This weekend three old friends and I were having a "guys weekend". My brother and I have house at the coast and my friends like to fish, so we went there.

Fishing off a pier is not for me, so I left them on Saturday and went to fence at a tournament in New Bern.

There was a fair sized foil event going on when I got there, with around 16 fencers participating.

None of my teammates were with me, so I had to entertain myself by watching foil. I watched the RoW refs for a while to see if my call was like theirs.

I got bored with that pretty quick. Fortunately, there was something better to watch. There was a young girl fencing foil named Ellie Cooper. She has the nicest mixture of tight attacks and feminine athletic grace that it is just beautiful to watch. She moves like a dancer. It reminded me of the quote under the title of my journal," violence refined into beauty".

Pools started faster than I expected, so I never had a chance to warm up. There were 4 "E's" in the tournament , but only 9 fencers, so it was not a D1 event.

Skipping over a lot of meaningless details, I won and renewed my rating.

In the final bout I fenced a young man named Joshua Harvey. He is a handsome young man. (I always feel a little weird saying that...but he is.) He is also a real nice kid. After the bout, he came over and said, " I just want to shake your hand again".

We talked for a while.

In the bout I was down 14-12. I made a toe shot and a cuff shot to tie it up. In the end, he went for a toe shot and I did one of those unnamed (yet standard) moves were your feet jump back and your blade goes forward.

In the last two entries in my journal I have posted that I did not fence well. That was true this time as well.....BUT.....some times I made good actions. I guess that is progress.

I thought that I made some good clean moves, but you never know if that is what it looks like from the side lines. They could have been awful for all I know.

I thought a lot about how things look in fencing as I drove back to the beach house.

I thought about how people look after a bout when they come up to shake your hand. I hate it when they look ticked off. I like it when they have an air of grace and dignity in victory or defeat. I shoot for that. I wonder if I pull it off?

I had two strange things happen during this tournament that never happened to me before.

In pools, we began to double strip on the middle strips. These strips were to close together and the refs had to stand shoulder to shoulder. There was not more than 4 feet between strips.

I got a yellow card for turning my back. I heard the foil ref call halt. I thought my opponent must have scored and turned to walk back to the en guard line. I was winning big, so it did not matter.

In my first DE I was fencing the second oldest guy (after me). I would say 40ish. He was a pretty good fencer and we had a good bout going. I was a point or two ahead in the second period. During the break, I saw our fairly new ref having excited words with a young kid holding the timer.

It seems that our last period was 5 minutes long, rather than 3. The ref asked us what we wanted to do about it. I am winning and don't want to be a jerk and we were having a good bout, so I told them to just ignore it and go on. All I could think of as I walked to the line was, " I hope I don't loose because of that decision".

I turned it up a notch after that and won the bout with room to spare. So in the end, the decision may have helped me

Hey.....This was a small low rated tournament......NOT the Olympics.

On the drive home, I thought about a tournament I was in in Raleigh. We had to ref out of pools. I was reffing and was unfamiliar with the timer. The bout started and after the first touch, I realized the timer was not on. I just acted like I was looking at the timer for the rest of the whole pool bout. It seemed like it was over quick enough to be under 3 minutes. I never told anyone, until now.

These kind of things make you a bit more forgiving when a young man lets the time go by.


cobalt said...

Regarding timer foul ups, it's up to the ref to set the clock.

IMO, particularly in rating restricted events, you're going to have goof ups as you train officials, timers, etc.

The one person I'd get on the case of here is the referee. The ref can't be too weak about it. Just say there was a clock error and you're setting X amount of time on the clock, and run with it. The ref can make a judgement call regarding how much time is left(it's even in the rules).

Also as the ref, you've always got to be certain your facilitators are doing their job. When you give a young child that you're training a clock, you've better keep them close and keep an eye on them. Yes, it's fine to help increase a child's interest by giving them a small job. But will it help him if he's part of a fiasco? Or will he get burnt out faster? What if the fencers weren't so nice? Ref has to keep a close eye on things being done right, cause when it comes down to it, they're the ones on the hook. Not the facilitator. Take a peek down at the time pretty frequently.
Trust but verify :)

And grats on your win Jim!

The Gray Epee said...

I though about this as he was telling me the time was screwed up. My first thought was," You are lucky Toomey is not here or he would have ripped you a new one."

cobalt said...

LOL...depends on the situation...

Rating restricted tourney...I would probably come with the soft hand. It's a training tournament. Unless it's someone that needs to experience a "coach assault" for experience purposes...I'll be nice...

If this was a qualifier or there's a lot riding on it (A4's we Reeeeally want to win)... Game's on... ref can't make those kind of mistakes there, or at least they better be ready to deal with them.

Heck...I'd say 3/4 the time I come up there is just so my fencer calms down and focuses on the bout instead of a bad call. Better for me to risk the card than them.