Sunday, February 28, 2010

Old Spurt?

Carolina/Duke Meet


February 19th: I went to the Duke/Carolina Meet. It was in an interesting and totally different venue. The event was held in the Eddie Smith Field House on the campus of UNC. I understand it had been 20 years since this event had been held.

There was some great fencing in all three weapons. Olympic medalist Becca Ward in Sabre (Duke). Thomas from France in Epee (UNC). But, the most amazing thing for me to see was Joe Alter (UNC Freshman) in Foil. He is incredible, and he was on fire that night. The previous weekend he had finished 14th in Foil at the Junior Olympics. I remember him as a little kid who fenced at Touche in Charlotte. Suddenly, he is a god. Awesome!

Besides the action, I got to talk with a lot of people I have not talked with lately. Alex and Elizabeth (of course)......Susan....my favorite sabreist, Avonlea (always interesting conversation)....the list goes on. It was an evening well spent.

Mid-South Event

The next Saturday evening, I went to the Mid-South Gala to support their efforts and to check out Deb's good eats. Nice event! I got to spend a lot of time with Coach and Susan. I did not get to spend any time talking to Deb, as she was so busy. She was kind enough to convince me to stay for dessert, which was wonderful.

My favorite part of the evening occurred after we went through the serving line and discovered there weren't any places to sit. Henri and I were just getting settled on the floor, when Jeff came over and told us we should not be sitting there. He said, " Let me go run off some teenagers from this table. I love doing that." And, he promptly did. It still makes me smile.

Sunday, I fenced in the Mid-South Epee tournament. I knew it was going to be hard, and I did not see myself even making it to the middle of the pack. Still, I thought there was one guy I could take, and a couple of more if I was having a good day. Evidently. I was not having a good day. I finished dead last in a field of 12. It has been a good while since I finished last in a event. I am still sulking about that. Even listening to T-Bone Walker did not help much.

I had not finished dead last in a tournament in some time. It brings in to question my age and if I can still give a decent account of myself. I have always told myself," I will compete as long as I think I am giving a decent account of myself." It also caused me to reevaluate myself. It is very hard for a person to see what kind of fencer he is. Clearly, I am not as good or knowledgeable as I think I am. (Which is a shame, as I never thought I was that good or that knowledgeable.)

I acted as the Division observer for the Mid-South Foil event. Fortunately, it was a warm day and I could goof off outside. I really enjoyed watching Foil. (Who would have thought it?) It became clear to me as I watched, that I could never fence this weapon properly, but I am developing an appreciation for it.

I had hoped I would do better in this weekend's tournament at ASU and my confidence would rally. Sadly, the event was canceled and no emotional rally took place.

Classes and Such

In local fencing, I did not make it to club in Greensboro all week. My wife is having vision problems and cannot drive. She will have surgery this Tuesday and hopefully this will fix her right up.

I had to fence in Chapel Hill on Tuesday, as I had left a small kit of expensive equipment there the previous Tuesday, and I was worried about it. I had a good lesson.

I fenced and talked with Jordan for a while that evening. I had not done so previously. I thought she would need some space to find new friends on the UNC team. (Jordan is a freshman who studied with our little club in Greensboro and made the UNC team.)

Charlotte Fencing Academy Camp

As the ASU tournament was canceled due to weather, I found an opportunity to go to Charlotte Fencing Academy for one of their weekend camps. I was glad I finally had a chance to do this and would recommend it to anyone.

The drills and private lesson with Toomey were the best parts. I also finally got to play "The Game" which I heard so much about. I got creamed fencing the young fencers. I did not plan on winning, but I thought the score would be a bit closer. Again, it makes me wonder about the age thing.

In my private lesson with Toomey, I was having trouble with balance. I don't recall having this problem before. It could be that after "The Game" my knee was bothering me. I am also aware that one of the things you lose as you age is balance. Possible "old spurt"? I will be 58 in a couple of months.

Editors Note; An old spurt is like a growth spurt. But, not a good thing.

This weekend.....Divisionals. I looked at the list of guys who are registered. I am pretty much counting on a miracle to win one pool bout. Time to go flip through the blues CDs again.

On a related note,I just found the book "The Inner Game of Tennis". Perhaps this may help.

1 comment:

cobalt said...

I'm still laughing at the concept of "old spurt". I tend to feel those each time I bend my knees on a cold day, when I get a hangover easier, etc... Think I'm stealing that one.

Most of my lessons purposely mess with your balance. If I feel you're doing ok with part of the lesson, I'll start doing distractions to try to throw you off. Similar to your opponent in a bout. As I tell my kids in regards to my hand signals, "sometimes I lie". I'll give the correct hand signal but from outside their distance.

The basics are always there in any bout you watch. But a good epee fencer knows how to throw up noise to confuse you and throw you off balance. Your goal is to stay focused on what you're trying to do.(In simplified terms: Get in range, attack...if their blade is in the way, get it out of the way, attack.)

At a high level, it's all about convincing your opponent to make a mistake.