Sunday, August 24, 2014
Last weekend, I fenced in my first tournament of the season. I did fairly well. Not great. Fifth in a field of twenty.
After the event, we went out to dinner. A friend mentioned my training partner and stated that some people think we are married. My training partner, is a woman. We do bicker like an old married couple. I think sometimes that is a sign of affection.
We have known each other and supported each other for eight or nine years. We both started fencing at 51.
Starting fencing at 51 is more difficult than you can imagine. Not that you can't imagine a lot, but why would anyone try to imagine this. In most cases you are fencing with kids. You are the oldest one in your club. You are most often older than the coaches. The age gap isolates you, in so many ways, that it is (for a lack of a better word).....lonely.
So here you are. You are 51 years old and you find this passion called fencing. It consumes you. Yet the isolation caused by your age, eats away some of the joy. The frustration of competing against people decades younger frustrates you. The frustration of competing against veterans that have decades more experience frustrates you. You live in a "dead zone" of fencing where a lack of quality instruction handicaps you. How long before this eats away your passion for fencing and you slowly exit the arena?
Now imagine that a year or so into your start of fencing, that someone your age and with your passion for fencing joins this little recreational fencing club. What are the odds of that? You talk. You become friends. Your personalities are so different that you compliment each other. One's strengths off shadows the others weakness. You share your frustration. You share your knowledge, causing each of you to learn faster. Your desire....your need.....causes you to drive hours and hours away to seek better quality instruction. You pull each other out of the depression caused by poor performance and rejoice and share in those times when you do well. You have the most important thing a late blooming vet fencer can have. A friend.
I do not believe in fate or destiny. Yet, sometimes I am tempted to believe.