Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tooting My Own Horn (*long, self-centered post ahead*)

Giddy is a word that I can very very...very rarely use to describe myself. But I'll admit it here in front of God and everyone that on Sunday evening, yea, even unto Monday morning I was giddy. Did I come into a large inheritance? Win a trip to Tuscany? Accept a position as official marmot cuddler at the zoo? Nay, one simple little thing - I got an "E07" placed next to my name by making it into the round of 4 in Sunday's tournament. Certainly to everyone sensible, fencers and civilians alike, it is a trifling thing. Even a master of the sport said many times to me that "ratings mean nothing". So be it, I'm still excited.

There were two events Sunday. The first, an Open Mixed Epee had 33 competitors. In my pool, there were six fencers including a C, D, and an E. I tried really hard not to take the bouts too seriously. I am confident that my biggest downfall in a tournament is always my own mind. It was mentally exhausting to keep the terror at bay when the score was even, or I was behind, but I kept repeating my mantra, 'one touch at a time' and it seemed to work. I even came back from a one point deficit (after both my weapons failed before the bout started) to beat the D 5-4. In the end, I won three bouts and lost two and was very satisfied with that. Being satisfied with myself is a victory in itself. The DEs that followed were strenuous and I just barely won my first one 15-14. This is the first time I have ever won my first round DE! I was ecstatic. The day could've ended right there and it would've been a good one. I lost the next round to a B, but I don't think I made it overly easy for him and got 7 touches of my own. In the end, I was 12th out of 33 - the highest placing U and the highest placing woman. Had my teammate not knocked a C out of the top 8, I would've earned my E right then, but I'm happy that he did so well and not unhappy with my placement.

The second event was E and Under Epee and it still drew 25 competitors. My pool had 5, and only one E. I was not as happy with my performance in this pool and felt like the day was beginning to wear on me. I was 2 & 2, but thought I should've won at least one more. Perhaps the prior event had given me a false security. I ended up facing a slightly higher seed in the round of 16, but it was someone I had fenced earlier in the day and I knew what to expect. I went in a little reckless, trying too hard for the points and initially fell behind. Thankfully, his equipment was not cooperating and I had a few minutes to reflect and talk some sense into myself. I took it easier from there, waiting for his mistakes and taking advantage. For the first time, I made it to the round of 8. There was a teammate of mine waiting for me there. I knew that he could and had beat me in the past so I had to be on my game: the winner of this bout got the E. Bless their soul, a kind person reminded me before the bout of his strengths: He can be wild, but he's got a fast hand, watch your distance. I took it to heart, evaded his blade and managed to get the counterattack consistently. Not to say it was easy, though! Again, I had a first, and got to the semi-finals...and an E! My final competitor was a high school kid I had already beat in the pool. However, someone had apparently got a hold of him and his style had completely changed. I couldn't get the hang of the rhythm. I parried, but was out of distance for the riposte. I tried to get closer, but got nailed in the chest. I'm not sure what I should have done differently but at this point, it was nearly 8 hours since I started fencing at 9 that morning and the epee seemed about 3 pounds heavier. He was younger and faster and deserved his spot in the gold medal bout. I, personally, am in love with my third place medal.


Next up, lessons learned. For now, I'm still in my happy place.

No comments: