Monday, July 09, 2007

What a long strange trip.....

I've been thinking for quite a while how I wanted to write about my trip to Nationals, or if I wanted to write about it at all. But I think I can only help myself by doing so. And the results are a matter of public record anyhow.

Generally speaking, I will never return to Miami again. The humidity, the run down, dirty streets, bad food, the automatically applied gratuity and bad service, and the thumping bass till 5 AM all combined to make an absolutely miserable experience outside the doors of the convention center.

Inside the convention center, it was not so bad. The tournament seemed to be well run. Events started promptly and it wasn't too long a wait till DEs. Our Div 3 pool was actually the last pool to start, but we had a good time chatting until our 12 year old ref (who I saw later deeply involved in a game of Halo) showed up.

On a more personal level, the events became a struggle; a battle not between two ends of the strip, but between my mind and my body. I began the event confident and excited. This carried through my first pool (Div3) with four wins and two losses. But after a narrow loss in the round of 64 things went quickly downhill.

Gathering for the Div2 pool was apparently on a completely different planet. There were no friendly words, no good-natured ribbing. A row of cold, blood-thirsty opponents lined up against your intrepid kite-flyer (me). After losing (quickly) 5-1 to the girl that eventually won the pool, I was shattered. My tenuous confidence is easily rattled, and not easily settled.

It is endlessly frustrating that some of the things I value most - strength and an unflappable composure - are so slippery in the unsure fingers of this nascent epeeist. However, in the spirit of every problem having a solution, I'm sure I will continue to relive each nexus and turning point of last weekend, both mentally and on "paper" in the hopes for a happier return next year.

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