Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Junior Olympics Final Thoughts

Since there's not much more objective information I can give you about the JOs that you can't get more reliably somewhere else, I just wanted to record a few of my opinions about what went down at the Charlotte Convention Center over the weekend.

First is that fencing is a really exciting sport and I just love hanging out around it. I tried to impart this to every civilian who wandered too near. While I was blown off by some, others seemed to find humor in my earnestness - like the group of ladies who complained repeatedly that it didn't look anything like the movies and that the swords weren't being swung around near enough. I started to explain to them how that would open up far too much target, but decided instead to just say that sabre would be starting soon. Thankfully there were people who were genuinely interested and enthused by learning that fencing is actually a very popular sport. Most children, too, were pretty excited by the sight. So these few gems made my efforts worthwhile.

And speaking of children, at the Junior Olympics one is, of course, surrounded by them. Since every competitor is 20 or under, I cannot help but wonder at the level of single-mindedness of both the competitors and their parents. It would never even have occurred to me when I was under the age of 20 that I could take part in any kind of national sporting event. I was spread too thin, competing in a different sport every season until college. And even in college, when I went to the NCAA Cross Country Championships, it was only Division 3 of our conference, and not national. It seems that most of the kids recognized this event was a Big Deal™. Watching some Jr. Women's Epee, I felt awkward and out of place because the intensity level on the faces of these girls was startling. I love fencing and want to do well but the former always takes precedence over the latter. At a tournament you are likely to see me excited, giddy, sad, or frustrated, but it is much less likely I will be dispassionate and "in-the-zone". I wonder who these children will be later in life.

Lastly, the scene Monday night was so great. We had a huge group of Charlotte fencers and parents to help with tear down and I think we must have set some kind of record because we disassembled all 48 strips in less than three hours. What a cool bunch of people.

No comments: