Saturday, November 14, 2009

Kansas City.

We're back! Actually we've been back for 5 days but it took me this long to get to my blog.

What can I say about our trip to Kansas City? (with the usual caveat of not being able to say anything really important for fear of offending anyone).

It was good.

No, seriously. It was pretty fun. But totally overwhelming for me (mentally, emotionally & financially).

Our flights out were on time with no problems. Does that even happen anymore? Fifty bucks for the cab to the hotel - ouch. The Marriot downtown was very nice. And thanks to my Dad fronting us some Marriot points, we got onto the top floor with access to that special room where rich people get to steal water, snacks and coffee.

I had to buy ARG a new lamé (ka-ching) and glove (ka-ching), but the rest of his gear passed inspection. We watched the girls fence Friday and I tell ya, it is a whole different experience being at a tournament when ARG isn't fencing. It is interesting. And fun. None of the girls we know did very well, unfortunately.

The days when ARG competed were soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
stressful for me. I just get so darn nervous! I have to make sure ARG gets where he needs to be on time. I have to chit chat amiably with other fencing parents while feeling like I need to barf. I have to keep score of ARG's pools, take pictures, carry backup cords & blade, hand him
water during his 1 minute break and cheer (discreetly).

My body completely tenses as I feel every blow he receives and try to magically help him score points by my efforts. Crazy. I was actually sore the next day. But I felt better after I saw another fencing mom jumping, dodging and lunging around the side of the strip while her son fenced. It's kind of like when I hold my breath while MiniMe is underwater at swim lessons. I don't know why I do it, I just do.

To be helpful to ARG I have to keep my cool, not show my nerves, and mostly be quiet throughout the tournament. And friends? That is just NOT my style. When I'm nervous, I'm chatty. You can imagine the mental gymnastics I do in my head to stay on task at a tournament.

In the end ARG did OK. Not great. Not terrible. Right in the middle. Somewhat anticlimactic.

But the testosterone levels at those national tournaments is overwhelming. You might think fencing is a courtly sport for pansies. Wrong. These guys are in top athletic shape. They have been training for years and they are passionate, focused and intense. There is A LOT of yelling going on. Mostly the fencers when they get a point. Sometimes the coaches yell. Oh, did I mention that most of the coaches are middle aged Eastern European or Russian men? Not exactly your warm and cuddly types.

I took one day off from the fencing frenzy to visit a very nice art museum in KC. By myself. ARG wanted to go watch the girls again. And that was fine, because the convention center was a block away from the hotel.

We went out several nights with all the families from our club. That was fun, but pricey. The BBQ in KC was awesome. Everyone is super nice. But everyone has their kids on the super competitive track with fencing, and so that is almost all that is talked about. That can get old after a while.

I'm glad we went. I didn't have to cook or clean for 4 days (ahhhh....) And I learn a lot about fencing, and what it will take for ARG to compete well on a national level. But that, is another post.


Beth said...

Thanks for the report. It's nice to read what is going on in your life. I can relate to the experience of empathetic breath-holding and muscle tensing---kinda like trying to hit the break while your kid is driving!

Cathy said...

Sue, your fencing mom experience is exactly the same as mine- when I tell Clarissa I'm tired after her day of fencing she just rolls her eyes. Then I tell her that I am there fencing every touch with her "what, you couldn't hear my heart pounding while you were on the strip??" There are so many highs and lows and variables (and drama!) but so far I think it's all been worth it. Hope you feel the same! :)

Sue said...

Beth - I bet I'll be grabbing the wheel when my kids learn to drive!

Cathy -Yes, it's been worth it. For many different reasons, not all fencing related.