Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fencing Overload

I just spent the last week immersed in fencing. Six and a half out of seven days were spent within a cavernous convention center watching ARG, ARG's mates, Olympians and complete strangers fence. I have had enough of fencing for a while.

One of the many strange aspects of national tournaments is that ARG becomes very, ah, focused while he is there. In other words, he is far less interested in conversing with his mom than in watching people fence and talking with other fencing folk. Most of the many hours spent in the hall of clashing weapons and screaming fencers I am alone.

I have figured out that it is a good thing to bring a book. Or a newspaper. Or both. I sit and read as much as possible. I dare not stand around because the floors are concrete - ouch! The back kills after a day or two of standing and walking on that.

Chatting with fencing parents is nice too. The vast majority of them are sincerely nice and interested in everyone doing well. But since our only connection is fencing, you can guess what we talk about - you got it! Fencing! So in addition to watching fencing, and being surrounded by fencing I got to talk about fencing for a week. Mind you, I always enjoy talking about ARG. What mother doesn't want to talk about her child? But there is only so far I can go with that without being obnoxious.

The big "take away" I learned from this year's Summer Nationals is that fencing tournaments are truly random. Who you fight in Direct Elimination completely determines how high you place - and there seems to be little rhyme or reason to it. You could face the  #87th or #8th ranked fencer depending on how everyone did in the pools.

Example: one 12 year old kid made the podium (top 8) in U16, but placed 17th in Y14, and only 6th in Y12. Making the podium in U16 is very, VERY hard (usually). But this year the number one and two seeded fencers didn't even make top 8 due to an unfortunate meeting of very good fencers very early in direct eliminations.

Another example: a kid who ARG can crush placed 11th in DIV2 Mens Sabre, while ARG ended up 33rd. It all depends on who you face in DE's. Could be hard. Could be easy. You just don't know. Hubby said we should just send ARG to as many tournaments as possible to increase the odds that the randomness will be in his favor more often. Oy.

I've ranted before about how expensive fencing is. But mostly, it is the travel that costs. And because the national (lame-a%#&) organization mostly places national tournaments in the middle of the country (in beguilding locales like Milwauke, Cincinnati & Kansas City) the airfare is high. No cheap flights like you could get to NYC or Boston.

I could go on about how disgustingly HOT Atlanta was, or how very FAR we had to walk to get to the venue, or how distressingly SLOW the events were run, but I won't.

I'll end on a positive note.

Are you ready?

ARG placed 5th in Y14 Mens Sabre!!!!!!!

5th. In. The. Nation.  Wooooot! Wooooot! 5th out of about 140. Yes!

That day I spent 95% of the time in worry/anguish/anxiety/terror and 5% in jubilation/relief/pride. Whew! What a ride.

I'm so proud and happy that ARG has been rewarded for all his very hard work and dedication. And I will try very hard for the next few weeks to not brag constantly about my AWESOME son and how GREAT HE DID!



Cathy said...

He did SO WELL!!! Congrats!!
That day I spend 95% of the time in worry/anguish/anxiety/terror and 5% in jubilation/relief/pride. Whew! What a ride." I have SO lived that. Next time I'll try to talk less fencing lol and we'll have to try more FOOD. :)

Sue said...

Cathy - you are great just the way you are - but more FOOD sounds good. :)

HaynesBE said...

Congrats to Andrew----and to you. Being a support person is hard work!