quaker fencer

kathz isn't quite my name. I may be a Quaker. If I'm a fencer I'm a bad one and I don't do sabre. If I'm a Quaker I'm a bad one - but you've worked that out already. Read on. Comment if you like. Don't expect a reply.

Location: United Kingdom

Sunday, May 25, 2008

pistes or penalties?

It was Chelsea versus Manchester United in Moscow. And it was fencing night at the leisure centre. It wasn't a tough decision for me. I was feeling fit after a small excursion by bike. Besides, I'd got it all worked out. Big football matches mean low attendance at fencing so there would be lots of space on the pistes. The only question troubling me, as I approached the leisure centre, was whether there would be enough people to fence.

It was as packed as usual. "I thought everyone would be at the football," said the first person I met ... and the second, and the third. It became clear that, while the football fans had stayed home, everyone else - regular attender or not - had picked up their kit and headed to the leisure centre. We worked that out as we stood in line, waiting for a piste or just space on the floor.

At the beginning I was filled with energy - faster than usual and even, occasionally, accurate. I was very proud of hitting the chef on the leg. She is probably proud of hitting me quite a lot. In the intervals of fencing we discussed men who had annoyed us recently and wondered whether fencing would be a good way to express our feelings. The chef thought not. She reckons that too much anger and aggression damages accuracy. I can see her point but I mostly lose control of my blade because I'm tired or because my arm aches, not because I'm cross.

There wasn't much aggression in our fencing. I spent a short time being beaten (only 5-4) in foil by a very small 12-year-old boy, who I remember as a babe in arms. His target area is tiny. I persuaded another fencer to take him on, put my foil away and picked up my epee again.

Mostly I fenced the chef. My determination continued but, by the time we reached the electric piste, I was flagging. She got a few more hits than me and lots of the points were doubles.

Towards the end of the evening I had the chance to fence the doc, who has a light, accurate touch. I didn't do well. It wasn't just that he's much better than me. He's such an encouraging opponent that I sometimes do best against him. He always pauses to congratulate me on good hits. There wasn't much to congratulate this time. I could feel tiredness from the cycle-ride stealing up on me and reflected that I hadn't yet recovered my stamina since the fall. It was getting late too. I signalled that I could manage only one more point and.somehow ended with a neat hit to the forearm. I apologised to the doc for my tiredness and incompetence. "You ended on a nice hit," he said, encouragingly.

I got ready to go as fast as I could as the chef was waiting for the regular comedy of my attempt to mount the bike and cycle away while carrying three swords. (I must lend her my collection of Charlie Chaplin films.) As I was struggling out of my plastron, my phone rang. "One all," my friend reported. "They're going into extra time. If you get home quickly, you'll see the end of the match."

The match was still on when I reached home. The radio news announced that Drogba had been sent off and the teams were preparing for a penalty shoot out. I wondered if I should stand up, turn on the TV and watch. But I was too tired.

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Anonymous Katie said...

I felt there ought to be a comment. So I'd just like to say that your bike-mounting technique was very smooth this week. I was impressed.

10:06 pm  
Anonymous Katie said...

sorry -- just felt moved to comment again, as I didn't like the way it claimed to have '1 comments'. I think we are planning to meet tomorrow at about 8.30-ish, and you should come because otherwise Lucy will be disappointed and Anna will think you don't exist and are my imaginary friend.

10:26 pm  
Anonymous quakerdave said...

It was a great game, in spite of the fact that I detest both these sides (although I'd have John Terry on my team any day). Too bad it had to end on penalties, though. I hate penalties.

11:41 pm  

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