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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Back in the knickers again

I've finally managed to get myself back to the fencing salle. Oh. Did I never mention that I fence? Not well. But better Tuesday than I did last week. And better last week than over the summer (which was not at all, which equals 'horribly'). I tried, and failed to qualify for the summer nationals held right here in San Jose in July, and I haven't really fenced since those qualifiers in the spring.




I'm an intermittent, below-average, fencer. I get beaten very badly by very good fencers, and I beat very bad fencers very badly, and I get lucky sometimes against very good fencers, when they don't know anything about me or how I fence: a lot of beginner's luck is "beginner's unpredictability".


I had a coach in San Diego who would drive this lesson home in spectacular fashion. He would tell the story of a fencing tournament he entered in college, back in the late 50's. His team was fantastic, and his coach scouted their NYU opponents pretty thoroughly. So he knew who he'd be going up against and how to exploit his weaknesses, what to be wary of, and generally how good he needed to be. But at the last minute there was a roster change and a newcomer, an unknown, a young skinny kid he knew nothing about stepped up on the strip against him. And my coach got beaten. He lost a bout he was supposed to have won easily, and he was knocked out of the tournament. It was so humiliating and embarrassing for him that he never forgot that punk kid, and his hatred for him, and his warning against being comfortable in assumptions was passed down to his students with the name whispered, never uttered with a full breath...


....Neil Diamond....


Neil Diamond, folks. Taught my coach all about songs sung blue.


And now my fencing is all mixed up with Neil Diamond. I secretly want to be Neil Diamond. Not the singing Anti-Christ (as Emily calls him); but the dark horse epee fencer who breezes into a tournament, unknown and unheralded, and takes down some arrogant snot.


And then I'll give it all up for a singing career.

18 comments:

Andria and Co. said...

I followed you over here from Twitter, thinking that you meant you had put up a fence, when you said fencing.
Yeah, I need to go to sleep.
But, I am glad that you talked about this kind of fencing... I think fencing is sexy. Potential getting stabbed- maybe I should talk to my husband about picking up a new hobby. ;)

for a different kind of girl said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Fencing. I think it's cool. I like watching dudes do it. I don't know if they're good or bad at it. There's just something about watching it that makes me feel a wee bit high class.

But instead of all that....

WTH!!!

Can I pretend that you wrote this and gave the big old hearty shout to the God of Rock because I just tossed his name in a tweet to you? Because that would make me all happy and swoony, and, I gotta be honest, I don't think the level of swoon I give you here is on par with some of the swoon you get from others. I sometimes have chats with Neil about this concern I have. In my mind. But here's the rub - no one cares at all, not even the chair! That's what he told me. "You are, you said," he says.


Anyway, here's some swoon. And some babbling. You. Neil. Forever for me. Forever in blue jeans, baby. Turn on your heartlight. All that. :)

Twenty Four At Heart said...

What a cool hobby. Yes, I'm picturing Zorro and the like. How did you get started?

Manager Mom said...

I am trying to get The Boy into fencing. My own father was close to qualifying for the Olympics back in the day, and The Boy spends most of his time re-enacting elaborate lightsaber battles.

I don't think he's getting an art scholarship anytime soon so I'm hoping fencing could be his ticket.

CT Mom said...

Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond fenced? Never knew ...

I will raise my glass to you when we sing along with Neil at the 8th inning break at Fenway Park.

Jenni said...

neil daimond was a fencer? i had no idea. it makes me wonder what else i don't know about neil diamond. probably a lot.

Elisa said...

Neil Diamond? I get the metaphor, but are you sure you want to be Neil Diamond in any way, shape or form?

I would say good luck, except I'm not sure what the customs are in the world of fencing. Cool sport, though.

greg said...

nnnoooooo shhhhiiiitttt?

neil was a fencer?

wow.

i always said neil was punk rock...

Sam said...

My 3 year old used to back the dog into the corner with his sword we bought him from Sea World... does that count as fencing? I didn't think so.
I can't help lovin' me some "Sweet Caroline". I'm hooked, I inserted the link in a post as a joke, and it went from there. Now I know quite a bit of his music, and I"m scaring my husband.

Redneck Mommy said...

Gah.

I'll show you real fencing. Not your sissy sword swinging stuff, prancing around in unitards and masks pretending to be swashbuckling pirates and all that.

My fencing involves actual life threatening danger when you stumble nose to nose with a bear or a cougar. My fencing leaves your hands blistered and cut and so exhausted you can't hold a water bottle without shaking water everywhere.

Then again, thinking of those girly man hands of yours, you ought to stick with your fencing and leave the real fencing to the big boys and girls.

You couldn't handle real fencing.

Bwhahahahah.

(And enough with the prolific posting already Burns. You're making the rest of us look like slack asses.)

Ali said...

the only thing i know about fencing is the word epee. because it's in my crossword puzzle every damn day.
:)

PAPATV said...

Fencing always reminds me of big, long needles and I hate big, long needles. So with me there would be no beginner's luck. I'd go down in .2 seconds. I can hear the crowds now. Papa, sucks! Skinny needle pansy!

nomotherearth said...

I have trouble picturing Neil Diamond fencing. Huh. You learn something new every day. Even at my advanced age..

Mary Beth said...

I'm wondering if you wore your Blogger Super Hero cape with your fencing outfit, if it would give you an advantage? I don't know why, my mind's all over today. Anyhoo - I always thought fencing was kind of cool, but then I've had a thing for swords. I want one of those walking sticks that have the sword inside.

AEA said...

What would I do without these daily words of sage advice from the best blogger/daddy/philosopher/passive aggressive gender warrior/amateur fencer in the world? I think I would die. So thank you God. Thank you for Backpacking/Philosophizing/Blogging/Indignant Gender Warring/Fencing Dad.

Always Home and Uncool said...

I'd rather be Neil Diamond than Barry Manilow.

goodfather said...

Man in Black: Oh, there's something I ought to tell you.
Inigo Montoya: Tell me.
Man in Black: I'm not left-handed either.

Fencing is totally cool.

Tracey said...

Saw your comment on Headless Mom...checked out profile...I am an elementary school teacher and my husband went to college at Menlo...our dog is even named Menlo....small world