Chapter Eleven: Journeyman

The individual season kicked off as soon as the school season was over. I went to a whole bunch of local competitions at Brentwood, whether they be qualifiers for something else or just a fun open tournament. These tend all to blur together, since I was seeing pretty much the same fencers at the events every week. I was becoming friends with just about all the Garden City fencers at this point, and for just about any Brentwood competition you could count on seeing the Serotkin/Kreidman/Wangner Tactical Control Center in the southeast corner of the gym. The first major competition I qualified this season for was again the North Atlantic Sectionals, this time held only forty-five minutes away in Ardsley, NY. For the life of me, I cannot remember how well I fenced there.

There was this one kid my dad and I started noticing around this time who was at just about every single Brentwood competition. No one had any clue who this kid was. He had long, frizzy hair and just looked all-around goofy. We called him Bozo the Clown, and Bozo was horrible. I mean, most of the rank freshmen on the Jericho team could have taken him easily. I don't know if he ever strung together two wins. But he'd show up week after week, bless his soul, and he never gave up. And everyone wanted to be in Bozo's pool. If I was one victory short of getting the seeding I wanted or just had a really bad day, I'd turn to my father and say, "Damn, Dad, where's Bozo when you need him?"

The biggie Brentwood competition of the season was qualifying for the Junior Olympics. I don't actually remember qualifying at all, but I do remember sitting stunned for the entire car ride home after realizing that I had just earned the right to go to a national competition! The real shock came with the qualifying letter itself--for the "privilege" of fencing at the JO's, there was an entrance fee close to two hundred dollars. That aside, though, the JOs was pretty much the only thing on my mind until the event itself.

The JO's were being held in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Not quite New Hampshire, but a good chunk of driving nonetheless. So, once again we loaded up the car and headed to scenic New England for the weekend. The details of what followed can be accurately summed up in the essay in the next chapter, written a few months after the competition for a class assignment (Hi Mr. Hartnett!). It should be a rather lively interlude, a gift from me to you to break up my boring usual dialogue.

Up to RimRod's Fencing Autobiography
Back to Chapter Ten: Winter Wonderland
Forward to RimRod at the Junior Olympics of Fencing

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