Chapter Five: Hitting Bottom

I went to visit Brhet at home the next day after school. Turns out we got lucky: He got hit in the corner of the eye, not on the pupil. A few centimeters to the left, and he really could have been blinded permanently. As it was, all he was going to get was the nickname of "Sparky the Pirate" for a few days because of his bandage. He was back in school within a few days and practicing with the team again in two weeks.

We had our first regular season matches around this time, and we were really struggling without Brhet in the lineup. After weeks of pleading with me to switch to epee, Coach finally just up and forced me. I absolutely hated it. My style relied on right-of-way to work, and the free form epee was absolutely killing me. I happened to be good at it--possibly better than I was at foil at the time-but I just didn't enjoy it at all. After a week or so of constant begging on my part (and after realizing how utterly unhappy I was), Coach let me go back to the foil team. The damage, unfortunately, had already been done...

While I was hacking away at epee, Coach had needed to fill the voids in the foil lineup that Brhet's injury and the addition of the epee team had created. Jung took over the 1st spot, Jordan Zolan took 2nd, and Raquel Madar was given the final spot.

Jordan's appointment I didn't mind. We became friends through the team and always worked together whenever we had any sort of partner drill (we weren't yet good enough to have to work with beginners). We were also completely dead even in terms of skill at this point. He deserved to get his shot, and he did.

Raquel, on the other hand, was a loose cannon. She didn't fence you, she hurt you. One of my friends on the Garden City team, Dan Stravino, got hurt so badly that he had to be taken out of the lineup for the rest of the day after his match with her. Every time I mentioned her name after that, his eyes would kind of glaze over. Coach, for some reason, thought that this made her good. It didn't. Once you got past her wild swings and slashes, there really wasn't much skill underneath. I knew that Coach didn't really like my more passive style, but this was outright ridiculous--in all the times we had fenced, Raquel had never beaten me. Not one single time.

I figured after a match or two things would work themselves out. They didn't. Raquel didn't win a single bout on varsity. I knew it wasn't my place as a lowly sophomore to question these things, but I found out that Brhet and Nirav (the captains of the team at this time) had been pleading to Coach continually to take her out and give me a chance. Six matches into the season, Raquel was still in the lineup. She also still didn't have one win. But, a brief aside from this to detail Oops #4, which happened right around this time period.

December 25th, Christmas Day. Brhet goes sledding with one of his brothers in a nearby park. All goes well until he decides to stand up on his boogie board as he goes down the hill one time, to see if he can go faster. He did go faster, until he fell and broke his ankle. In an ironic twist, when he showed up to practice in a cast the next day, Coach thought the injury was another practical joke.

At the next match, Coach finally gave me my shot on varsity. I went 2-0. I stayed on varsity until the end of the year in the number three spot and ended up 5-1.

Brhet slowly recuperated and started practicing with the team again in late January. He came back into the lineup in our last match of the season…on epee. It required a lot less movement and was pretty much all he was able to handle. We finished the season 6-4 and got third in the conference, which no one was really upset about because of all the mishaps.

Unfortunately, we finished in 3rd at the counties as well. I went 3-2 in the 3rd foil spot (barely missing qualifying for the individual foil finals), but another devastating loss to Wheatley and a bad showing in the pool round by our lord and savior Brhet pretty much crippled our efforts. And, just to rub it in, Hewlett won the damn championship again. But, again, just to end the season on a good note, Brhet won the individual championships (after just narrowly qualifying for the finals because of his dismal pool round)--this time on epee. He became the first person in county history to win both the foil and epee championships in different years. Of course, the article in the newspaper about it failed to mention that it was impossible previously because there was no epee in the county, but who's counting?

Up to RimRod's Fencing Autobiography
Back to The Eye Poke Incident
Forward to Chapter Six: Thunder

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