Chapter Fourteen: Home Stretch

Back to the bad start the season was off to. We really, really, really didn't want to come in 3rd place again. I was switching over to epee half the time we did electric fencing to try to help them improve, but to no avail. It seemed like the better they got at fencing each other, the worse they got at fencing other teams. The other half of the time, I was working intensively with Jason to get him comfortable with his skills and his number three spot.

We steadily improved, and early in January we heard the news that Hewlett, a weaker team at this point, had almost pulled out an upset victory over Garden City. We got through Great Neck first, beating them for the first time in two years and giving me my first personal victory against their star fencer, Allison Toy, in four years. We went to Garden City with blood on our minds, but we promptly fell apart and got blown out. But, the win against Great Neck was enough to pull us into 2nd place going into the counties (the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers started out with bonus points in the counties, and we wanted every edge we could get).

I missed my first and last match in four years late in the season. We were fencing Wheatley that day, and before the match we were scheduled to take our team picture for the year. I woke up at about three in the morning and headed straight for the toilet to throw up. My alarm went off at 7:30 for school, and I had a repeat performance. I had a really nasty stomach virus, and I could barely get up out of bed for most of the day. I hadn't missed a single competition in four years--I had missed less than five practices--and I was pretty devastated. I felt a little better in the afternoon, and I tried to convince my mom to let me drive in and at least cheer for the team from the sidelines. She balked at that one, and it's a good thing she did--half an hour later I was back over the toilet. I got a phone call at about 4:30 PM. Coach had sent Craig to call me, because no one knew where I was and Coach thought I was actually dead. He couldn't think of a single other reason why I wouldn't be at the match, and he was pretty much right. The kicker was that I felt totally fine the next day, and I showed up to practice the next day with nary a scratch. Coach joked that I must've made the whole thing up and was ribbing me about it through the whole practice--until I almost vomited on the gym floor. That was the last time he ever questioned me when I said I was injured or sick.

The last two or three days of the season, I was working with Ullman pretty much non-stop…he was getting damn good, and his style was close enough to mine (I wonder why) that it I was improving just as much as he was by doing it. Hell, he even started standing en garde incorrectly in exactly the same ways I did. It was an eerie mood at the Milky Way awards--eight or nine of us were seniors, and we were realizing that it was our very last practice. I had been bringing a camera with me to practice for the last few days and have some great shots to remember the team by (not to mention about twenty pictures of Adam Zacharias beating up Mitch on the commons).

Up to RimRod's Fencing Autobiography
Back to Chapter Thirteen: Hopping Mad and Mad Hopping
Forward to Chapter Fifteen: End of Line

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