Chapter Three: "Home"coming

I returned to Camp Pocono Ridge that summer, in what would be my final stay there. I was a Counselor-in-Training, so I was assigned a bunk of twelve-year-olds that I had to supervise in the morning, but I was free to take my electives in the afternoon like a normal camper. To fencing I returned!

I was a bit apprehensive about it, since I knew that the rules that Sean "invented" were simple at best and just plain wrong at worst. The problem with Sean, though, is that he really doesn't like being wrong. When someone would be directing a bout, Sean would often "correct" the director and make them change the scoring even though he was on the opposite side of the room at the time and probably saw the action wrong. One of my 12-year-old campers--bless his soul--once stood his ground and defended his call, and Sean very nearly threw him out before I intervened.

Sean knew that I had taken up fencing in high school, so he probably knew that I also knew the correct rules. While I told my friends who were in the elective with me about it, I never said anything to the group out of respect (and let's not forget fear) for Sean. I didn't want to change my fencing style, though, because I knew it would hurt me next season if I did. So, I did the best I could and just hoped I was overpowering enough to get the point no matter how they decided to score it.

That little plan backfired a few times, though. Most notably, when I was fighting a girl named Sari at one point during the summer. I was used to going at full speed no matter what (Coach Meiners demanded no less, rightfully so), but I forgot to take into account that these people were almost completely unskilled. I was using the camp equipment, and the foil I happened to pick up that day was unusually stiff--they're supposed to have some bend in them as not to seriously hurt the opponent. This girl was a beginner, and I hit several complicated running attacks to her four and seven targets (right upper and lower body, the main frontal target in fencing) right off the bat. I thought everything was going just famously, until we realized that Sari was crying under her mask. I ended up bruising her ribs--and I barely missed puncturing a lung. I got very loud and clear instructions from Sean to slow it down a bit after that.

Color war was interesting that year, as I suddenly got better at sports for a couple of days. It was like something out of a fairy tale, and I suddenly found myself in the starting lineup of just about everything because I was such damn good luck--I hit a game-winning line drive double in softball to win the game, hit a couple of critical three-pointers in our basketball game, and even managed to pull off a miracle soccer goal in overtime. It became kind of a running gag, like someone was giving me back all the ability I'd been cheated out of for the last fifteen years in a single four day burst. And, I went out in a blaze of glory by winning my color war fencing match by a perfect 5-0 score.

Up to RimRod's Fencing Autobiography
Back to Chapter Two: Snatching Defeat
Forward to Chapter Four: Downward Spiral

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