Hoo boy.

Perhaps the first competition was just a case of beginner’s luck. Competition #2 didn’t go nearly as well.

As I mentioned before, the event was a team relay. Each team would send a fencer into combat for a bout up to 5. Afterward the next member of each team would swap in for a bout up to 10, with the points from the first bout carrying over. Thus, if the first bout ended 5-3, the first team would only need to score 5 points while the second team would need to score 7 points to win. This would be repeated for a total of nine bouts, with the final bout being up to 45.

Once our matchups were posted, a female sabreist who was helping us out looked at us grimly. Apparently we’d been exceptionally unlucky in drawing our opponents.

The first team we faced was the University of Toronto’s B team. It was a B team in name only though, as in reality it was hardly inferior to U of T’s A team. The #2 ranked sabreist in Ontario was on this team, as was one of the better sabreists who I recognized from my ill-fated venture into U of T’s fencing program three years ago. To make a long and painful story short, we were absolutely outclassed. In my first segment which came up when we were down 5-1, I managed to put up 4 points on my opponent before he could score his five, but that was the most success I would have all day. In retrospect I should have done better against this opponent – he was the one weak link on this team.

In the end, we lost by something dire like 45-14. The last point had me up against the #2 ranked fencer in the province, and I stood no chance. On the final point he did some crazy jumping strike to show off. Highly unsportsmanlike, but not illegal. To his credit he apologized afterward, but it was still a lame thing to do on his part. Congrats bro, you defeated the #123rd ranked sabreist in Canada (I’m nationally ranked now, dontchaknow).

The second match was against Western’s A team. I really don’t have anything positive I can say about this matchup. It made our first match against U of T look impressive by contrast. We lost 45-6. By the end I was extremely frustrated, and that didn’t help my performance at all.

I admit that I lost my cool at one point. My opponent had hit me unnecessarily hard in the face. The masks we wear are made out of solid stuff so it’s not like I felt the impact at all, but he hit me hard enough to knock my mask loose and that set me off. As I walked back to my starting line I kept thinking ‘Fuck the next point. I’m just going to belt this guy as hard as I possibly can.’ And so as soon as the referee said “Allez!” I sped towards him and put all my force into whacking him. I lost the point (he tagged me first), but I won the moral victory as I saw him shake out his shoulder prior to the next point.

Third and final bout was a must-win against McMaster. We didn’t win. I think we put up 12 points.

The one piece of good news is that we didn’t come in last place overall. That distinction went to the Queen’s D team. Upon seeing the final rankings, me and my fellow C-teamers burst into a chorus of “We’re not the worst! We’re not the worst!”

There was fun to be had, but it was a long and frustrating day. Let’s hope the last tournament before Christmas (November 30th) goes better.

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