In a decisive moment, I think: one, two-three, slow, fast-fast, then a double advance lunge. I fall short. Quick retreat and a remise.
I feel the click of my tip on my opponent's chest guard that follows the swish of a successful disengage. I hear a “Touché to my left,” and a renewed confidence sets in. I smile, I breathe heavily. A salute to my director, a shake of my opponent’s hand, a relieved glance at the machine reading 5-4, and I walk off the strip, greeting my team and my coaches with a victorious smile.
Fencing is a unique sport. When fencing is mentioned, one may have the image of medieval knights fighting on horses, bearing shiny swords.
But that couldn’t be more wrong. Although it did originate from the duel, fencing has evolved significantly since then. There are three weapons you can fence with: foil, which is my weapon, saber and épée. Each has different rules, but they all revolve around the same concept: to stab or slash your opponent, earning the winning number of touches before they do.
From fencing, I’ve gained so much more than just exercise and being a part of a sports organization.
This season has taught me a great deal about patience, trust and camaraderie. After lots of preparation and testing, I earned a starting spot on my high school team as a seventh-grader. But a constant pain in my knees, leading to patella tracking syndrome, suspended my first season on the high school team.
Two weeks off, followed by another two weeks off, followed by yet another two weeks off still didn’t seem to do the trick. Neither did physical therapy, acupuncture, or chiropractic and orthopedic care seem to be enough to help me heal.
Although, through it all, I’ve had to stay patient and trust that my treatments are making a difference — all will turn out OK. The support of my team has helped me to realize that even while I am not fencing, I am still a part of the team, just like anyone else. I have to be patient during recovery and remember that next season will surely be more successful!
Maria Lennon and Erica Schultheis’ writing club, Candlewood Middle School, Dix Hills