I rush down to the end of my strip.
So long as there is life on earth, we will never be able to please the insatiable appetite of the box. It continues to scream at me until I hook my umbilical chord up to it's life line.
I approach my opponent to test weapons, studying her confident face and bold stride. She's an A and she knows it. I wonder, as we salute and pull our masks on, just how could I use all that pride to my advantage?
Where is she weak? Everyone has their weaknesses. What are her strengths? Where do I have to be careful? What is she known for? What is she not expecting?
All these thoughts are racing through my brain as I assume my position behind the white line.
"Fencers ready? Fence!"
Barely a second and one light goes off. It mine! How did that happen? I don't even know! All I know is that the ref called my touch.
Another round, but this time two lights. It was mine! I knew it because I chased her all the way down to the end of the strip and nailed her when I got there. The attacker ALWAYS gets the touch. It's that wonderful thing called "right of way"!
Next time, it's her touch, then my touch, then hers and hers and now we're tied in a five touch bout. I'm tied 4-4 with a A rated fencer. That's not supposed to happen.
I start to panic. Inside my head, all the sirens are going off. "You're not supposed to be able to beat an A! You're not even rated yet!!!"
I get anxious to make that final touch, not at all confident in my own judgment. I hesitate. She finishes. The bout is over and the A saved her pride from being squashed by a measly little U.
I walk off the strip beaming from ear to ear. "I got four touches on and A!" Actually, all I really got was chewed out by the armorer.
"Don't be so impatient to get that last touch! You could have done it. Don't tell yourself you're not supposed to beat an A!!"
For the record, I will never be making that mistake again. When it's time to win the bout, I'm going to win it. I'm far more intimidated by the fury of my coach (and certain other armorers) who are tired of seeing me pass by golden opportunities then I am of big-headed A's.
I walk back to my bag and grab the rest of my equipment, headed for the other gym where the real competition begins- Direct Elimination. This is the part where the A gets to pinch off every single one of our dreams one by one.
I was tempted to say, "It's not fair!!! I'm only a U!" I can't say that, though. I can't say it because I gave that A a run for her money. She was really irritated with me by the end of the day. I was totally messing with her head. The last bout that I fenced her (the bout where she eliminated me) was totally epic.
I scored 7 touches!!! I hope she remembers it as the hardest E rating she ever worked for. It's not, but I'm entitled to my dreams.
What made the entire day was when my coach told me, "U's aren't supposed to get 7 touches on A's". Oh, yeah! That's me! Now I just have to get out there are make something of that compliment.