Wednesday, April 10, 2002

In my university daze, I used to fence ipee.

Most of my experiences with the sport were very good and from time to time, I miss the sport badly. Some of it though, was awful. Most of my awful experiences were directed related to the fact that there still exists a large number of fencing coaches who place very little value in coaching women in the sport.

Let me illustrate an example of such awfulness:
Sometime in the mid-90s I took part in OUIWAA (Ontario Women's Intercollegiate Athletic Association) fencing finals. Due to practical considerations, men's and women's fencing tournaments generally occur in the same gym with their various events spread over two days. This is the general practice for all fencing tournaments and this particular tournament was the grande finale of the varsity fencing season.

It was late in the second day of the tournament when men's foil event had concluded. While the women's epee (my specialty) was still ongoing, a meeting was called of all the coaches to decide the next year's event schedule. There was only one coach who thought that the meeting could wait and stood by his women's team. That's one. One. One of about ten universities (and incidently it was not the coach who's eponymous award goes to the women fencer who best embodies skill, style and sportsmanship).

Imagine how it would feel to train for an entire year in your sport of choice - to make it through a series of trials to make the provincial varsity finals - to get to the most important matches of that year - and to watch your coach leave the gym while you are still competing because, in his eyes, since the premiere's men's event is over, the tournament is already over.

On that day, I would have very much appreciated the existance of Fencing Sucks.

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