Carl introduced himself to our fencing community as a fencing parent, but after the kids headed off to college, Carl got busy training. Read about Carl’s recent experience at the Veteran World Championships…
Going to the Veteran World Cup in fencing is (I hope!) not just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but it was memorable and a great experience. In some ways it did not differ much from a NAC or Nationals, at least in my event. The level of fencing was fairly similar, except that there were no easy outs, so to speak; everyone I fenced was at least very good, and you had to be on the top of your game from the beginning. But on the highest level, no one stood out as superior to the competition at the NACs. [For instance, the Italian who eventually won was in my pool, and I had beaten him 5-3–though as y’all know, pools aren’t always the best indication of what will happen in a medal bout.] This was encouraging. On the other hand, I saw some really impressive 70s saber fencing, not at all slow or plodding but really vigorous and nice form. And the German who took the silver was 78! Most fun, of course, was the camaraderie of the fencing community (on the whole), all respectful of each other and rather friendly despite language barriers. If I was a real hobnobber like some of you, I could have come back with all sorts of useful contacts; still, even with my reserved interaction, I enjoyed meeting and getting to know a bit a number of fencers from around the world.
Then there is the whole international setting of the event, which, though quite a money drain for the American participant, makes it much more of an memorable event than otherwise. The Germans were their usual efficient selves in putting the events through, and the old Hanseatic town of Stralsund had some great places to visit and venues at which to eat and drink. Durham compares favorably in at least one aspect: the food truck scene is better! They had a slew of food trucks on the Neuer Markt the Saturday I was walking around the old town, and though I enjoyed their offerings, they couldn’t hold a candle to our food trucks! Go Bull City!!
Finally, I need to mention the great job my coaches–Jen and Jeff–helped prepare me for such events. I was somewhat disappointed in my result, but happy that I could put up a respectful showing among the nations, and this is due to the great coaching and mentorship this club has for all of us. And just as important to me, both my fellow vet fencers and you young’uns (i.e., pre-college) have helped very much prepare me and hone whatever is good that I do. As authors are wont to say in their acknowledgements, all the errors were mine alone.
Carl Badger (10/29/2016)
Congratulations to Carl, Team USA, and our local and national fencing communities!