Bear Hugs

As any of you who saw me yesterday at the venue know, I did not do as well as, well, I might have if I were a different fencing bear. Div III Women's Foil: I won two of my pool bouts (5-4, 5-1), lost three (4-5, 4-5, 4-5, 0-5), and then proceeded to lose my first D-E (9-13) to the girl whom I had beaten in the pools 5-1. Tears followed...and followed...and followed...and followed. But, happily, because fencers are such amazing people, I was not alone. Huge thanks to all of you who were there for me, even as I was in floods, again. Special thanks to my dear roommate Lynn Botelho for being there to coach me through the only pool bout that I fenced like I actually know I can fence when whatever it is that is holding me back lets me go for the moment; to the ever-so-generous coach from my alma mater (Rice University) for coming back to talk to me even after I had broken down after losing to his student (4-5); to Kristin Vines for being there as I went to get water and smiling and letting me cry, literally, on her shoulder because she understood how much I was hurting; to Elif Sachs for much-appreciated praise on my fencing the day before in our veteran bout along with wise advice on why I am having so much trouble getting past myself; to William Hargraves and Nancy Hua for coaching me in my D-E even though I wasn't really able to listen and saving me from losing even worse than I might have otherwise; to Allison Thurman who, when she saw me crying, said, "It's just tension," and thus enabled me to forgive myself for crying, if only for the moment; to Suparna Vashisht for reminding me that in my D-E bout with her daughter (who, by the by, went on to make top 4 yesterday) the score had stood at one point at 5-12 but that the final score was 9-13, meaning that I in fact made four more points in the same time that her daughter scored one; to Julia Wu, for hanging with me to talk about how better to train and to watch what the other fencers are doing; to Ed Kaihatsu for wise advice, as usual, via text on who my real nemesis is (myself); to my other dear roommate Beth Merritt (aka Badger) for texted hugs; to Peter Harmer for dinner, laughter, and anecdotes about sharks; and, above all, to my husband for saying how proud he is of me for having the courage to come back even though I knew that I was risking almost certainly feeling like this again. Namaste.


  1. We don't want you to be a different fencing bear! We want you to be your best you, who is wicked dangerous. You just are still learning to release your inner ursine on the strip.

  2. Thanks, Bagder! For cookies--and being there. Next year, Atlanta, look out for bears!

  3. Glad I could be of some help :) You are a FINE bear - you're just still exploring your essential beariness. It will come!

    Seconding the props to Nancy Hua - she was in my pool and after I fenced her she coached me a bit as well.


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