I never thought about being an athlete because I always considered myself as a “weak” Asian girl who would be easily knocked onto the ground by those strong, intimidating athletes. As the time of graduation approaches and I’m going to depend totally on myself, I decided to become a bit tougher and stronger so that I could survive the real world after Middlebury. Then I registered for the Fencing Workshop during my last J-term. Think about fencing– white jacket, long metal sword and a shiny, mysterious mask– is there anything cooler than that?
With the expectation to be cool and fancy and tough I went to the first class. It was fun. The two coaches, both are students on campus, introduced us some basic techniques of fencing and we did some warm-ups and foot works. Then the real practice began. We all dressed up in those fancy outfits and played around with our weapon (like a real fencer in the old times!). Then we lined up and the coaches asked us to hit them with the weapon in the way that they taught us. When Nick’11, one of the coaches, told me to thrust him, I extended my arm and “touched” him with the weapon. “It is a touch, not a thrust! You should push harder and bend the weapon!” said Nick. I did so. The weapon was really bent and the tip of it was pressed into his jacket. That must hurt a lot! I quickly took back my arm and asked, “does it hurt?” “No, not at all. You should be stronger on that. ” said Nick.
The Courage to be strong and fearless is the “must-have” for all fencers. I finally got the courage to really “hit” my opponent with the sword. I got hit by others too. It does hurt. And when we started real one-on-one fencing, I got a lot of bruises every time we practiced. At first I was scared of getting bruises; but later on, bruises became my best friends because they helped improve fencing skills. During one fencing practice an epee fencer got half of his nail ripped off and he bled so badly. But he was still smiling. I offered to give him a bandage but the other coach, Clark’13, said “no he’s fine. This is such a small thing that I won’t even call it an injury.”
By the end of the workshop I realized that fencing had had taught me so much:
1.Stay gracious even in the most vicious game.
2.Never feel discouraged.
3.Smile when someone get you bruises, apologize when you get someone bruises.
4.Physical pain is always paid off by psychological gain.
5.The sword is sharp, but it is also flexible.
6.Remember to salute your referee.
7. Practice makes perfect. Always.
In the spring semester I joined the fencing team because fencing is really fun. We will have three off-campus competitions this semester. On the way to be a real fencer there will be pain, but it will be paid off finally.
I am so glad that I joined an athletic team in my senior year. I wish I could do it earlier. The experience is more than just practices. It is a way to build up psychological strength, learn to deal with difficulties with courage and to live on with persistence. It also brings me awesome new friends.
Middlebury is a place to discover your potential on anything. All you need to do is just to try. Looking back to the entire college life at Middlebury, what I appreciate most is that I’ve got the chance to try whatever I wanted to do. My peers are exceptional and I’ve learned so much from them. Middlebury is a small rural campus, but she is filled up by all kinds of intellectuals and future characters that have lighted up my world.
* If you wanna learn more about athletics at Middlebury, you’re encouraged to visit: http://www.middlebury.edu/athletics