“What the hell happens to you during bouts?” asked the coach in exasperation. “It’s like you forget everything you’ve been working on in practice. You’re all arms and legs — you fence like you’ve got scorpions in your underwear.”

“It’s like this energy jolt, all through my body,” said Bernie. “I just want to throw myself out there, get it over with.”

“You know what that’s all about, buddy? It’s about believing in your training, trusting that if you stick to what you’ve learned, you’ll do OK. Don’t you trust me?”

“You? Coach? Of course I trust you, man. It’s that I don’t trust myself. I don’t think I can properly execute. I trust the messenger, and the message — I just can’t believe what I’m reading.”


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