Losing – Rex

Sure I fence to win, but it’s more important to me that I fence well. This sport means everything to me – I love everything about it, the physicality, the strategy, the respect. Above all else, I want to honor this sport in everything that I do. Fencing has helped me figure out who I am, who I want to be, and I owe it my undying respect. The world of fencing is the way life should be.

Winning is one way of honoring the sport, as it demonstrates that you’ve made the sacrifices necessary, put in the requisite hard work, done what you needed to do in order to make yourself a winner. Winning is never an accident – it is a demonstration of one’s character.

But losing shows even more about your character, or rather it’s how you respond to losing. It’s when you lose that you show how much you respect the sport, and how dedicated you are to the sport. It’s when you decide you want to learn from your loses and improve your skill that you show you’re devoted to this sport.

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Rex

It was two years ago, my second year of high school – first year really, most of the ninth grade classes were in the same wing of the school building as the middle school, we even used the middle school gym and cafeteria – there was a flyer on the bulletin board in the cafeteria line, big one, bright colors on a black background – had a large picture of an mustachioed actor thrusting a rapier at the camera. I heard someone behind me ask who that was, and I said that was Errol Flynn, in “Robin Hood.” thought everyone knew that. So I looked at the flyer, saw it was a notice of the fencing club, and I was stunned. Fencing? Here, at this school? You’re joking, right?

You see, I had always been fascinated by fencing. Robin Hood was my earliest memory — Robin and the Sheriff dueling in the castle, their elongated shadows dancing behind them — then there was Zorro, Three Musketeers, Cyrano — these were my superheroes, because while they were all legends they could all be real. But, of course, only real in a world far different than the one my family and I lived in.

But now — a fencing team in my school? Was this real? I went to my first practice fully expecting to be disappointed. I remember not talking to anyone, hanging out by myself in the remotest part of the gym, not wanting to be recognized, because this didn’t seem real, I didn’t want to be disappointed. Coach Dan finally saw me, invited me to suit up, and at first I said no but he wouldn’t let me walk away without at least trying. The first time I lifted a foil, nothing felt so right to me.

Losing – Bernie

I hate losing, and can’t figure out why I keep losing. Coach keeps telling me to stick with practice and training, the results will come. But it’s been a year since I’ve gotten past the first elimination round in any tournament. I don’t understand, I was doing so well when I started last year, almost got a medal in my first tournament. Now all that’s changed, and I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. Maybe I’m just not cut out for this sport. Thought this would be different than the other sports I’ve tried – baseball, basketball – but it’s turning out to be more of the same, just with different equipment.

Losing – Butch

It’s not that I don’t care whether I win or lose – Double-J’s always on my case about that, but it really seems he’s talking more about himself than me when he says stuff like that. I fence because I enjoy fencing, and i don’t want that to change. I see so many people, like Double-J, who get so worked up about winning, and it just doesn’t seem healthy. He never looks like he’s enjoying himself. I don’t think that’s healthy, and I can’t imagine living like that.

Losing – Double-J

You get on the strip to win – goes without saying. But it’s more important to me that I feat my opponent, that I give them what they deserve. Most fencers I face, they’re a bunch of nobodies, fencing them is nothing special. But there’s always somebody at every meet who just deserves to be beat – not beat, but humiliated, embarrassed. Beating them means more to me than any trophy or medal I could win. Wining isn’t everything – superiority is where it’s at.