Coach Dan asks us to partner up with someone, work on keeping distance. Butch and I turn to each other, but Coach Dan says no, he’ll work with Butch, he wants Rex to work with me and Annie with Kassie.
That’s cool with me. I like working with Rex, he explains things really well, doesn’t talk a mile a minute like Annie or get impatient with you like Double-J. Rex stands in front of me a few feet away, extends his arm — he’s got really long arms, and even though he’s long and lean all over it still surprises you when he extends his arms, it’s like an accordian or a Slinky that always seems to keep coming and coming — I’ve done this drill maybe a dozen times with Rex this past year, and every time I think I start outside his extension but then he sticks out that Slinky arm and bam, the tip of his foil pokes me in the chest.
“Get outisde extension distance.” Got it, Coach. I back up a step from Rex, then remembering my past experiences with Rex and this drill, I take another step back. This time I’m sure I’m far enough away, perhaps even too far. “Check your distance.” The Slinky in Rex’s arm uncoils and bam, his foil hits me in the chest again.
“Sorry,” Rex says to me. “No, it’s OK,” I say as I step backwards again, and think I’m the one who should be sorry here. I hear Coach Dan talking to my left, and look over and see him explaining something to Butch. Rex sees them too, and when he rises out of en garde position I also relax.
“Really, I am sorry,” Rex says to me. The filter of our gray fencing masks makes the apologetic look in his face seem all the more solemn. “I should be apologizing to everyone here, I’m the reason Coach Dan was running late.”
I take off my mask. “What’s going on?”