Coach Sarah supervises the Academy fencers as they get all the equipment in place. We offer to help, but accepting help from Bark Bay, I guess that’s unacceptable.
Coach Dan calls Butch, Kassie, Rex, Annie and I over, away from the strips. “Remember, this isn’t a real tournament,” he says. “We’ll be keeping a scoresheet and running it like it’s real, but I want all of you to think of this as an extended practice.”
Butch raises his hand, like we’re in class or something. Coach Dan raises his eyebrows, nods in his direction. “Is it like a scrimmage?”
“I — guess that analogy works,” replies Coach Dan, his voice filled with a desire but not the will to contradict. “Butch, Kassie, I want you to go in with the right attitude. You’ve only been on the team a month, so you’re going to be at a real disadvantage today. Odds are you’re going to get squished, like bugs. You average one touch per bout, you’re doing great. It’s the experience you get today, that’s why I asked you to come here, and glad you were willing and able to come. What you’ll learn today is something you just can’t get out of practice. And I’m proud of you for making this committment.”