“Fencing is — honest,” continued Kassie. “No matter how much you learn, how long you practice, it doesn’t make getting in a bout any easier. It’s like life, all the stuff you learn in school doesn’t matter, you just have to live it.”
“But aren’t all sports like that?” asked Bernie.
“Fencing’s not like other sports. Like basketball — think about Friday, what happens during the game?” Not seeing an immediate response from her teammates, she continued, “It’s not just five kids from Bark Bay against five kids from — I don’t know where, it doesn’t matter. There will be a couple hundred people in the stands, watching, cheering. It won’t be a game, it will be a performance, and the kids on the court aren’t just competing against each other, they’re representing their towns. Fencing’s not like that. How many people show up to tournaments?” she asked, looking at Annie.
“Outside of fencers, coaches — some family perhaps.”
“No bands, for sure,” Bernie interjected.
“Right. It’s just you, alone, competing by yourself and for yourself, not performing for anyone, not representing anyone else. The success you have is the result of your own hard work, your failures showing you how much you still have to do.”
“Yes,” Annie replied. “It is cool, like that.”