VFA-in-Exile Bulletin
October 21, 2021

Weather forecast looks dry, although quite a bit chillier than it has been (so wear something warm under your fencing jacket). We will have our last outdoor class of the fall as scheduled on Saturday.

If you are renting equipment and will not be continuing on with the All-Level indoor classes this fall, you may return your equipment and get your deposit back at the end of Saturday's class (don't worry about cleaning stuff, I'll take care of that). If you are unable to attend this Saturday, please make arrangements to return your equipment before Thanksgiving. You can drop it off at any of the All-Level classes, or at my house. If you are continuing with the 4 indoor classes, just hold on to it until the the last one of those.

Please remember to keep track of how many classes you attend, and purchase a new punch card when yours is used up. If you bought a 5-week card at the first outdoor class in September and have not missed any (not counting rain-outs of course), you will need a new card when the indoor classes start. I am relying on the honor system! You can purchase a new 5-week card at any time, just ask for one. They never expire, so if you take a break from fencing, hang on to it. If you attend two practices in the same week, you only need to punch your card once (I want you to fence more...and who doesn't love a bargain?).

Here is the schedule for October 25 through November 18
Monday, Cornwall Town Hall, 7-9 p.m. All-Level Class 7-8:15, Open fencing/bouting time 8:15-9
Tuesday, Shelburne Town Gym, 7-9 p.m. All-Level Class 7-8:15, Open fencing/bouting time 8:15-9
Thursday, Shelburne Town Gym, 7-9 p.m Competitive Squad practice

All-Level Class is open to everyone except rank beginners who have never fenced at all. This includes this fall's Level 1 students, all members of the Level 2/3 classes, and all returning fencers who have not attended for a while but would like to get back in to it. Sometimes we will all work together, and sometimes we may subdivide the class by weapon or by skill level to do different variations of things. Never tried epee before but curious? I will bring some club epees and you are welcome to try it out!

Please bring clean dry indoor sneakers for Cornwall and Shelburne. Also bring your own water, as I am not sure what the status of the water fountains is.

Covid Safety:
-Vaccination is required for all fencers age 12 and older. Younger club members may attend on Monday or Tuesday, although I expect you to get vaccinated when they become available for your age group.
-Masks covering nose and mouth except for physically distanced water breaks, even if you are vaccinated. (Shelburne note: mask required in hallways and bathrooms per town policy)
-Stay home if you are sick or had a close contact with someone with covid. Quarantine or get tested before returning.

As someone who got the less effective J&J shot (hoping for a booster soon, but it won't be next week) and who will be exposed to every single one of you, I am a little nervous about moving indoors. So help me out and follow the covid protocol even if it seems like overkill!

Middlebury fencers: Adam Glazer is looking for a regular ride to Cornwall (he does not have a car). Is there anyone who lives in or passes through Middlebury who could pick him up (he lives near the Coop)? I will do it if needed, but it's several miles out of my way.

Charlotte fencers: Good news, we have a Plan B for winter (starting in January) if CCS does not allow us back in! Vermont Commons School in S. Burlington has offered their common room/auditorium space if we need it. It is not a gym (biggest drawback: carpeted floor), but is a sizeable open space with high ceilings and a state-of-the-art air filtration system, flexible, affordable and friendly. If you like this plan, thank Kai Mahaffey (Charlotte Level 1 class), VCS student and son of the principal, for suggesting it!

This is a fun event and great publicity for the VFA. And you get to wear a sword-themed costume and hang out with your fellow fencers while throwing candy through car windows. If two more people tell me they are coming, I will bake pumpkin cookies.

Location: Mary Hogan School bus circle, Middlebury
Time: October 31 (of course), set up/decorate at 3:30, drive through trick or treating from 4-7 p.m
Your task: dress in a sword-related costume (which could just be your modern fencing uniform, or you could get creative - I have several historic sword replicas I can lend if you let me know what you are looking for), bring decorations (jack-o-lanterns with lights and anything else seasonal you might have - I have zilch myself), be silly and have fun entertaining the young trick-or-treaters. Make sure you consider staying warm as part of your costume - this is an outdoor event.

Let me know if you plan to come. So far, I am expecting Karen, John, Don, Adam, Dmitri and possibly Samantha. The more the merrier!

Mother Nature smiled on us on Sunday, with a nice day for the Monster Mask 2 Tournament. Little did we think last fall when we had the original Monster Mask that we would still be outdoors a year later, but fencers are a resilient bunch, and have made the best of it by dueling outdoors like the swordsmen of old. Congratulations to the winners! Full results are posted on AskFRED (select "results", "tournament results" and "Green Mt Division" to find it).

Open Foil (13 competitors)
1. Viveka Fox, VFA
2. Ray Schuppe, VFA
3. Keith "Digger" Puffer, Mid Vt
3. Guinevere Shaw, Worcester FC

Open Epee (16 competitors)
1. Birk Rivait, SC
2. Jesse Lussier, VFA
3. Ray Schuppe, VFA
3. Bill Ruggles, Upper Valley FC

Performance of the Week: A tournament can't happen without refs. Refs don't magically appear when we need them - we rely on all fencers eventually learning to ref and volunteering to help as needed. Teen foil fencer Miranda was disappointed to be knocked out in her first DE, but she stuck around and continued to help ref. The gold medal bout was between the two most experienced refs present (not a coincidence: learning to ref is largely about learning to observe fencing, and doing it regularly makes you a better fencer). Ray and I decided it was time to throw Miranda into the deep end and have her ref her first final in an open event. It was a high pressure situation - reffing her coach vs another respected club veteran and assistant coach, in what was sure to be a fast paced bout with lots of interesting actions (knowing Ray and I - and we didn't disappoint...), with lots of spectators. Miranda was very professional (which for a ref, means you barely notice that she is there), calm, attentive and decisive. She did not hem and haw or second guess her own decisions. The few occasions where Ray or I had to give her a "hint" were not wrong calls, just fast, close actions where she could not decide on right of way and might otherwise have thrown it out (perfectly acceptable for a developing new ref). She demonstrated a good eye for catching the action and used the correct terminology to describe what she saw. Welcome to the GMD reffing cadre, Miranda, and thank you!

Honorable Mentions: Ray not only took home medals in both weapons, but he was everywhere doing everything (set up, reffing, whatever needed to be done to keep the tournament on track). Three cheers for newbies Mary Dove, Paxton and Leo who took the plunge and tried their first tournament.

Thank yous: It takes a large team of volunteers to put on a fencing tournament. Thank you to all who stepped up to ref, set up and clean up, and to meet managers Genevieve Gallagher and Leslyn Hall for keeping everything running smoothly so we easily finished ahead of the rain showers.