VFA-in-Exile
Bulletin for the Week of October 26, 2020

1. VERGENNES OPERA HOUSE FENCING STARTS THIS WEEK!
Here is the schedule we will follow for the next 4 weeks.
6:30 p.m Arrival, sign in (contact tracing sign in required every time you come), temperature scan (I would love to have some adult and older teen fencers take over doing this so I don't have to stand at the door!), set up (bring scoring machines up from the basement), etc. If you have the ability to come on the earlier side, please do, as it will avoid a delay when those rushing to practice after work arrive on the later side.
7-8:15 p.m Class (warm up, footwork, drills)
8:15-9:15 p.m Open fencing. It is okay for younger kids and early birds to leave when they need to.
9:15-9:30 Clean up (pack strip equipment into basement, wipe down high touch surfaces, sweep floor), lock up. I would appreciate those who stay to the end to helping with this, please.

We will designate a foil half and an epee half of the room. While you may mingle somewhat (like for footwork exercises, or two-weapon fencers during open fencing), I would like you to place your equipment bag and water bottles on your designated half of the room. Please try to place your gear as socially distanced as possible from other people's gear, on the chairs that line the room. That way, you will not be near anyone else during a water break when your face cloak is off.

What to bring: All your fencing equipment. Clean dry indoor sneakers (remove outdoor shoes at the door please). Full water bottle (water fountains are turned off). Face cloak (I recommend bringing two, in case one becomes sweat soaked).
What to take with you: everything you bring, including trash. It is our job to leave the Opera House as clean as we found it.

Payment: we will continue to use the punch card system. It is up to you (honor system) to keep track of the classes you come to, and purchase a new card ($60 for 5 classes) when yours runs out.

Lesson plans: I am going to try to send out lesson plans to the Active Fencer list each Sunday or Monday, because I know that it can be hard to hear me when I am speaking through a mask. We may not get to everything in the written plan (and sometimes I change them a little) but if it helps you to know what to expect, you'll at least have an idea.

Location information: The Opera House is the second floor of Vergennes City Hall, 120 Main St. There is no parking lot, but plenty of street parking around the green and on Main St. Street parking is free (no meters in Vergennes). Enter through the main door to city hall, go up the staircase to your left, change into your indoor shoes in the foyer, and then enter the theater space. There is a single small bathroom (or maybe two, I can't remember) off the foyer. Please don't use it as a changing area - arrive dressed for practice if at all possible and leave the bathroom just for using the toilet.

You may only come on your designated night and train with your designated group during class (although fencing the other weapon during open bouting is fine). Here again are the groups.
MONDAY FOIL: Miranda, Jess, Todd, Jansen, Simon, Lucas, April, Aidan, Owen, Philip
MONDAY EPEE: Nate, Indy, Toby, Namid, Kosmo, Sten, Brice, Peter, Chan, Eli
THURSDAY FOIL: Ethan, LeRoy, Madi, Rick, John, Samantha, Jack, Eve, Grace, Alex
THURSDAY EPEE: Michele, Ciaran, Don, Will, Adam, Jesse, Garrett, Karen, Torrey, Henry

These groups are for the next 4 weeks. Should we be continuing at the Opera House in January, there will be a new sign up and possibly different groups. I am hoping in December to have some informal competition nights to bring the Monday and Thursday people together. More about that in a future bulletin!

2. COVID SAFETY REMINDERS
Moving fencing from outdoors to indoors for the first time since March is a huge step! I have to say I'm a little nervous about it, especially as covid cases are increasing in Vermont. Especially alarming to me is the hockey league outbreak in Montpelier, as it shows that sports can be a source of contagion if we are not super careful. It is up to all of us to take protecting each other seriously.

Masks (a.k.a face cloaks) are required the entire time you are in the Opera House, with the exception of brief, socially distanced water breaks (please do stay hydrated, even with face cloaks, we are still athletes and still need water). When you lower your mask to drink, first look around you and make sure other folks are not right near you. Please make sure your face cloak fits well, covering your mouth and nose, and that you know how to take your fencing mask on and off without knocking it out of place (yes, this takes practice!).

Normally, I welcome parents and other observers, but I would like to restrict the number of breathing bodies on the floor of the Opera House to active class members only. If waiting for your child during class, you could sit in the foyer, toward the back of the balcony, or possibly the back of the stage itself-as far as possible from the fencers please, and with your mask on.

If you feel at all unwell, please do not come to fencing (remember, with the punch card you only pay for classes you attend). This rule applies to me also - if I come down with a cold, for example, I will cancel class. If your illness is clearly non-covid (for example, a migraine or known condition), you may return when you feel better. However, if you or any member of your household shows possible covid symptoms, you will need to either get tested, or wait 10 days after the symptoms go away.

Please remember that risk is cumulative. For me, interacting with the 40 of you every week while exercising indoors, is almost my entire risk budget for the coming month. I will not be eating indoors in restaurants, attending indoor parties or gatherings, traveling out of state, or hosting visitors from outside my quarantine bubble in my home. Many of you have no choice about parts of your risk budget (like work or school), but please, for the sake of the whole club, stay vigilant and keep your cumulative risk as low as you possibly can, despite the fact that we are all very tired of playing defense against the coronavirus.

3. VIRTUAL CLINIC FOR ADULT EPEE FENCERS
My friend Sandra Marchant, a wonderful coach and epee fencer from Connecticut, is cohosting (with Mark Wheeler, a coach from Chicago) a virtual clinic on Sunday Nov. 8, 1-2:30 pm. Although it says "veterans" it is actually open to all adults from age 25 up.

PROGRAM
Training Session will include:
- Dynamic warmup
- Footwork warmup and drills
- Blade work with target / dummy
- Point control drills
- Reaction drills
- HIIT / TABATA drills
- Closing review / feedback / share session - demos by participants welcome!

WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- A target or dummy
- Space to do footwork in front of your dummy
- A laptop or Ipad (with Zoom software loaded and ready!) set up adjacent to the dummy
- Workout clothes, glove, two epees, and a soup spoon
Additional setup instructions will be provided to preregistrants.

I have to say, they had me at the soup spoon. I may just have to give this a try!
Cost is $15 (they say satisfaction guaranteed or your money back)

Sign up on AskFRED:
https://askfred.net/Clinics/whoIsComing.php?clinic_id=47110

4. MIDDLEBURY HALLOWEEN-MORE DETAILS
We will be setting up in front of MUMS at 3 p.m. this Saturday. Drive through trick or treating is scheduled for 4-7 p.m Don is bringing some tables and Better Middlebury Partnership will provide a pop up tent and pre-bagged candy to hand out. We need: Decorations (especially jack o'lanterns with lights inside, but really anything Halloweeney is great), and a party of costumed fencers to hand out candy, hopefully while engaging in witty repartee with the trick or treaters. Your costume must include a sword and a face cloak. Modern fencing uniform is a perfectly good costume, by the way. Trick or treaters will be staying in their cars, just rolling down the windows for the candy. Pirate Karen is planning to make the candy walk the plank (i.e. go down a chute to the kids), and Zorro is bringing a basket to dangle on sword point for kids to take candy from. Zorro also intends to bake pumpkin cookies for her partners in crime. Plan your sword-themed costume and join us!