Bulletin for the Week of October 5, 2020

This week's schedule is the same as last (epee first in Charlotte)
9:30-11 a.m Char Epee
11-12:30 Char Foil
2-3:30 Midd Epee
3:30-5 Midd Foil

Usual places: Charlotte town beach tennis courts, E. Middlebury rec park

Long range forecast is good for the weekend, but keep doing a sun dance. We need not one, but two nice days this weekend!

I learned this week that the Vergennes Opera House is available on Monday and Thursday evenings in late fall after our outdoor classes end. It's a beautiful (as in people get married there beautiful), fairly large space, and they charge $25 per evening, which is exactly what MHS and CCS have been charging us, so within our budget. I spoke to a nice volunteer who manages the space and they seem accommodating and flexible, although she did recommend making a booking soon if we want to lock in the evenings. I am thinking, foil one night, epee the other, hopefully with a good mix of fencers from the Charlotte and Middlebury groups. I would like to book the hall beginning the week of Oct 26 and running through November 19. We have the option of adding a couple of weeks in December if it's going well, and possibly continuing after the New Year if our host schools are not yet ready for us. We don't have to go without fencing this winter! (at least, if the health department does not cancel indoor group exercise again due to a new outbreak).

The practices in Vergennes are open to all returning fencers (anyone who would have been in Level 2 or Level 3 under our normal system). That includes everyone who has been participating in the Saturday outdoor groups, although you do not have to been in the Saturday classes to join the new ones in Vergennes. It also includes several fencers (I'm talking to you LeRoy, April, Aidan, Jim and Bonnie) who completed or will soon complete their "basic training" via private lessons with me.

We will continue to use the punch card system, so if you have punches left after the Saturday outdoor classes end, you can keep using your same punch card. Punch cards are $60 for 5 classes. They never expire.

There will be a limit to class size of 16 fencers, so sign up soon to reserve your spot. I am reserving the room for 7-9:30 p.m, because a 6:30 start may be too early for adults driving from the Burlington area after work. Instruction/class time will end by 8:15, and the remaining time will be for bouting, with the last 15 minutes for clean up (we are responsible for some sanitizing before we leave). Younger kids and early risers don't need to stay until the end.

Opera House covid safety policy: limited group size, temperature check at the door, masks on the entire time you are in the building (except for quick water breaks-those are allowed), wipe down high touch areas before leaving (doorknobs, railings, faucets in bathroom), bring your own water (fountains are turned off).

To help me decide whether we have enough fencers to make this fly, and to decide which night should be foil and which epee, I need you to fill out this survey form ASAP:

In the table, put your name down under the nights you could attend for your preferred weapon (if you can make both Monday and Thursday, put your name both places). I will try to pick the night that is best for the greatest number of fencers, or come up with a rotation, although I can't guarantee to make everyone happy. Want to fence both foil and epee? That may be possible, but for now, start by choosing one to sign up for. Once sign ups are complete and I have finalized the schedule, if there is space for you to join the other weapon, you may (I will let you know when you can sign up for a second weapon). It may also be possible, if the class sizes are not maxed out, for pairs of fencers to use the space for a playdate in their weapon while the other weapon is having class, thus getting in a second night of practice - we'll see how it goes.

I have just been diagnosed with a vitreous humor that is separating from my retina. This is a thing that happens to some people as they age, but during the time it is happening (a few weeks), I am at enhanced risk of retina damage. The doctor has advised me gentle exercise only - no vigorous changes of direction, no running or jumping, no risking getting hit in the head. So...
Saturday outdoor classes will go on as planned. I can still coach you, I just can't bout with you. For vigorous actions or full speed hits, I will ask the most skilled class members to help me demonstrate.
For private lessons, they will need to be paired for a while (like a mini-class for 2 people).
I sadly have to drop out of the competition this Sunday (do I hear some sighs of relief?), but that means I will be more available to ref and to help new fencers learn the ropes.

When: Sunday Oct 11
9:30 a.m Set up, registration and warm-up time
10:30 a.m Foil events
1 pm (approximately) Raffle drawing. Winners need not be present.
1:30 p.m Epee events
Always arrive at least 30 minutes before your event start time, to sign in and get ready.

Where: East Middlebury Rec Park tennis courts. The closest parking is on the field behind the Sarah Partridge Library (431 E. Main St, E. Middlebury). When facing the front door of the library, you will see a place to drive in to the right of the building. There are also about 8 parking spots for the rec park itself (on School House Hill Rd) as well as on-street parking on both E. Main (Route 125) and School House Hill.

Who can compete: All Vermont resident fencers age 9 and up. That includes new students. I would love to see a bunch of first time competitors. Three cheers for sisters Aidan and April, who started "basic training" with me this fall and have already signed up! How about a few more newbies following their example and taking the plunge? As it is an unsanctioned tournament (no ratings can be earned), a noncompetitive USFA membership is sufficient.

Sign up deadline: Midnight Wednesday Oct 7. That gives me time to organize the tournament, and to communicate with you via AskFRED.

How to sign up: Sign ups for tournament are done using a website called AskFRED (the Fencing Results and Events Database). The first time you use it, you have to create an account. After that FRED remembers you and it's easy to sign up for future events. Using AskFRED for the first time? Instructions are here:

Link to sign up for the October Surprise:

Entry fee: Usually, Green Mt Division tournaments cost $15 for one event, or $20 for two. Instead, for the October Surprise, we will ask you to buy raffle tickets (we are finally going to do the drawing we had planned for the Middlebury Open in March). If you have already bought tickets, you are all set! Raffle tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. Want to really help the club with fundraising? Print your own raffle tickets, sell them to your family and friends this week, and bring the money and filled in tickets with you on Saturday or Sunday. Grand prize is a really nice set of wireless ear buds. We have a lot of other prizes and could always use more, so if you have something fun to donate (no white elephants please), bring it along or give it to me or Karen (our raffle czarina) on Saturday.

Tournament format: I have tentatively divided the field by age group. However, if any age group ends up with fewer than 6 competitors signed up, we may combine 2 or more groups. I will not make the final decision the night before, or maybe even the day of, if there are no-shows. Fencing age groups are based on your birth year, not your age the day of the tournament. Tentative age groups for foil:
Youth (essentially 14-), birth year 2006 or later
Teen/adult (essentially 15+), birth year 2005 or before

Tentative age groups for epee:
Youth (essentially 14-), birth year 2006 or later
Teen/young adult (essentially 15-39), birth year 1982-2005
Veteran (essentially 40+), birth year 1981 or before

For each age group, you will be assigned a pool of 5-9 fencers (depending how many are present). You will fence everyone in your pool a 5 point bout. The results of the pool round will be used to seed a Direct Elimination (DE) table - essentially a knock-out ladder. A standard DE bout is 15 points (up to 3 rounds of 3 minutes stopped time, with 1 minute rests between rounds). Sometimes we shorten that to 10 points (for veterans, children 12 or younger, or because we need to speed things along). The winner moves up the ladder until there is one person left standing.

What to bring/equipment: All of your own water (the water fountain in the rec park has been turned off), snacks, lawn chairs, hand sanitizer, face cloak (maybe a couple in case they get sweaty) and of course all of your fencing equipment. Maybe (hopefully) sun glasses. For those who do not own electric equipment, I will be bringing club gear. At the end of the day, I will have a laundry bag for borrowed underarm protectors and foil lames (the metallic vests). Borrowed body cords and weapons should be wiped down with bleach solution (I will have some handy) and returned to the club bags. Note that there are no changing rooms, so plan for that (arrive in your fencing pants, or wear shorts so you can change in public). There is a single portalet in the rec park - it's usually supplied, but you might want to bring your own t.p. We could use a few brooms and rakes to remove fallen leaves from the courts.

Spectators: Are welcome. Just please observe social distancing and mask (aka face cloak) wearing at all times. If it gets crowded, we may ask spectators to stand outside the courts and look through the chain link fence.

What if it rains? Inconceivable! But if it does, we will push it back to Oct 18 or, if needed, Oct 25. Keep an eye out for email coming from AskFRED with weather updates and other info.

If I haven't answered all your questions: Just ask!