VFA-in-Exile Bulletin
September 16, 2021

The weather forecast for Saturday looks sketchy - scattered showers and thunderstorms (not a wash out, but dicey for running around in the open with metal rods in our hands). On the other hand, Sunday's forecast looks beautiful - sunny and a bit cooler. Therefore, I'm making the call early to give you time to adjust your weekend plans. Fencing will be on Sunday 9/19 this week. The schedule will be the same as if were Saturday
10-11:30 a.m Level 2/3 class in Charlotte
11:30-1 Level 1 class in Charlotte
2:30-4 Level 2/3 class in Middlebury
4-5:30 Level 1 class in Middlebury

Middlebury fencers note: My understanding is that the tennis tournament scheduled for Saturday will not be moved to Sunday, but I am not totally certain of that. We will plan to meet on our usual tennis court (the one nearest the ice rink). But if you arrive and it is clear that there is an organized tennis tournament underway using that court, please look for me in the paved play area next to Mary Hogan School.

I have a few donated items available for a small donation to the VFA:
a. Men's fencing pants, for an average adult or larger teen, Absolute (labeled US 34/Euro 50). Yours for a $10 donation
b. Women's plastic chest protector (one M for a B or C cup gal, one S for an A or B cup) - if you find the little round protectors in the jacket pocket don't line up in the right place or you would just like greater coverage. These don't have the padding required for sanctioned foil tournaments (you can buy that as a stick-on kit from Absolute, very easy to do), but are perfect for epee and for foil practice. $10 donation
c. Introductory book (great for new Level 1 students) by my friend coach Paul Sise from MA "A Basic Foil Companion" $5 donation
d. Like new black Puma sneakers, mens size 8/Euro 40.5. These are not fencing shoes (they are for basketball or general casual wear) and you don't have to use them for fencing (although you could, that's what the donor bought them for but his son outgrew them with little wear). FREE to the Cinderella or Cinderello who fits them!

Let me know if you want to look at/try on any of these items and I'll bring them on Sunday.

Fencing with a covid mask (aka face cloak) under a fencing mask: Is never going to be comfortable, but at least your opponent is suffering as much as you are. There are a few things that can help though:
a. Get a mask made with sports in mind, from a quick-dry wicking fabric. It won't get as soggy as a cotton one or a paper surgical mask, making it both more comfortable and more effective. I have two seemingly identical ones, one Adidas and one Reebok, which work pretty well. They are 2 layers of stretchy fabric with room to slip in a mask bracket (see b) or pm2.5 filter (for crowds, shopping etc - I don't recommend fencing with the filter, or with an N95 mask, it is too hard to breathe through when exercising). Do NOT get a mask with an exhalation valve, that defeats the purpose.
b. I find using a mask bracket makes exercising more comfortable, as it prevents the mask from sucking into your mouth and nose when you are breathing hard. Mask brackets are plastic inserts that hold the mask a little bit away from your face. They are cheap and readily available on Amazon and probably other places as well. Alternatively, there are several sports masks now being made (by Underarmour and Asics to name a couple) that have some built in structure to keep the mask off your nose and mouth. If you've tried one and recommend it (or hate it), let me know!

The Green Mt Division is our local branch of US Fencing, responsible for organizing tournaments in Vermont. We will be having a Zoom meeting on Tuesday Sept 21, 8-9 p.m, to discuss what kind of tournaments it will be possible to host this fall and share ideas for moving forward during the pandemic. We would love input from ALL of you. The meeting is open to anyone who wants to join, or just listen in, including junior fencers. Email me by Monday at the latest and I'll send you the Zoom link. Also...we really need new adult volunteers to step up and help run the division. It is an all-volunteer organization, a friendly bunch of people, and not a whole lot of work (the occasional Zoom meeting, some emails, a few forms to submit to the national office now and then). Volunteers can be fencers of any skill level, or parents of junior fencers. Please please please: don't assume that the same crew of volunteers will keep the GMD alive year after year. In fact, we have a term limit of 3 years for our officers precisely to encourage new people to step up and help. Several of our officers are reaching their term limits. Is it your turn to help? .