Bulletin for the Week of January 21, 2019

1. SCHEDULE-(YES THERE IS FENCING TONIGHT, PLUS CHARLOTTE TIME CHANGE)
2. FUND DRIVE UPDATE-YOUR HELP IS NEEDED
3. AM I GOOD ENOUGH TO COMPETE?

1. SCHEDULE-(YES THERE IS FENCING TONIGHT, PLUS CHARLOTTE TIME CHANGE)
MIDDLEBURY FENCERS: There is fencing tonight (Monday 1/21). Once again, Level 1/2 classes will meet at the Bridge School 6:30-9, while Competitive Squad will meet with Geoff at Vintage Fitness in Vergennes 7-9. Bundle up (be prepared if your car breaks down or gets stuck!) and allow extra time in case there is still blowing snow on the roads. Next Monday, we will all be back at Mary Hogan School. Wednesday Level 3 classes are at Mary Hogan as usual.

CHARLOTTE FENCERS: I have finally heard from the Charlotte town rec department, and we did indeed get lucky this year in that there is no town rec basketball on Tuesdays. Therefore, starting this week, we will revert to our earlier practice schedule of 6:30-9 on Tuesdays for everyone (competitive squad included). If you dropped out of winter Level 2 classes because the 7:30-9:30 time frame was too late for you, and want to restart this week, you are welcome to do that for a prorated fee. If you have your own equipment, you can just show up. If you need to rent equipment, please let me know before tomorrow. Thursday Level 3 practices are 7-9:20 (cleaned up and out by 9:30).

This is a big week for all of our Level 1 newbies. At the end of class we will go over the rules of foil fencing and the new students will fence their first real bouts. I will email all the Level 1 students a handout with notes on the rules, either before or after class (that depends how organized I am this afternoon…..). You can print this out to hang on your fridge, or just look it over a lot in the coming weeks to remind yourself of all the rules. Be especially sure to read it if you are missing class this week.

From now on, Level 1 students should be considered full members of the club, available for bouting during open fencing times. Some weeks we will play a game to get everyone used to fencing with eachother, but other weeks I will just declare it open fencing time and leave it up to you to find partners to practice with. Here are some reminders, which I give every term, and which still hold true:
a. Bouting is an important part of learning to fence. If you just come to class and do drills, you never apply what you are learning or learn to improvise. Besides, most people consider bouting the most fun part of practice. So Level 1 students, please make an effort to stay after class for as long as you can and participate in bouting. Whether you can stay 5 minutes or until closing time, the more you fence, the better you'll get.
b. No-one in the club is too good to fence with beginners. It is a time-honored tradition in every successful fencing club that the better fencers take the beginners under their wings and help them to improve. I expect experienced fencers (including - no make that especially- the Competitive Squad) to find a little time each Monday or Tuesday to work with beginners, either by fencing with them or refereeing them as they fence eachother. I deputize every experienced fencer as my assistant coach, so go ahead and give beginners helpful tips and pointers (in a nice, constructive way of course, and try to focus on correcting just one or two things at a time). Beginners, don't be shy about asking anyone to fence with you. Also, if you are curious about epee, you might enjoy asking an experienced epee fencer to show you some basics and experiment with it a little. When you get to the Level 2 class, you may do either foil or epee.

2. FUND DRIVE UPDATE-YOUR HELP IS NEEDED
Thank you to Karen Cutler for stepping up as this year's Raffle Czarina (with help and advice from last year's Czarina, Leslyn Hall). I will be sending everyone a link for downloading and printing raffle tickets later this week. What Karen really needs now is donated prizes - lots of them! Gift certificates, handcrafts, fencing-related prizes (which are guaranteed to go to fencers), and general nice stuff anyone would want (no white elephants please). So if you have something to donate to the raffle, please give it to Karen or to me. And as soon as I make the tickets available, get out there and start selling them. Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5, winners need not be present at the drawing on March 2.

I have had a preview of this year's t-shirt design by Jessica Hill, and it's wonderful - colorful, fun, and for the first time, Champ makes an appearance on a Champlain Cup t shirt! The shirts will be for sale at the Middlebury Open.

Sponsorships: In 2018, we had 37 sponsors for a total of $2590. This was down a little from $2915 in 2017 and a record high of $3230 in 2016. As of today, 9 sponsorships have been turned in to me for a total of $425, and very few other people have used the GoogleDoc log to indicate that they have approached any potential sponsors. I will remind you again:
-Deadline to get sponsor names on the t-shirt is Feb. 1. That is less than 2 weeks away.
-Sponsorships are the most important part of the fund drive. If we do not raise at least $2000 (preferably more!) through sponsorships we are in trouble.
-I am relying on every one of you to get (or be) sponsors. Please do not assume someone else will do this. Every member of the club benefits from a well funded program with affordable dues.
-You can download the sponsorship form here:
Sponsorship Form
-Although I am happy to have surprise sponsors, it's helpful if you would post your potential sponsors (whether or not they come through) on the log here, to avoid duplication (and reassure the nervous coach that you all are indeed making an effort):
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sBD7HnFGhc-vz1QhaHtjdBU5kAtOwWrggfTF7pRyEoo/edit

3. AM I GOOD ENOUGH TO COMPETE?
I get this question a lot from newer students. The short answer is (almost always) yes. Here is the long answer:
Being "good enough to compete" is rarely about your technical ability. If you have a basic knowledge of fencing moves and enough understanding of the rules to know what the ref is talking about, you are "good enough", at least to enjoy our local unrated, E-under and youth events. Most people reach this stage about half way through the Level 1 course. You do not have to be an expert fencer or a cut-throat competitor to enjoy and benefit from participating in our local tournaments.
So, instead of asking yourself (or me) "am I good enough?" the real question is "Am I ready for a new challenge?". Do you have the emotional maturity to take winning or losing in stride, to know everyone starts from somewhere (and that somewhere is generally near the bottom of the heap), to approach competing as a learning opportunity and an adventure rather than worry too much about your scores and where you placed? For nearly all adults and most teens, the answer to these questions is yes. Less mature teens and youth fencers may need parental guidance to get past anxiety about losing bouts, or (especially for the youngest kids) may need to wait a little to grow into the emotional maturity needed to handle competing in an intense individual sport where the target is your own body.

Teens and adults need to make an additional financial commitment to compete, in that it costs $65 to upgrade from a noncompetitive to a competitive membership (required for fencers born 2005 or earlier, not required for youth fencers born 2006 or later in local youth events). There are two excellent opportunities coming up for newbie teen and adult competitors:
Feb. 3. E-Under events at the Groundhog Open in Burlington
March 2-3. Unrated events at the Middlebury Open (separate male and female if we have enough competitors).
Really, you don't want to miss the Middlebury Open (our 26th annual blow-out celebration of fencing!). So if you're thinking about going for it, why not make the upgrade sooner (since all memberships expire July 31) and get in on the Groundhog Open as well? There are additional fun events in the spring (like the Foil-Epee Doubles, and the annual outdoor epee at Fort Ticonderoga), but I think that the Groundhog and Middlebury Open are the last 2 tournaments of the season featuring E or U events, which are perfect for first time competitors.

For information on the Groundhog Open (event schedule, directions, who else is signed up), and to register:
https://askfred.net/Events/whoIsComing.php?tournament_id=42551

New to using AskFRED? Directions are here:
www.vtfencingalliance.org/old_posts/HowToUseFRED.htm