Florida Kid Can't Control his Fencing!
Note: I do not change names. Please, don't take anything on
this page the wrong way. If I say something that sounds odd or sick, then
the truth of that oddness or sickness would depend on my mood at the time of the
writing of the story. I haven't changed anything (except to check
spelling) from the original, which wasn't really meant to be read. So
enjoy. This is all true, from my point of view, and I wrote these for
history, so I have tried to remove my bias.
Meeting Tina the First (and Second) Time.
Me? A Foilist?
The Men's Ritual
The Kid Who Can't Control His Feet:
I was fencing a kid from Florida at the Notre Dame dual meets, Jan. 29, 2000, and he didn't know how to control himself. At about the middle of the bout, I lunged and he flunged (jumped and launched himself at me, blade first) and hit me with his blade. . . then his bell guard. . . then his shoulder. . . then the rest of his body, knocking me to the ground and snapping my head back sharply. I got up, shook my head. And got back
en guarde. I beat his ass.
How Tina and I met (for the first and second times):
Well, the first time I met Tina, I was at fencing (club) practice on a cold February. She has the exact date. She came with a guy named Frank, who was tall and lanky and (we later find) really liked Tina. I just assumed that the two were going out and didn't give Tina a second thought, really. Anyway, I walked up to them (Tina's account has me with a huge grin that said "Mmm, Fresh Meat" all over it, and her thinking, "Oh, shit, we're dead"), and asked if they were here to fence. Since they kinda knew what they were doing, I went back to fencing myself.
Nothing came of that encounter, and in fact nothing else would have come of it, had I never been wandering down High Street about a week later.
I had just left a Pagan Student Association meeting with another Tina (with whom I had fooled around with a week earlier, but hadn't allowed anything to come of it), and we were walking up and down High Street (at that time PSA met in the Ohio Union). We walked North first, talking and shouting and just being obnoxious (because drunks are funny when confused). We had a small black bag, and I started preaching that God was in the Bag, trying to get people to stop and listen. I had a few people try and grab it for a look. When we reached the end of one of campus, we'd turn around and do it all over again. We made it up and down about 2 or 3 times before a group of guys outside the Newport called me a fag for reasons I don't quite remember (probably repressed homosexual urges). When they did that, I raised a hand in the air and gracefully flipped it up, in a kind of "talk to the hand"
gesture, though not quite. You'd have to see it to understand.
Well, the group of about 5 or 6 guys took this as a sign that I was obviously gay (despite the girl hanging on my arm), and decided to go gay-bashing. What fruitcakes. However, in fear of my skin, I decided that it would be wise to duck into Insomnia, mostly because it's well known that only freaks hang out there, and those guys wouldn't be giving me any trouble in an enclosed public space.
As I walked in the door, I saw a pair of beautiful eyes that I couldn't quite place. . . They were attached to a beautiful face, which was attached to a beautiful body. . . None of which I could quite place. She recognized me, too, and so Tina and I sat down next to this new Tina, and I related the story to her, and figured out where I knew her from. She was that chic at fencing. Of course, I couldn't remember her name at the time. That would have been too easy.
Well, as soon as the drunk homophobics cleared out, I and the two Tinas went out onto High Street, me with one lady on each arm, and started the same couple of rants. We made it up and down High Street another time or two, but that was it. Oh, and they tried to sell me for $1, but they failed miserably. I really hope that that's a reflection of thier marketing skills, not my looks.
We walked the first Tina home, and then (my) Tina and I went back to Baker (where I was living at the time), but my roommate was asleep, so we had to go outside to talk. We ended up in the study room, and when she complained about an upset stomach, I gave her a box of Altoids (everyone knows that
peppermint is good for that).
Then, at about three A.M. that night, she went home. We made pretty good friends after that. For about two weeks or so, when we started dating.
A foil fencer?
Coach Nazlymov came up to Jakelsky and myself at the 2000 Midwest Team Championships and asked if either one of us wanted to fence foil for the team. After a silence of a few moments, I said I would (thinking that coach would appreciate more the
"fighter", and that Jakelsky didn't want to, anyway), and took Ray Lanning's stuff (under arm protector, foils, lame, and mask), and ended up on the strip against Wayne State. I had been informed by Mikey (Coach
Shearer) that we had been beaten last time 2-7 by Wayne State, and right now we were up 3-1. I got on strip, and fenced to 4-4, and then managed to pull off the last touch. The guy I beat was red carded for throwing his mask after the bout and displaying un-sportsmanlike conduct (a red card is a warning, and another such display would have ejected him from the tournament). Not that I blame him. I probably would have done the same if a foilist beat me at my game.
That put us up against Notre Dame. They kicked our ass, 0-5. But I almost beat one of their scrubs (4-5), so they put their "good" foilists in to fence us.
This put us into the contention for third and fourth place.
The third place bout was against Lawrence University (where Mitty attends, by the way). Carlino told me that we should be able to take them, 5-3. Peyton, according to Carlino, was the only good fencer, so even I should be able to beat the other two.
I went up, and went 4-4 with their first guy, and he landed the final touch. I didn't get a single touch on Peyton, but when I went up next, it was 4-4 in the bout score (first team to get five victories for their team wins). Whomever won the next bout would win third place.
I got en guarde, and we went back and fourth. he got the first touch, then I touched, then he, then I, then he again. I told myself that he couldn't beat me, and he didn't get another touch. Carlino tackled me when I won, and I was subsequently
reprimanded for not saluting or shaking hands, but I explained how hard it is to salute and shake when you've been tackled, and the director let it slide, since I did shake hands as soon as I could move again.
That was the closest I've ever come to fame on the team. EVERYONE congratulated me. Even Kane, which took a lot for him to do, I
know, and I appreciate it.
Note, however, that I could have won the first bout I fenced and then I wouldn't have had to go down to the wire like that. I still fenced poorly, despite winning the number of bouts I needed to, helping the foil team to a win. My record that day was 2-3, which is certainly not good. Also, though, it should be noted that I
am a sabre fencer, and I had never won a tournament foil bout until that day. I hadn't even used a foil since my freshman year in college.
Me? Go to a Men's Ritual?
I was at the ADF ritual with the 6th Night Grove
and Garran Abhainn Triskele. Iíd
been there since Friday, and it was now Saturday night. I had placed second in two events (Swords and footrace), done
well at the stone throw, and gotten whipped at caber toss. All in all, I think I showed the Groves that I was able to hold my own .
Anyway, that night were the separate rituals for men and
women. I was a bit leery about
going to a menís ritual at all, given the odd stories Iíd heard from Rob and
others, but I went, anyway.
(Since I refuse to tell every detail, there is a good
amount left out. But this does have
the basis of the ritual.)
We wandered down, and all grabbed a chair. We relaxed, a few people had a drink, and then Antonyus (the Senior
Druid) asked those who smoked to pull a cigarette out and break it up before
putting it into a pipe we had. Once the bowl with tobacco in it was passed around, Antonyus
passed the bowl to those of us who did not smoke, and we broke it up so that
everyoneís energies would be put into the tobacco.
The Senior Druid lighted the pipe and smoked
some, and then began to tell us a little about himself, how he chose his name,
and where he was from. After that,
he passed the pipe counter-clockwise (possibly a mistake or maybe some ritual
significance) and each of us took the pipe and did likewise.*
When the pipe came to me, the flame left it. Because of this, I was forced to relight the pipe. Not having any idea what I was doing, it took some time, and Torix had to
help. Getting instructions during a ritual on something that you
would normally be somewhat opposed to doing is never fun, but since everyone was
laughing with me, it was alright.
When I passed the pipe on, the flame left the pipe again. I had to help the next person light the pipe, and nearly tripped into the
flames on a stump I couldnít see while trying to get a brand to light the pipe
with. But I didnít fall in, so we all had a good laugh.
Once the pipe had made the full circle, the second part was
toasting things: people, Gods, events, loves, and prayers. The toasts were all good (mine was to the exquisite hospitality that the
Grove had shown the PSA), and the mead was excellent. I know for a fact that I have never enjoyed a ritual so much.
The most striking thing about the entire ritual was the
informality of it. The main ritual
was long, drawn out, and (some might say) even boring at times (which is, by the
way, the way I usually like them). There
was such a contrast between the two rituals, and in the menís ritual, I really
felt as if I was among brothers I had just never met. The experience will always be with me, Gods willing.
*A word here must be said
on my personal stance on tobacco, and how it was not compromised. First, I believe tobacco to be a vile thing to smoke and consider smoking
itself to be vile; however, I also believe that there is nothing evil about it,
but that tobacco is only dirty when used profanely. When used in ritual, though, tobacco can be used to speed your words and
thoughts to the Otherworld. I was
using the tobacco as a incense, not as a pleasure inducing drug.
Furthermore, in the words of one of our presidents, I did not inhale. I think. I suppose I would
know if I did. I still will not
smoke tobacco outside ritual, but I am willing to use it so long as it has only
I got into Jimmy Buffett innocently enough. I never really cared for him
until my Sophomore year in college, when I had a roommate, Dan, who had been to
a bar the night before. He couldn't get a tune out of his head, but he didn't
know any words and he didn't know any more than the first few chords. He played
it for loads of people, but no one could tell him what it was. Finally, he went
back to the bar and asked the guitar player what the song was.
That night, he came home and downloaded "One Particular Harbor" (the
version from Feeding Frenzy, I later learned), and started to play it several
times that night trying to learn the rest of the song. Well, I thought it was
damn good, and it resonated with me on some level I didn't quite understand yet.
After that, I downloaded a few more songs, and I liked them all. I have yet to
meet a Buffett song I dislike.
Later, around Thanksgiving, I was out shopping with my mother, and I picked up a
copy of Feeding Frenzy, my first Buffett CD. She actually put a hand to my head
to make sure I wasn't sick. It was rather amusing.
Right now, I have nearly his entire discography, and they're all backed up on my
hard drive, too. It comes to 22 hours, 50 minutes, and 9 seconds. I also have
some real rarities on my hard drive, and I burned most of them to CD.
I could be a parable for Napster users, given the fact that I started listening
to Buffett primarily because of a single song download.
Content © 2003, Michael J Dangler
Updated on 09/03/2003. Site Credits / Email Me!
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(Yes, I stole it!)