Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Blogging SN

For years I've wanted to write about what Summer Nationals are like from the bout committee platform, but I've never managed to maintain the details of the experience through the usual post-tournament catatonia to get them into print.

Most fencers and coaches have a general idea of what the bout committee does, but many also seem to feel that what we do is often for mysteriously arbitrary reasons. And many who are familiar with how small local events are run do not realize the qualitative effects that a quantitative change in tournament size of the magnitude of a NAC or SN makes in the work of the bout committee.

This year, I'm going to take a crack at blogging Summer Nationals. It's certainly not going to be live blogging — after all, I'll have events to run, and making sure events get posted, referees get assigned, and fencers get out to their strips definitely takes priority. And there are some things, of course, that I simply can't blog — think of them as the equivalent of personnel matters that must be handled in closed meetings.

But I'd like to convey some of the sense of what it's like to work the full ten days in Atlanta. Just maybe, too, I'll finally figure out exactly what keeps bringing me back every year for what is essentially ten days of pushing paper. It's the question we always start asking ourselves around day six, and we never seem to have a good answer.

It's not like we actually get to see all that much fencing.

And We're Off! (Almost)

[Sorry about the long gap — random attacks of Real Life conspired with some Internet service problems to keep me offline more than I wanted.]

We're getting ready to take off for Atlanta and the madness that is Summer Nationals. Tomorrow's packing day, and Thursday we'll spend with our books and iPods trapped in the limbo of modern air travel.

It's a much easier process getting ready for national tournaments than it used to be. When Christie first started fencing national events, she'd start getting tense and nervous a week or so beforehand, and she would worry about what she should be worrying about, and what she'd have to do if her gear got lost or we missed a connection.

Traveling to tournaments these days is pretty easy. She's got her routines, I've got mine, and we collaborate on figuring out what we want to eat on the plane. (So many choices when we pack our own food — and anything is an improvement on United's late and unlamented breakfast burrito.)

There's one odd thing about this year's trip to SN, though. This is Christie's last trip before she goes off to Temple in the fall. Even if we travel together to SN next summer, things will be different because she will have had that year away. She won't be my kid next year — she'll be much more her own person.

It'll be interesting to see who that person turns out to be.